Travel Cairns to Townsville Train

Spirit of Queensland

Forget air travel, travel by train and view the ever changing scenery.


The rail journey from Brisbane to Cairns has been operating for more than 50 years. It is one of the Australia’s longest running and most endearing rail journeys. Today, this train journey is undoubtedly, one of Australia’s greatest rail journeys. It is most popular with travellers between Brisbane and Cairns. The train journey makes its way along the Queensland’s incredible east coastline through some of Queensland’s tropical capital cities and country towns.

The train journey itself is relaxing, comfortable and flexibility with great social atmosphere makes it no better way to travel than by train. This train travel is the great way to explore Queensland’s North Coast from Cairns to Townsville aboard this luxurious Spirit of Queensland train. What a simpler style of travel.

Why Go?

Train travel has been one of my favourite mode of travel. There is something about this form of transportation that drives me and to do something that is highly efficient and somewhat adventurous and yet calm. My ambition, taking this train journey has been on my pending bucket-list for years. It is time to tick-it off my priority list. When it comes to trains, trains can be anything which makes it more interesting. Trains can be rattling rides, supersonic bullets or just in between but air travels are cramped and stressful, while coach or buses are ponderous and sweaty. 

Train journeys provide moments that stand out above others and the experiences you would never get from a plane or a car. They come to represent, for me, the places in which they occurred as well as the thrill of travel as a whole. Yes, trains are not just to get from A to B but train travel really is the journey and not the destination. Any train enthusiast will tell you this. You get to experience the ever changing scenery and the warmness and social atmosphere – the people you meet and the things you share. Trains are more social than any other mode of transportation. You can share meals with people you get to meet, trade information, share stories and make lifelong friends. With all these, has motivated me going on this train journey was to experience this contemporary, comfortable and great scenic journey making its way along the Queensland’s east coast which has been designed for relaxation.

Time for me to Explore Queensland’s North Coast from Cairns to Townsville aboard a luxurious Queenland’s Long Distance train – Spirit of Queensland!

Getting there?

Leaving laid back Cairns, where the Rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef, my five-hour train journey experience aboard the Spirit of Queensland began the moment I step aboard and continued to Townsville where my memorable journey ended. The train offers travel options to suit every budget conscious travellers and has two classes of service, economy and rail-beds service. Whatever way you choose to travel, the same wonderful view is guaranteed. For me, I was craving to be in the rail-bed comfort with modern style seating and found it to be the only way to travel whilst economy travellers found themselves faced with the most basic seats. This premium section is all inclusive style of travel that features comfortable spacious seatings, which slide out as sleeping beds, personalised service with all meals delivered, entertainment and a host of extra special touches to ensure a memorable journey.


Rail-Bed comfort: Spirit of Queensland


The club-car where most economy passengers purchase their meals and drinks is also a meeting place – simply hang around for friendly chat with other travellers. The food on board can be good or it can be inedible, I found the meals on board Spirit of Queensland were deliciously tasty. The bathrooms were spotless rather than horrifying which I have experienced in other parts of the world. While I enjoyed the comfort of a train journey but for me, enjoying a chat with a total stranger creates an atmosphere, how sociable and unique train travel experience is.


Comfort of Club-Car: Onboard Spirit of Queensland



Premium class meals: Onboard Spirit of Queensland


With spacious seating and around the train, it provided gentle appreciate of scenery for me to look around and enjoy a sense of place and to marvel at how one region morphs naturally into the next. 


Travel in comfort: Onboard Spirit of Queensland


This train journey passes through some of the most scenic places along the coastline, with few stops along the way. I immersed myself in the ever-changing scenery from one town felt like a sense of a slide show happening in front me as the journey continues.  Yes, as I enjoyed this train journey, I continued to indulge myself with food, drink and photography. There is something to train travel that nothing else can compare to. It is fast and yet still enjoyably slow. It is social and yet private. It is old and yet ultra-modern. And it is so much fun.

Finally, arriving in Townsville in time to beat the peak hour as I made my way to the hotel. What a thrill to end this short five-hour train journey in Townsville. It is a train journey that one must do whilst visiting this beautiful part of North Queensland. What a thrill it was to take on this train journey and certainly not the last.




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