Redcliffe Pier

Friday, June 7, 2013

GOING WEST

We left Kuranda and our little train took us through the Atherton Tableland stopping at Mutchilba and then we went further west through the Einasleigh Upland Savannahland. This railway and its towns were originally built in the late 1800's to support the gold and tin miners. The towns were quite big in those days with thousands of people and hundreds of hotels. After the mining fizzled the people who stayed turned to agriculture and cattle. The farmers used the railway to transport cattle and produce but not anymore it is all done by road transport now, which I find hard to understand. Consequently the railway is only used by this Savannahlander Train for tourists and the few towns that have survived are very small. I admire their wish to introduce tourism to keep their little towns alive.

 We travelled through miles of sugarcane, coffee, tea, diesel tree and tea tree plantations, mango and citrus orchards as well as pumpkins.

The morning tea stop was at Mutchilba Roadhouse. There was no station you just climb down the steps onto the ground and walk across the road to the roadhouse. TOH was loving this train.


 We climbed back on the train and we left the tablelands and entered the Savannahlands. 

 Next stop was Dimbulah where the little station had an interesting garden and museum. That is one glamorous daggy hat.

Next stop was Almaden where the cows roam through the town without being fenced in. We were told that it was because there is no fire brigade in the town so the cows keep the grass down so it isn't a fire hazaard.

We had lunch in the Hotel's Beer garden. It was a mass of colour with Bogainvillea. The train stopped here overnight while we were taken by mini bus to the little town of Chillagoe where we were accommodated in rustic country cabins.

 On the way to the cabins we stopped by a marble mine. The pits fill up with water in the wet season and they are totally surrounded by huge blocks of marble to prevent the cattle from getting into the pits as many fall in and drown or get stuck in the mud when they dry up.

 There is only one general Store in Chillagoe but it has a good stock of marble sourvenirs.

 Besides its marble Chillagoe is known for its Limestone Caves. We were taken on a tour of the Royal Arch Caves. The caves are not lit up so we have to carry a special torch pack around our waist and neck.
 We lit up the caves with our torches. The caves were very long and tall.

On the way back to our cabins we were taken to a huge private collection of vintage Ford vehicles. In a big old country shed old Tom showed us some of his prize Fords. He was born and bred in Chillagoe and is a typical 'bushie.' He never wears shoes. He has been invited by Ford in USA to attend an upcoming celebration. He's not sure if he wants to go.

36 comments:

  1. I already have the Savannah Rail trip on our "must do" list and your lovely post has zoomed it even higher! The caves look beautiful. Great photos as usual.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a cute train! I can see why Dad loved it so much. You managed to get a couple of great shots in the cave by torch light!
    Love Carol

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lovely. Like you sitting there in Dimbulah! The photo of you all walking ig good, the contrast of colours :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. the Dimbulah photo was fun Diane; I think there is a sister-town in Victoria Dimboola? Lovely scenery around the caves too; great trips you've been doing together

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a wonderful selection of things to do.Those caves looked awesome. Favourite picture is the one of you with the 'daggy' hat.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Diane, great shot of your hubby with the train and the shot of you with the plants is wonderful. MY hubby loves to go in caves, he would like this one. What a fun trip! Thanks for sharing, wonderful photos.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a nice journey this is, full of unexpected surprises to visit. Love the picture of you at the bench.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Loving your trip. Because I have to work on the road it is not going to be practical for us to do it, but you sure a making me keen to see the delights of the north.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The train looks wonderful, but it is surprising that in 1963 it wasn't built with air conditioning when the Sydney to Broken Hill train had air con in the very early fifties.

    I think there will be some good memories from the trip, like in a few years, remember when we were on that rocky old train....

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Diane, welcome back! I can't wait to catch up on your latest adventures. Looks like you had a wonderful one.
    Denise
    An English Girl Rambles

    ReplyDelete
  11. Welcome back oh what an adventure you had and now we get to enjoy yeah.
    I would have loved the train too and the marble quarry and the cave and well everything. Great shots. B

    ReplyDelete
  12. So interesting about the marble. And the cows. Actual, everything.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I loved this post with all the interesting places like a marble mine, quirky planters in jeans (I love your hat too!) and the old Ford collector. Hope you're having a great weekend. Jo

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just loved this post Diane and your "friends" on the station. Daggy hat, no way. Great pics.

    ReplyDelete
  15. you have it all today, trains and cows and rocks and paths and the Roadhouse. the Roadhouse is my favorite today, the train you already know i love it. a wonderful trip. i must say those ladies sitting next to you are a tad on the scary side. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  16. i just really like this tour! just stop the train and get off and wander! tom sounds like a true character! and i liked those flower pot holders you shared company with. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's almost unbelievable that there are still these old rails for the train !
    What an adventure !

    ReplyDelete
  18. Absolutely wonderful. We went on one cave tour where there were no lights except what we carried; quite a different experience from the ones with lights for the tourists! Very cool to meet Old Tom; it is always fun to meet local characters.

    ReplyDelete
  19. What an interesting trip, Diane. Had you all ever been to that area before? There are so many gorgeous areas to see right there in Australia, isn't there? What is you all-time favorite area of your big country????

    Great post...
    Hugs,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
  20. What great photos of a bloody great trip, lucky you. You do like to make me want to visit more places in this great country now that train bloody mavellous

    ReplyDelete
  21. So sooooooo glad you took lots of photos and are sharing your travelogue with us. What varied terrain there is to see!

    ReplyDelete
  22. The more you tell us about this trip, the more wonderful it sounds. I enjoyed reading about this segment of your trip and your photos.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm so glad I discovered your blog and can ride along on your FNQ adventure. Would love to do that train trip one day.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is an intriguing area of FNQ - I've only been through it once, and not on the Savannahlander, although that would be FAAAABULOUS!! Chillagoe has some similarities with the limestone cliffs of Geikie Gorge in WA!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I've never heard of some of these places .... what an interesting trip ..... perfect for TOH.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Diane this sounds like a fantastic tour, one I'll add to my list of things to do next time I visit your beautiful country. I haven't read your previous post just yet, but I see from the intro you've been busy touring around... good on ya!

    I hope that Tom takes the trip to the States, just because.

    Have a wonderful day!

    ReplyDelete
  27. This looks like such an amazing adventure! Such fun going in to the "bush". I love the look of the train that you were on and what fun exploring these little towns

    ReplyDelete
  28. Looks like a great adventure. Is the train run by QR, or is it some kind of local/private initiative?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Figmince: It is run by a private company, Cairns Railway.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Doh! Yes, if I’d read the previous post more attentively I’d have known. Thanks for responding so politely and not mentioning the third word in your blog title.

    ReplyDelete
  31. What beautiful countryside you meandered through. Each little stop and town so unique. It might be quite an adventure for Old Tom to visit the USA for the Ford celebration event.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Two posts and I'm envious already! :)
    At least you had a head to put your hat on - can't say that for your two jean clad ladies beside you. HA!
    Wonderful looking caves!
    I sure hope Tom attends the celebration.

    ReplyDelete
  33. It is a different world up there; very beautiful. Like the cows grazing in the village, a good idea as long as you do not have a flower garden.
    Interesting the marble mine. Lots to see, pictures are great for the armchair travellers.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Great scenes. The "models" at the train station are something else. Tom sounds like an very interesting old character.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I like your portrait there sitting with the jeans-wearing flower pots!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Your photos, as always, are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete