Summer at home in Daisy Hill

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

THE SUNLANDER

The Sunlander is the name of the train that runs the 1000km between Brisbane and Cairns in Queensland.  A few months ago we flew to Cairns and then went by road to the tip if the state. Then we flew back to Cairns and caught the Sunlander home to Brisbane. It took two days. Our trip made us realise how big this state is and how isolated it is in Far North Queensland.
Aussie trains are not the most modern trains we've travelled on but it was a fun experience, especially as we were with fun loving friends, Ann and George. However, the trip from Cairns to Brisbane is ranked as one of the best 25 rail journeys in the world.

 The diesel engine pulling the train is quite ugly in comparison to the romantic steam engines but they are much cleaner. It was a wet morning and we were happy to be going home after such an adventure. 

 The long shiny train pulled in and our luggage loaded. We could only take a small carry on bag into our sleeper cabin. They were too small for suit cases.








We were taken to our cabins by the hostess and given information on procedures and then we explored the train. At the end of the corridor there were the toilet and shower. There was a wash basin in our cabin. We continued through the cars until we came to .............

the lounge car. Where we spent most of our time watching the scenery roll past and meeting other travellers. This couple were from Ireland. At one end of the lounge car there was a bar and at the other end a place for.........

 writing up your journal or playing games. I'm doing both!!

 After the lounge car was the dining car and what a feast we had there. Our first meal was a seafood platter, fresh from the coast that we were travelling along.

All the meals were delicious.

The train stopped at a few stations on the way picking up and dropping off passengers. We had made phone contact with Birthday Bear friends, Chris and Bob, who are travelling around Australia. They met us at Tully, one of the stops and we had excited hugs and chats for the short time the train was in the station.

They had their van with them as they were on the way to their next stop.

 Then it was back on the train riding through acres of sugar cane, eating another scrumptious meal and playing games before bed. When you return to your cabin the beds have been made up. The seat converts to a bed and a bunk folds out of the wall. TOH had fun trying to climb up the narrow ladder and over the safety chain to stop him falling out. He even had more difficulty getting out in the morning. He was swearing and I was giggling.

 The scene out of the window in the morning was misty and romantic.

 After breakfast we found ourselves passing Gladstone and its huge aluminium smelting works. It is where the bauxite comes that we saw being mined in Weipa way up north.

 After a morning of lounging around, reading and chatting it was lunch, yes more yummy food. Later we returned to our cabin,  packed up and looked forward to the welcome sites of Brisbane.

At last we had arrived. Ann's daughter picked us up. The weather wasn't the best but our own bed was a welcome. So ended another great adventure before dementia.

39 comments:

  1. traveling by train seems like such a grand adventure!

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  2. I was sceptical about this train ride after a rather disapointing Indian Pacific train experience. But I was pleasantly surprised. Although narrow-gauge, this train runs much smoother than the other standard-gauge rattler I mentioned. I'd travel on the Sunlander again. For the experience. Oh, and for the food, of course.
    Bill (TOH)

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  3. That was extremely kind of you allocating Bill the top bunk Diane.The food looked great. It is wonderful to have trips away but it is always great to get back home and sleep in your own bed. I have enjoyed reading and looking at your fabulous pics of this trip. Cheers.

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  4. Hi Diane, came for a visit from Sandra's MadSnapper blog after reading that your train post was up. My husband is a huge train fan and we will be taking our own train trip soon. It was fun reading Aout and seeing the photos from yours. While the sleeping on the top bunk seemed uncomfortable, that meal looked wonderful!

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  5. A lovely end to your wonderful adventure Diane. I would love a train ride like this, and being as hungry as I am right now, your meal looked absolutely scrumptious!

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  6. What a wonderful adventure you both had, and took me on it too :)
    Lovely to go away but good to be home.

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  7. wow, this is some trip and the train looks much like the one Eleanor rode in only clean and pretty.. the beds are the same as they were back in the 30's. the lounge car looks much like hers to... glad you showed your cabin and i giggled to about getting in that top bunk. it would have to be bob because i could not do it.
    love the view out the window

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  8. i forgot to ask, where is the engineer? who is driving and how does he see out

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  9. great journey and I wondered had you flipped a coin for the bottom bunk and someone dipped out?

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  10. that sounds like a neat way to travel - except for the sleeping, i think. :)

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  11. I love trains, Diane. This looks like a really enjoyable trip...and the food looks awesome!

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  12. This looks like a wonderful way to end a truly fantastic adventure. Having slept on a train, I sympathize with TOH about getting in and out of an upper bunk.

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  13. Traveling by train is pleasant!
    Lovely photos.

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  14. Hi Diane! I see you are having a superb winter down under! What a trip. You made me hungry...

    Sorry for the absence, but 2013 has been even worse than 2012... Anyhow, enjoy the blues of Grenada, and have a great vacation, if you can manage!!
    All the best!

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  15. That's a big meal. :-)

    Greetings,
    Filip

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  16. I like to travel by train whenever I can so I really enjoyed this.
    The train looks good (apart from the engine!).
    The meals look superb!

