Forget Air travel: Land travel by train and view the ever-changing scenery

EXPERIENCE

___________________________________

train journey

Taking an amazing train journey along Queensland’s incredible east coastline

Posted by

akamau

The comfort of a train journey aboard Spirit of Queensland

Brief History

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. What a simpler style of travel.

Spirit of Queensland: Departing Cairns

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 and 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. 

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. What a thrill to end this short five-hour train journey in Townsville but train continued beyond.

ABOUT ME


icgolina

Papua New Guinean living in Cairns, Australia. Weekend getaway adventurer and Free-Independent-Traveller (FIT). Lover of unique and exotic travel experiences with a touch of luxury. Follow me to my travel world, brining you closer to your destination.

Join other akamau subscribers today for Free

Search Navigation Menu

Recent posts by akamau

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Click below to share

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Join other akamau subscribers for Free

Enter your email below and receive new post notification via your email

© COPYRIGHT: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

© akamau.org. (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material (photography and writing) without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to akamau.org with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Jungle Train Ride through the Rainforest

Aboard Australia’s best scenic train ride in Far North Queensland

A worthy scenic train ride from Cairns to Kuranda

Brief History

The construction of the railway began in 1886 and took five years to complete in 1891. During the construction, many lives were lost as 15 hand-made tunnels and 37 bridges were built to climb from seal level to 329 metres up the Macalister Range which still operational today. It began its passenger service operation on 25th June 1891 and first operated has a tourist train from Cairns to Kuranda township in 1936. Since then, it has been actively operating has one of the Australia’s best and longest serving scenic train rides in the country.

Kuranda Scenic Train

The Kuranda Scenic Railway runs from the coastal city of Cairns, Queensland, Australia over the Great Dividing Range to the town of Kuranda on the Atherton Tableland. This tourist train winds its way up through the Macalister Range on the Cairns-to-Kuranda railway line, operating all-year around except on Christmas Day. The train departs Cairns city and passes through the suburban outskirts of  Aeroglen, Stratford and Freshwater railway station, stopping at Freshwater station where many travellers pick up the train to go onboard. The train continues through the suburb of Redlynch and the lush open sugarcane fields and ascending through rainforest before reaching the village in the rainforest – Kuranda.

This tourist rain is one of the most photographed train journeys in Far North Queensland and probably in Australia. With almost 15 carriages and when in its full capacity, it carries almost 700 passengers on a single trip. This scenic railway journey is right on the door-step to the Great Barrier Reef – one of the Natural Wonders in the world. Taking this scenic train trip takes you beneath vast mountains, through heritage-listed rainforest and beside jaw-dropping hillside and cliff-drops along beautiful Barron Gorge and over-looking to glittering sea – Great Barrier Reef.

Why Go?

The city of Cairns, known as the Australia’s nature capital, famed for its world-class access to the Great Barrier Reef and the World Heritage-protected Daintree Rainforest are two of the biggest drawcards for visitors travelling to this tropical region. But any traveller visiting Cairns don’t leave without travelling on this Cairns regions iconic scenic train ride. This scenic train rides leaves you with memories that you will never forget. In simple, it is one of the most rewarding way to travel up the mountain to this beautiful village in the rainforest – Kuranda. Sit back and relax into your train seat as scenes glide by your window like something from a movie. How could you not do this scenic train ride when visiting Cairns and I am about to experience this train journey.

Getting there?

My scenic train ride began at Freshwater train station. Here, I was greeted by a friendly staff with my welcome “mocktail” drink. Freshwater railway station located 5 kilometres on the outskirts of Cairns city has an information/ticket office, gift-shop and cafe that is inside of an old train carriage and outdoor seated area. While enjoying my morning welcome mocktail drink, within 15-20 minutes, the Kuranda Scenic train pulled into Freshwater station from Cairns for short 5-minutes to pick-up more passengers. 

This tourist train offers two classes of service, Heritage and Gold-class carriages to suit all budget.

