5 April 2023

4000 eggs up for grabs at the Miniature Railway's Easter egg hunt this weekend

| James Coleman
Start the conversation
miniature railway rides at night

Halloween at Canberra Miniature Railway. Photo: CSMEE.

“You should see my house – boxes of chocolate Easter eggs everywhere.”

Craig McGill is the secretary of the Canberra Society of Model and Experimental Engineers, a 70-strong group of volunteers that runs the Canberra Miniature Railway.

He’s confident their upcoming special event for Easter will be the biggest combined chocolate egg hunt and light show in Canberra.

Located off Jerrabomberra Avenue and visible from the Monaro Highway, the Canberra Miniature Railway offers members of the public rides on miniature trains two Sundays a month.

The site includes two lengths of track, one nearly a kilometre long and another “a little shorter”.

READ ALSO Plenty of Easter produce in store as Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets extend opening hours

“One goes around a small hill and back through a tunnel and another runs right up to the boondocks and back again,” Craig says.

“It’s quite a lengthy ride.”

But the organisation pulls out all the stops three times a year for Halloween, Christmas and Easter.

This year, they’re running a repeat of last year’s successful Easter extravaganza, and opening two nights in a row over Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday.

“Last year, we got totally swamped over the one night. So this year, we’re trying two nights and will see how we go.”

Rides start in the daylight at 5 pm and run into the dark until 8 pm under hoops decorated with thousands of computer-controlled lights.

But the big hits are the two Easter egg hunts, at 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm each day, and with 4000 Easter eggs to find – 2000 in each hunt.

And these won’t be miniature.

“Not those little tiny eggs – we’re talking the real deal,” Craig says.

“We have all the kids line up in front of a rope, which we drop and the kids go nuts, running and grabbing as many eggs as they can. The whole thing is repeated an hour later.”

Not only is it a lot of fun for those involved and “the feedback makes it all worth it”, but these special events are also a vital source of income for a not-for-profit organisation completely run by volunteers and devoid of any government funding.

READ ALSO Winter comes early as Corin Forest turns on the snow makers

“People are often surprised to find out we’re not a commercial organisation, and they’re happy to donate a bit more,” Craig says.

The Canberra Miniature Railway provides free rides in support of Canberra counselling, wellbeing and mental health support service Marymead, and are happy to bring out the silent electric-powered trains for children with autism and other sensory needs.

“We’ll run an afternoon for kids who don’t like the whistles and other noises, and it’ll be just quiet.”

They can also cater for birthday parties and other special occasions.

However, Craig says their biggest problem is a lack of volunteers.

“We need people to help in the canteen, sell tickets and care for the grounds. But there are no obligations – you can come down whenever you want to.”

As for the trains themselves, don’t presume a degree in mechanical engineering is required.

“Some of them are essentially small cars, with a petrol engine and a simple automatic gearbox,” Craig says.

“They’re very easy to drive – you just sit on them and go.”

Book tickets to the Canberra Miniature Railway Easter Egg Hunts and Night Trains on TryBooking.com. Entry and unlimited rides cost $15 per person when bought online in advance ($18 at the gate, unless sold out beforehand). Please wear enclosed footwear.

Visit the Canberra Miniature Railway Facebook page for more information.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.