Nicole goes on The Sunlander

Staff member: Nicole // Trip date: Feb 2012

The Sunlander in Queenslander class - Tuesday 24th January

Leah and I left Melbourne on the 06:00 flight to Brisbane and then took a connecting flight to Cairns arriving in Cairns just after 13:00. Then we took our shuttle to our accommodation at Port Douglas.

Wednesday 25th January

We left our Port Douglas accommodation after breakfast and headed back towards Cairns. We arrived at Cairns at 10:00 ready for our transfer to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. The Sky rail is a scenic Gondola up to the town of Kuranda. You can alight at 2 different stations before reaching the summit which is the town of Kuranda. At the various stations once you get off there are a few short walks taking in the scenery or the first stop has a guided nature tour with a park ranger. It takes about 15 mins to get to each station.

After arriving in Kuranda and eating lunch we had some free time to discover this little mountain town. I visited the Kuranda Butterfly Farm. There are a few wildlife parks and attractions in the town and some markets. We headed to the train station in Kuranda ready for the 3:30pm departure on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. There is only 2 departures a day at 2pm and 3:30pm

This Scenic Railway started construction in 1886. The train feels like you are stepping back in time. The carriages are from 1930's. We were fortunate enough to travel in Gold Class. This had spacious comfortable chairs and had free drinks (beer, wine or soft drink) throughout the journey as well as cheese and crackers for a snack.

The scenery is spectacular you wind through rainforest, get a view of the coast line and pass waterfalls. The journey takes about 2 hours and finishes at the Cairns train station

Thursday 26th January Cairns to Brisbane - Sunlander Train - Queenslander Class

We departed Cairns on Thursday the 26th at 09:15 am. We arrived 45 minutes prior to check in luggage. The luggage check in closes 30 minutes prior to departure. Only a small overnight bag can be taken on board as there is not much space for large suitcases and bags. Your baggage is collected at the end of your journey.

We boarded and found our Queenslander Classcabin. We received free toiletries and robe/slippers to keep. There is no toilet and shower in the room, however toilet and showers are located at the end of each carriage. All passengers are welcomed aboard and morning tea is served for all Queenslander class passengers at 10am. Morning tea is consists of homemade sconce with jam and cream with tea and coffee. All Queenslander Class have their own special restaurant for dining. If you are in Economy or a berth sleeper then you have a separate bistro/snack car. All meals are included in Queenslander Class. Meals are not included with the other classes.

There is a special sightseeing lounge set aside for Queenslander class where you can sit in large comfortable chairs and socialise with other passengers or just marvel at the ever changing landscape from wetlands to rainforest to bush. There are free newspapers, magazines, free tea and coffee in the lounge car 24 hours a day. There is a bar in the lounge car where alcohol can be purchased. At various times throughout the trip there is a musician for light entertainment. Only Queenslander Class can access this sightseeing lounge car.

Lunch is served at 12pm. This is 2 courses with 2 different options. The seafood platter is full of prawns, crabs and other seafood or there is a meat/cheese platter. The seafood platter is known as the train's signature dish. This was hard for some to finish, then you still must leave room for desert. After a long lunch you can retire back to your cabin for a sesista or a sit in the lounge car.
Dinner is served at 7pm. While you are eating dinner the attendants will turn down your cabin. If you require this earlier you can request a staff member to do this. Dinner is a 3 course meal with so much food again that you cannot move.

Breakfast is served from 7:30am. Breakfast is a full hot breakfast, bacon, eggs, sausages, toast etc. Lunch again is 2 more courses. When taking Queenslander class you end up rolling off the train with all the food you consume. The food is good quality gourmet food
.
We arrived into Brisbane is about 3:30pm. If you have checked your luggage you collect it from the luggage collection area of the station located at the front of the train. We then got on the air train to the airport and flew back to Melbourne

Overall the journey is scenic and relaxing. In 2014 the classic Sunlander train will be replaced by a modern sleeper version of the Tilt train.

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