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Tropical Queensland

The moist laden trade winds from the Coral Sea help to create Australia’s most abundant and lush natural environment, a region rich with diverse flora and fauna fringed by the sparkling coral coast and dressed in a canopy of green. It was a region that Captain Cook waxed lyrical in the Endeavours logbook on his epic voyage of discovery in 1770. He was not to know that his achievements almost came to naught on the sharp coral reefs during the last stage of his journey. His vessel, HM Bark Endeavour, was severely damaged and could only just make it to the mouth of a wide river where her crew could beach her and make good her hull. This took months but ultimately his story continued as it does to this day and the river and adjacent town bear the names from this moment in time.

North by North West – A northern NSW Odyssey by Private Train – September

From coast to inland plains, volcanic ranges and classic country towns this adventure celebrates the variety that the northern regions of NSW have to offer the Railway Adventurer. From the window of your trains and coach, an ever-changing vista of our coastal and country landscapes will be on show. For most of the tour you will be rolled along on rarely visited country rail lines on board a comfortable classic 1960’s heritage doubleended Railmotor, the pride of the fleet at the volunteer-run Rail Motor Society at Paterson in the Hunter Valley. We will visit them along with a wonderful long list of special museums, homesteads, and observatories together with charming country cities, towns and villages.

The route we take begins with the boarding of our Railmotor for the journey up the coast to the popular holiday city of Port Macquarie. We introduce the legacy of the timber industry and the associated connection with narrow gauge railways at Wauchope before ascending the ranges via Bellingen to Dorrigo and along the Waterfall Way to Armidale. The New England is a land unto itself with Armidale it’s unofficial capital. Fine homesteads, churches, schools and wineries grace this wealthy city.

We continue our cross country rail journey down the tablelands via the grand junction station of Werris Creek to the sleepy former railway hub of Binnaway. The Warrumbungle Ranges are on hand for us to explore, just west of Coonabarabran, with their ancient towering volcanic plugs, unique native bush, and world class observatories.

Down the old Mudgee branch line is Dunedoo and then Gulgong where we settle for a couple of nights in the heart of this heritage listed Goldrush town. Enjoy side trips to historic Mudgee, and award winning wineries and restaurants before capping it off with a sunset soiree at Ruwenzori Retreat, Scott McGregor’s private mountain top hideaway. The last day takes us on the normally inaccessible freightonly line down the Goulburn, Bylong and Hunter Valleys to Sydney. Thus Completing a wonderful adventure taking you North by North West across a great chunk of country and coastal NSW.

The Borderlands Steam Adventure

The 1880’s saw a number of Nation building events that inspire the core of this adventure across Southern Queensland and Northern NSW. Queensland’s railway construction boom reached Warwick in 1871 and quickly became one of the main railway towns in the state.

By the late 1880’s Queensland and NSW were joined by rail further south from Warwick at the border town of Wallangarra, and not long after, Sir Henry Parkes arrived by special train to Tenterfield and marched up to the School of Arts where he delivered his famous ‘Tenterfield Oration’, paving the way for the states to push ahead with Federation. Nation building, railway revolutions and the border lands of NSW and Queensland are pivotal themes in this exciting adventure.

Queensland is blessed with one of the longest narrow-gauge rail systems in the world (3’6” – ‘Cape Narrow’), which has given the state’s trains a character of their own. From our welcome dinner at the ‘Transcontinental Hotel’ in the heart of Brisbane, the theme of a nation linked by rail will unfold. Travel from Brisbane to Ipswich, Toowoomba, and Warwick, before taking the rare chance to travel by steam to the border at Goondiwindi.

Further explorations around the border country and the New England by privately chartered railmotor expand your horizons before we return by specially chartered steam train on the Great Northern Railway, the original Sydney to Brisbane line across the Granite Belt to Stanthorpe and Warwick and our final hurrah back in Toowoomba.

This rich adventure will take you on some of the rare sections of the region’s railways not normally traversed by passenger trains. All the while the unique character and history of these once busy lines will be revealed from on board our special steam hauled heritage trains. Trace the route of the border with NSW on this comprehensive tour and experience the stories of the linking of the colonies of NSW and Queensland via the Great Northern Railway.

Accreditations: A14416
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    Accreditations: A14416
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