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Price
$3985 per person
Duration
9 Days
Destination
Queensland

Southern Queensland By Rail, Road And Special Steam Trains

This short and sweet adventure centres on an autumn excursion along the historic and dramatic railway which formed the Queensland section of the Great northern Railway linking Sydney and Brisbane by rail in 1888.
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This tour of discovery on some very special railways takes you across Southern Queensland’s ranges from Brisbane to Toowoomba, then continues onto Warwick by special steam train for the historic run across the Downs and the wild Granite Belt up the range to Wallangarra. From there we turn North West and venture across the rich Darling Downs to Dalby soaking up the rural landscapes, historic homes and colonial histories.

The Bunya Mountains National Park offer a rare insight into a very special botanical site, rich with Aboriginal cultural significance and from there it’s a scenic drive down the ranges to Gympie and another great steam train journey along the Mary Valley.

The colonial delights of Maryborough, home to the creator of Mary Poppins and just up the road the seaside town of Hervey Bay is the bookend to this varied adventure. All in all, you’ll experience a grand round trip tailor made to showcase the rich characters stories and great train journeys of Queensland’s great South East.

Some Details

Departure Location
Brisbane, Queensland
Return Location
Brisbane, Queensland
Tour Leader(s)
Mike Condon
Extras
Price: $3985 Single Supplement: $645
Price includes
  • 4 great regional train journeys in a mix of trains
  • 8 nights in comfortable, centrally located accommodation
  • All excursions and entrance fees to attractions, as listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks included with welcome and farewell dinners
  • Luxury chartered coach, with luggage transport throughout the tour
  • Most meals as specified in the program
Price does not include
  • All other personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, laundry services, camera fees where applicable
  • Excursions/entrances listed as optional in the itinerary
  • Meals and services not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tour Plan
Tour Plan

Day 1 • Wednesday:

ARRIVE BRISBANE

Arrive in Brisbane.

In the evening, gather for a welcome dinner with Mike and your fellow travelers at the historic Transcontinental hotel.

Overnight: Pullman Hotel or similar, Brisbane (D)

Day 2 • Thursday:

BRISBANE – TOOWOOMBA

 After breakfast at the hotel, we depart by coach for a visit to the award-winning Workshops Rail Museum in Ipswich.
This is Australia’s oldest railway workshop still in operation and home to Queensland Rail’s extensive heritage collection. Here you can explore the exhibits to discover the enormous impact rail has had on the state and view the beautifully restored rolling stock as well as Queensland’s largest model railway, treasured icons such as the Vice-Regal carriage and Australia’s oldest working steam locomotive.

A short run down the road brings us to the Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway. Here, we enjoy a short tour by steam train down the former Swanbank coal railway that winds its way through a delightful semi-rural setting, showcasing the history and character of the location.

Continuing the railway theme, we view the Bluff Railway Station, with its beautiful setting, lush hanging gardens and delightful café in the old Station Master’s residence.

On the next leg we take the coach up the range to the charming garden city of Toowoomba, where we’ll check in and have some downtime before a late afternoon excursion to smell the roses at the beautifully laid-out Japanese Gardens.

Just a short drive down the road is the wonderful collection at Downs Steam railway museum and depot where dinner is laid on in style in the dining car.

Overnight: Burke and Wills Hotel, Toowoomba (B)

Day 3 • Friday:

TOOWOOMBA – WARWICK

This morning we take a gentle exploration of the city, its attractions and surrounds before a visit to the extensive Cobb+Co Museum with its excellent collection and stories.

We continue up to Picnic Point where the large park is ablaze with spring colour, after which we’ll return to the heart of the city for some free time for lunch.

This afternoon we have our coach on hand to take us south to Warwick, pausing along the way to call into the village of Nobby, home to the atmospheric Rudd’s pub, named after the celebrated Australian author Steele Rudd, and the adjacent museum to the important pioneering work of Sister Mary Kenny.

Once in Warwick you have the option to join in on a short tour of the town and the railway workshop and depot of the Southern Downs Steam Railway, the operators of the train we’ll be riding with tomorrow.

Dinner this evening will be hosted at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant.

Overnight: Coachman’s Inn, Warwick (B, D)

Day 4 • Saturday:

WARWICK – WALLANGARRA – WARWICK

After breakfast, we head down to the station to meet our special steam-hauled train to the border town of Wallangarra.

Settle into your private carriage for the leisurely run up the Great Dividing Range on the original Sydney to Brisbane railway, which dates from the 1880’s.

The line is rich with ever changing scenery and sweeping views as it climbs to the top of the pass in the heart of the Granite Belt.

The train pauses for morning tea at Stanthorpe before our arrival at Wallangarra on the Queensland – New South Wales border around midday.

We settle in for a lavish lunch hosted on the long platform of the vast historic station, which also houses an interesting historical museum.

The afternoon offering includes a short coach excursion to the Girraween National Park and the famous Chocolate Tourist Centre before a gentle meander along the back roads to Stanthorpe to re-join our heritage train for the scenic run back down the range.

The return journey offers a whole new aspect of the line as the sun reclines and the valleys to the north are spread out on our approach to our base at Warwick.

Your evening is free at leisure.

Overnight: Coachman’s Inn, Warwick (B, L)

Day 5 • Sunday:

WARWICK – DALBY

This morning we travel by coach north to Dalby and take some time along the way to explore Jondaryan Woolshed, one of Australia’s best preserved and largest early colonial woolsheds.

Further on past Dalby is the sprawling estate of Jimbour. The grand homestead was built by the Bell family in the mid 1870’s and is one of the most opulent rural homesteads in the English style in Queensland.

We enjoy a guided tour of the house and grounds which feature an extensive stand of Bunya Pines before returning to Dalby for the evening and dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Kobbers Motor Inn, Dalby (B, D)

Day 6 • Monday:

DALBY – BUNYA MOUNTAINS – GYMPIE

 After breakfast in the hotel dining room we head out past the little village of Kaimkillenbun and Mowbullan and into the tree clad escarpment of the Bunya Mountains National Park. The Bunya Pine, Arucaria Bidwilli, is the largest of the ancient native pine family and was a culturally significant tree for the local Aboriginal tribes.

The park rises more than 1,100 meters above sea level and offers sweeping views of the surrounding area.
We have a chance to find out more of the unique botany and heritage at the information Centre before we take a gentle drive through this impressive forest and down the ranges to Kingaroy.

You have some free time for lunch in town in the shadow of the gigantic peanut silos.
Continuing toward the coast and our destination at Gympie affords the chance to settle back on the coach and enjoy the ever-changing scenery and small stops we’ll make along the way.

Settle into your accommodation in Gympie and enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Mary River Motor Inn, Gympie (or similar) (B, L, D)

Day 7 • Tuesday:

GYMPIE

 This morning we find ourselves gravitating to the old Gympie railway station where we board the popular Mary Valley Rattler, a special vintage train that traverses the valley west along the scenic Mary River.

Usually hauled by a C17 steam loco the volunteers may substitute a retro diesel loco if steam is not available for the half day excursion.

In the afternoon we’ll visit the Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum with its vast collection of artefacts and photographs and enjoy lunch at the café followed by a visit to Woodworks Museum with a tour of the workshop and mills.

The rest of the afternoon and evening are free for you to explore and enjoy on your own.

Overnight: Mary River Motor Inn, Gympie (or similar) (B)

Day 8 • Wednesday:

GYMPIE – MARYBOROUGH – HERVEY BAY

After breakfast we hit the road heading north to Maryborough where we meet Peter and Robert Olds who run a most illuminating engineering enterprise that amongst other things has constructed wheels for the Queen’s royal coach and a full-size replica of Queensland’s first locomotive of 1873, The ‘Mary Ann’. We even get to ride on a special run of this historic relic for a short distance down the track.

After some free time for lunch you have time to look over the military museum and excellent heritage precinct including the statue to Mary Poppins and adjacent museum dedicated to its creator PL Travers.

There is free time for lunch and in the afternoon we take a short drive to Hervey Bay where we take a boat trip on the bay and enjoy the late afternoon on the water before heading to our waterfront venue for a farewell dinner with Mike and the group.

The rest of the evening is at leisure.

Overnight: Mantra Hervey Bay (B, D)

Day 9 • Thursday:

HERVEY BAY – BRISBANE

 After a morning at leisure and late check out we transfer to the station at Howard for our mid-morning departure of the Tilt train to Brisbane.

We travel across the fertile coastal plain past the Glasshouse mountains and onto into the suburbs arriving at Roma St, in Brisbane at 2:50.

Here our tour comes to a close and we say farewell to our group until the next adventure beckons and we take to the rails once again.

This tour of discovery on some very special railways takes you across Southern Queensland’s ranges from Brisbane to Toowoomba, then continues onto Warwick by special steam train for the historic run across the Downs and the wild Granite Belt up the range to Wallangarra. From there we turn North West and venture across the rich Darling Downs to Dalby soaking up the rural landscapes, historic homes and colonial histories.

The Bunya Mountains National Park offer a rare insight into a very special botanical site, rich with Aboriginal cultural significance and from there it’s a scenic drive down the ranges to Gympie and another great steam train journey along the Mary Valley.

The colonial delights of Maryborough, home to the creator of Mary Poppins and just up the road the seaside town of Hervey Bay is the bookend to this varied adventure. All in all, you’ll experience a grand round trip tailor made to showcase the rich characters stories and great train journeys of Queensland’s great South East.

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      Southern Queensland By Rail, Road And Special Steam Trains

      Price
      $3985 per person
      Duration
      9 Days
      Destination
      Queensland

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