Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Sunlander and the Gulf Coaster

Picture: Australian Trains

The Sunlander follows the northeastern coast of Australia from temperate Brisbane to tropical Cairns. Travelling Queenslander Class is the height of luxury.

Along with the drinks the fresh local produce and the famous seafood buffet that is served as the train nears Cairns, the service includes bathrobe and slippers, as well as informative commentary about the local area. The views are spectacular. This 32-hour journey leaves Cairns or Brisbane one morning and arrives in the other city the following afternoon.

After seeing the Great Barrier Reef at Cairns, rail buffs who want a contrasting experience can travel on from Cairns to Croydon (fly or drive the 500+ km in 8 hours or so) and ride the historic Gulflander, familiarly called the tin hare, to Normanton. This first train ran along this line a hundred twenty years ago when the last portion was completed in 1891, during the Gold Rush. The challenging terrain made building this railroad a remarkable engineering feat.

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