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  17. To have diner in a train always looks so nice to me, I have never done it. To eat and look outside the landscape passing by must be so exciting. It is still on my wish list.

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  18. Well---that was an awesome trip for sure. I'm sure you both were tired... One thing about going with groups is that everything is scheduled for you. You do see ALOT --but there's not alot of 'down' time, is there? George and I love to travel by ourselves so that we can follow our own schedule. BUT--when we were at Yellowstone, we structured ourselves heavily!!!! Had to see as much as possible.

    I'd love the train ride. Reminded me of the trips I took with my parents when I was young. We had 'compartments' where we slept just like yours. We also had those lounge cars--and back then they had smoking cars (since my Daddy was a smoker)...Meals were similar to yours --but did you have a 'finger bowl' to wash your hands???? I remember that- as a child!!!!

    Glad it was a great trip and thanks for taking us with you.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  19. What a bloody great trip I am so jealous but then I have to remind myself that we are only 50 and have years left to do some travelling

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  20. I've never slept on a moving train, was it a peaceful sleep? Your whole trip has been exciting, so much to see. The dinner on the train looks yummy too. Thanks for taking me along. I know you are happy to have your own bed back. Have a great week ahead, Diane!

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  21. I loved every minute of your trip, reliving our own time in some places too. Great photos of our country that surprises, beauty wise, in so many different climate areas.

    Where are you thinking of going for your next Aussie adventure? I look forward to that!

    Lorraine

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  22. Train travel is wonderful. The Sunlander almost seems to argue against high speed rail. The journey is the experience. Just as well it is only a couple of days of eating food like that!

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  23. And a great adventure it was! We took an Amtrak trip across the US one time (years ago now) and loved it (Bill's adventures in the sleeper car sounded awfully familiar; I didn't even have to change the name) .... but I don't think our scenery compared to what you saw -- so much of the pretty parts of the country (Glacier Park for example) we passed through in the middle of the night. (Fortunately we'd been there on our own before.)

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  24. Lorraine no more Aussie trips planned yet. We have some upgrading to do around the house first....boring.

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  25. Based on your comment today I was going to ask if you had done the trip in the Sunlander and now I know.

    We plan to do that trip one day. After my experience with train travel last year I've decided that doing it by road and rail are very different so it's good to do both.

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  26. One more thing, Diane.

    Adventure Before Dementia - if dementia came into your lives would you still travel the world - at least until difficulties made it impossible? Dementia itself is a voyage, one that my life's partner of almost 50 years have recently become aware that we are on.

    We leave for our next overseas trip for one month at the weekend.

    Life - be in it, together.

    Lorraine

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  27. Lorraine, I doubt it but I compliment you for doing so.

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  28. The best Australia trip I've never been on! That plate of seafood was just amazing! How long was the entire trip--by that I mean how many days or weeks?

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  29. Cynthia, It was a 3 week trip that includes the Savannahlander train which was four days and tree nights. The Cape York trip was 13 days. and we had 3 days in Cairns and 2 days on the Sunlander train home.

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  30. That I call a comfortable train ! Never seen one like that. Even the Eurostar once spacy is now narrow like in airplanes !

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  31. Oh Diane I LOVE train travel I went from Ontario to Vancouver and will never forget that adventure. It is similar to yours lots of beautiful scenery and enjoying the ride. I am sure it was nice to be back in your own bed. Great shots. B

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  32. Looks like a nice train travel,Diane!

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  33. I have to say your train trip looks much better than ours! We had booked a sleeper and there was a mistake so we had seats. I had put my back out while in Brisbane and was in agony the whole way to Cairns. Nigel is 6'4" and there was not enough leg room for him. Most of the trip was at night so we saw very little... OK I could go on, but they did give us a rebate when we got back to S.Africa, not much help for my back though.

    So now I have just enjoyed your trip and see what we missed out on. Thanks for this post. Diane

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  34. Thanks for this post on the Sunlander Diane!I've been trying to convince my gfriend to do the trip with me up to Cairns and back, to get away from the men. Imagine how much knitting and chatting would be done :-).

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  35. Seems like a nice, relaxing way to end your travels. Wow, that is a huge plate of seafood you two ate for your first meal. It looks very fresh and delicious. There is nothing like one's own home and bed, even though it is fun exploring.

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  36. That was an epic trip Diane. I enjoyed reading all about it. As long-distance travel goes, trains seem a fairly civilised way of doing it.

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  37. i love traveling by train.
    what an adventure!
    that was a memorable trip for sure, diane.
    i enjoyed looking at your great photos and reading about it.

    big hugs!

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  38. That looks like a wonderful trip. I would love to make a train trip like that with lots of scenery and good friends.

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  39. Love seeing your trip, and also that of your journal. I also love journaling. Isn't it wonderful, and what a way to recall memories. I just finished an extensive one of our trip to Montana, and love looking back through t he years of fun I have had... and more to come.

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