Heritage Class

The Heritage or standard carriages have two booths that face each other which creates a section and there are five of these sections in each carriage. The carriages are very rustic and have been restored to look like the original ones and everything about the carriages is like being sent back in time. The heritage carriage seats are in bright red vinyl covers but this red leather seats can become very hot and the breeze in the train is very minimal, especially during summer periods. However, the carriages are quite very impressive.

There are no services provided on the standard carriages but you’re allowed to take onboard any non-alcoholic refreshments and food. For families, packing your own lunch is always worth it and economical.

Gold Class

For those who want to travel in style, you can upgrade to Gold-class carriage – a premium option. This carriages is where refreshments and finger foods are served on the journey. The refreshments from tea, coffee, soft-drinks to wines and beers are all inclusive and served continuously.

The Gold-class have semi-lounge style seatings and have attractive green covers. Every passengers travel in comfortable singled lounge-like arm chair seats.

Heritage carriages
Gold-class carriages
Gold-class: Green carriages and Heritage, maroon color carriages

Here at Freshwater station, I boarded the Gold-class carriage to my allocated seat. My excitement has just began as I step inside the carriage. I was given an onboard menu on the selection of variety of drinks that are offered including foods that was been served during the journey. Within minutes of departing the station, passing through cane-fields and suburb of Redlynch, I was already half-way through my second glass of authentic Australian chardonay while indulging myself  with food and unbelievable views.

Gold-class menu

As we journey upwards, the line cuts through the Barron Gorge National Park, passing through a number of small waterfalls, including famous Stoney Creek Falls, with waterfalls just metres from the train. This journey continues onto Barron Falls station where the tourist train stops at the lookout, with a stunning view of Barron Falls. During the train travel up, a detailed and informative commentary of the railway’s historical construction is provided, including the scenic breathtaking views. The train-trip guides gives a detailed and informative information of the trip, including a map tracking each tunnels.

Crossing Stoney Creek Falls
View of Barron Falls

As we slowly ascend up the mountain side while enjoying the drinks and food, the stunning and jaw-dropping views were just getting better as we turned every corner. As I looked out the window to gasp the breathtaking views, all I simply done was to sit back and relax in my seat as scenes glide by my window. This was definitely something that on-one take it away from me. Wow, this track runs through some of the finest scenery in Australia and it is just an amazing experience. With endless stunning views certainly gave me a platform for fresh air and reflection-free photography.

Stunning view from the window
Stunning view from the window
Stunning view from the window

Exploring the area and attractions

Arriving in Kuranda, you’re thrown into well manicured, with lush tropical gardens of Kuranda rail station, well-known attraction in the area. As I enjoyed this beautiful station surrounded by tropical plants, thinking back how wonderful this train journey has been. From the train station, it is a 10-15 minutes short walk into Kuranda township where there is a reptile zoo, markets, art galleries, butterfly sanctuary and bird world, where you get the option to hug a Koala and feed kangaroo. There are plenty of cafes, restaurants and food stalls and has plenty to offer.

Just below the train station is the Barron riverside walk and boat cruise, where you get to see a freshwater crocodile and other species. After talking a walk along the river, I relaxed myself on the river boat cruise before taking an easy ride on skyrail down back to Smithfield, then onto Cairns.

Kuranda train station platform
Kuranda train station platform

This train has taken me on a majestic journey through the rainforest and unparalleled scenery, matched with a level of hospitality that I have not found anywhere else during my travels globally. Yes, this scenic train ride leaves you with memories in years to come and most rewarding way to travel up the mountain to this beautiful village in the rainforest.

ABOUT ME


icgolina

Papua New Guinean living in Cairns, Australia. Weekend getaway adventurer and Free-Independent-Traveller (FIT). Lover of unique and exotic travel experiences with a touch of luxury. Follow me to my travel world, brining you closer to your destination.

Join other akamau subscribers today for Free

Search Navigation Menu

Recent posts by akamau

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Click below to share

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Join other akamau subscribers for Free

Enter your email below and receive new post notification via your email