Flinders Street Station, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


After our stop at Einasliegh we walked back to the train which was taking us to the end of the line at Forsayth. Einasliegh was once a copper mining town. It set on top of flat top hills or mesas that rise up out of the grasslands. 

Our travel companions, Ann and George.

 This was such a unique train experience. Our driver, Will, stopped the train, jumped out of his door and ran through the long grass . What had he spotted?

 It is a rare Grevillea which has just started to be found again in this area after fires a few years ago. He plucked one bloom and brought it back to the train for us to pass around. Before Will worked for Cairns railway he was a zoo keeper. He was very knowledgable about the wildlife and he was always looking for snakes to show us. He was an expert at handling reptiles.

Unfortunately I can't remember the name of this rare Grevillea.
 The train line runs through one cattle station/ranch after the other. So another thing the driver has to be aware of is cattle on the line. 
 It was such an unusual sight that everyone on board was up the front jostling for photographs I was squeezed in behind the driver's head.
 We were going through the Newcastle ranges and the cows were reluctant to climb down the embankment. Will slowly moved them along until finally they took the plunge down the hill. It was like herding cattle with a train. The cattle are Brahmans, suitable for the tropics.

Not only cows but the driver needs to look out for wallabies and kangaroos crossing the track.

 This is a rare rock wallaby.

 The track wound through the ranges and in this spot it  actually lies on the bed of a river, which is only a trickle on the left now that it is the dry season but in the wet season the track is under water. 

 After a few hours we arrive at Forsayth at the end of the line. Forsayth used be a gold mining town and there are still nuggets to be found if you're lucky. Every Thursday the local kids come to meet the train because the drivers give them a ride around the loop which turns the train around to return back to Cairns. All the passengers get off and onto buses for their accommodation overnight. Then all the kids jump on the train for their ride. In actual fact it is not necessary for the driver to do the loop because the rail motors can be driven from both ends but the drivers don't like to disappoint the country kids so they always drive around the turning loop.

We had travelled about 400k from Cairns inland over the last 2 days. Then we were taken by bus over a shaky corrugated road for another 45 minutes to Robin Hood Station. It is an outstanding property with 10,000 head of cattle on 1300 square kilometres with ever changing views. They also have a very nice resort there even though they are miles from civilisation. The cabins were comfortable and the food was good.

The view in the morning was super and the birds were singing their morning chorus. The Terry family, who own the station run cattle and cater for tourists. We were taken on a magical tour of Cobbald Gorge after breakfast. It was my favourite place of the Savannahlander Train  tour. That will be the next post.


  1. a train driver, guide and zoologist in one! neat! the brand on that cattle's haunch is 'sin'. :)

    i love that they take the local kids on a train loop ride! so sweet!

  2. what a fabulous experience that must have been. i love the cows on the track, not to mention wallabies. such a lot of history about the area is learnt. wonderful photos.

  3. I really think hubby would love this trip as much as I know I would.....

  4. Bet those kids enjoy that train ride. So neat that they can do that.. Your driver must have been a neat man--with stories to tell. Sounds like he has had an interesting life for sure.

    Neat seeing the wallabies and kangaroos. Seeing the cows on the tracks reminded me of the time we were in Yellowstone --and the Buffalo were crossing the road stopping all traffic for a LONG time. They took their time for sure!!!!! Of course, I got some great photos of them.


  5. Wow, that's a unique train! Love the cows and the sunset.

  6. I’m loving this stuff, Diane. Seriously, you should be charging Queensland Tourism for this promotional activity.

  7. Another great series Diane!
    Your driver was quite experienced. I like that he took the time to stop the train and share his knowledge - no worrying about keeping a schedule.
    I love how you framed that last shot- very nicely done!

  8. That cattle on the track is so special to see. Indeed you could feel like a driver. Love this trip.

  9. What a lovely day! Congratulations on getting that photo of the rock wallaby - they were too quick for me at Lake Burrinjuck. They are quite rare.

  10. It's wonderful to see such remote and interesting areas of our large country. You seemed to have had a great time.

  11. a train driver zoo keeper, i would have loved talking to him and my favorite part of the ride would be those cattle on the track.. great shots of that.. and the last photo is my favorite today... the bumpy road you can keep...

  12. Really enjoyed this trip with you Diane. Will your tour guide sounds wonderfully informative and as added bonus he's rather easy on the eye oui :) Love the pics of the rare Grevillea, I've never seen one anything like this. How very kind of the train driver to entertain the local kids like this, it's nice to know there are still some folk like this around.

  13. You lucky girl ! So far I have never met a cow on a rail, lol ! What and then the kids, how nice of the train conductor. That's certainly an unforgettable trip !

  14. Diane, sounds your driver and tour guide was wonderful! I love the shots of the cows being herded by the train! The resort sound awesome too! Great post and photos!

  15. Great view of the cows on the track. What a talented train driver you had. There can't be many zooligists driving trains.

  16. I have really enjoyed this train trip with you. It is absolutely fascinating.

  17. That last shot looks so serene. Loving the journey.

  18. All looks great, & by your post you had a lovely time.
    The cattle roam all over the road as well in some areas, does seem strange to us..

  19. Oh, your driver is wonderful! y Stopping for all the animals, locating rare plants, etc... And you got to stay on a big station, too! What an amazing time you are having on this trip! I love that the little kids get to ride the train as it makes its turn. A special treat!

  20. Beautiful day ther e-- I'm loving every bit of this journey with you. (I love the part about the kids and the train too.)

  21. An amazing adventure! That sure is kind of the conductors to take the kids for a ride, especially to go out of their way to do so.

    Happy trails to you on your return home, I'm looking forward to hearing more about the cabins and farm.


  22. This brings back memories I grew up along this train line. When the cattle trains, a double headed steam train would pull through the Newcastle Range we would walk beside the train tracks pouring sand on the ribbons of steel.

    Thank you so much for this as brings back memories of my childhood and growing up when our only link was the train line as the roads were so bad way back then.

    The steam trains would only go as far as Mt. Surprise and the drovers would bring the cattle in, with only the small diesels venturing to Einsleigh.



  23. Your train driver certainly enhanced your trip. How exciting to know the grevilleas are returning after the fires.
    I think that's just beaut how the local children get to have their ride. Can imagine their excitement when they hear the train coming.
    Enjoying your sharing of the trip so much :D)

  24. Oh, you had me right there, wishing I'd been along for the trip....right up to the snake comment!