Getting from A to B
Nothing compares to the romance and old-world glamour of train travel, where the destination is the journey. Tropical North Queensland boasts a full dance card of dazzling train rides, from those involving the intoxicating fragrance of dense rainforest to those featuring the parched Outback studded with spinifex. But all involve a common element – watching the landscape unfurl to the soothing soundtrack of the tracks.
Soak up a Jurassic Park-esque experience in one of the world’s oldest rainforests, framed by rugged mountains studded with waterfalls, on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. Or ride retired cane-sugar hauler the Bally Hooley, one of the very last steam locomotives used by the Mossman Sugar Mill, as it potters about Port Douglas. If the Balley Hooley is the quiet achiever, then the Savannahlander, the 1960s classic “silver bullet” railmotor, is the sleek star. Offering one of the great rail journeys of Australia, the four-day outback experience is a moving visual feast of pioneer settlement sites, cool swimming holes with sandy banks and weeping melaleucas.
For something completely different, hop on board the charming Gulflander. Travelling from “nowhere to nowhere” (actually, from Croydon to the port of Normanton during the Gold Rush era), the “Tin Hare” passes through countryside saturated in pioneering history, brushing just 30km north-east of Burke and Wills’ most northerly camp.