What an adventure!
As a train travel novice this journey was an unknown to me. Most of Queensland’s east coast was also unknown to me. Looking back, the first change I would make would be to take an ipad or MacBook Air so I can keep up with my posts as I travel, although I’m not sure if there was the time anyway. Only took 750 photos in over two weeks this time. When you drive you get more photo opportunities. If your considering a similar trip I would suggest the following itinerary or part there of but it helps to have the East Coast Discovery Pass for the train.
1.Fly to Cairns.
2. Stay in Port Douglas.
Snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef with Wavelength. Take a tour to the Daintree Forest with a River Cruise or to Cooktown.
3. Stay in Cairns.
5. In Townsville, stretch your legs along the 2.2 km Strand along the oceanfront or Castle Hill. Take the Ferry out to the Magnetic Island Walks. Visit Reef HQ Aquarium.
Stay at Hidden Valley Cabins and visit the Wallaman Falls. Try Scones at Paluma Rainforest Inn or Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms.
6. Take Sunlander or Tilt train from Townsville to Proserpine (3-4 hours) & Bus to Airlie Beach (1/2 hour).
7. In Airlie Beach, stay at Coral Sea Resort. Check out the Bicentennial Walkway or Ngaro Sea trail, Whitehaven Beach, Blue Pearl Bay or a Crocodile Safari with fresh damper. Relax, enjoy the view, a meal or even sail at the Sailing Club.
8. Take the Sunlander or Tilt Train overnight from Proserpine near Airlie Beach to Maryborough West (10-13 hrs), then bus to Hervey Bay and Ferry to Fraser Island. Can’t hurry this one, it takes a while.Stay at Kingfisher Bay Resort if your connections work.
9. At Fraser Island, take a day tour, swim in Lake Mackenzie and hopefully fly over the island. In season, take a humpback whale watching cruise. Enjoy the food and take photographs of the Maheno shipwreck or sunsets.
10. Take the Sunlander or Tilt Train to Brisbane(4-5 hours) or consider stopping at Nambour (2hrs) and taking the bus to Noosa or Coolum. Here’s the booking for train and bus (1-2hrs). It’ll take all day, though.
11. Finally, there’s the option to stay in Brisbane but why not consider travelling down to the Gold Coast (1 hour) where there’s some great beaches. If your lucky enough try Scones or even a High Tea at Surfers Paradise or the Old Teahouse Gallery at Mudgeeraba before flying back home, or catching the train onto Sydney or even Melbourne.
Would I travel on such a long train journey again? Of course, this is only the beginning! A world of scones awaits…….