Price
$4,585 per person
Duration
10 Days
Destination
More than 1

The Borderlands Steam Adventure

Southern Queensland and Northern NSW by Special Vintage Trains

• BRISBANE • TOOWOOMBA • WARWICK • GOONDIWINDI • ARMIDALE • TENTERFIELD • • GOONDIWINDI SHOW
  • Information
  • Itinerary
  • Gallery
  • Tour Map
  • Reviews
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.

Some Details

Departure Location
Brisbane, Queensland
Return Location
Toowoomba, Queensland | Brisbane, Queensland
Tour Leader(s)
Scott McGregor and Friends
Tour Date
28 Apr 2022 - 7 May 2022
Extras
Price: $4585 Single Supplement: $615
Price includes
  • 9 night’s accommodation in comfortable, centrally located hotels
  • All excursions and entrance fees to attractions, as listed in the itinerary
  • Breakfast daily, 6 lunches and 7 dinners as per the itinerary
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 • Thursday 28 April:

ARRIVE BRISBANE

We begin our adventure with a briefing and celebratory welcome dinner and drinks at the historic Transcontinental Hotel with the group

and your tour leaders setting the stage for the journey ahead.

Overnight: Pullman Hotel, Brisbane (D)

Day 2 • Friday 29 April:

BRISBANE – TOOWOOMBA

 

After breakfast at the hotel, we embark on a coach trip heading out of Brisbane to visit the Ipswich Workshops Rail Museum, one of Australia’s premier museums, built around the living history of one of the country’s great industrial complexes. Here you have time on your own to explore the world class collection and tour the restoration work in progress.

Early lunch is provided in the cafeteria before we head off for Toowoomba on a specially chartered private QR Heritage Train. The scenic run we embark on in our old-style wooden carriages begins out of Ipswich Station.

The journey then tackles the wide flood plain before ascending the ranges and winding its way up the escarpment where we pause at the iconic Spring Bluff Station to smell the roses. We then take the last dramatic leg into the grand old station at Toowoomba in the late afternoon.

After checking into our hotel, you have the evening at leisure and time to take advantage of the central location of the hotel.

Overnight: Burke and Wills Hotel, Toowoomba (B, L)

Day 3 • Saturday 30 April:

TOOWOOMBA – WARWICK – GOONDIWINDI

It’s an early start this morning as we head out after breakfast by coach to Warwick to meet our special steam train for the run to Goondiwindi.

Once every few years the Southern Downs Steam Railway volunteers gather to explore this region by steam, and while it is open to regular travellers too, we will have our own dedicated heritage carriages and attendants.

We depart Warwick station at 8.00am and shortly after leaving the yard our train branches out onto the western line. Morning tea is served on board as we travel west via Karara and Inglewood. Here, on the platform of the classic timber station, we have a BBQ lunch.

The next stop along the way is at Yelarbon to view the painted silos, a spectacular sight in the surrounding countryside.

Later in the afternoon we arrive at Goondiwindi where you are transported to your downtown motel by bus for some time to settle in and relax.

This evening we gather for dinner downtown at the grand old Victoria Hotel.

You may even wish to take a visit to the popular Goondiwindi show complete with an evening fireworks display.

Overnight: Jolly Swagman, Goondiwindi (B, L, D)

Day 4 •Sunday 1 May:

GOONDIWINDI

Today is yours to choose between a few different options. You are free to join the rail journey further down the line to Toobeah, departing at 8:00 and returning at around 11:00.

You also have the option to continue by coach to Dirranbandi (at the end of the railway line) where lunch can be had at the local pub. You will then return to Goondiwindi later in the afternoon.

Alternately you have the option to gather for a tour of the Cotton growing industry in and around the town. We visit facilities and fields

and drop into Goondiwindi Cotton, a popular local establishment where you can sample the many locally produced products.

Later this evening we gather for a hearty local dinner.

Overnight: Jolly Swagman, Goondiwindi (B, D)

Day 5 • Monday 2 May:

GOONDIWINDI – ARMIDALE

 This morning after breakfast at the hotel we hit the road heading south into NSW and a day of train travel on the lines of northern NSW.
We take our coaches to Moree and from there we head by privately chartered railmotor down the line to Armidale.

Our train takes us through Narrabri, Boggabri, Gunnedah and Breeza before pulling into the grand old junction station of Werris Creek.
Here we enjoy a BBQ lunch on the grand old station platform with time to explore the excellent museum and National Railway Monument before our train departs for the next leg via Tamworth and Uralla to Armidale.

Free time is offered and then dinner will be provided at the hotel.

Overnight: The Powerhouse Hotel or similar, Armidale (B, L, D)

Day 6 • Tuesday 3 May:

ARMIDALE

After breakfast today, enjoy a full day of sightseeing around this charming city.

First off, we explore the grand old homestead of Booloominbah, which was designed by Horbury Hunt in the 1880’s. This exceptional country mansion was originally owned by the White family and is now the head office of the University of New England.

Following this we’ll visit the Victorian estate of Saumarez, another grand country homestead set in magnificent gardens, and a veritable time capsule of how the family lived and worked. The estate’s café provides a mighty fine morning tea, a short intermission before a precursor to a guided tour of this authentic country estate. We’ll then continue our round trip to Uralla, enjoying lunch at McCrossin’s Mill Museum, and a visit to one of Australia’s most historic iron foundries, a grand colonial woolshed and sheep station and the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

We’ll then head back to Armidale with a short stop at the commemorative atmospheric monument at Dangarsleigh.

The evening is yours for some free time to explore the many dinner options in and around Armidale, including of course our own hotel which has a fine restaurant.

Overnight: Powerhouse Hotel, Armidale (B, L)

Day 7 • Wednesday 4 May:

ARMIDALE – TENTERFIELD

This morning after breakfast at the hotel we begin our exploration of the route of the Great Northern Railway with our coaches. Along the way we will visit the interesting little town of Guyra, then we continue to Inverell where we take a tour of this attractive town, ending up at the National Transport Museum for lunch.

You’ll have time to explore the vast collection of historic vehicles and memorabilia at this award-winning museum before heading further down the road to Glen Innes.

This city takes special pride in its Celtic heritage, and we take time to reflect at the amazing standing stones on the hill overlooking the town.

The next leg of our tour takes us north and explores parts of the old Great Northern Railway.

Sadly, the line in this part of New England is closed, however much of the infrastructure remains and along the way we’ll see things like the grand old stations, long truss bridges and scenic sections of this once pivotal railway.

We end up in Tenterfield at the excellent Railway Museum at the station, which will also be the site for our afternoon tea. Later we check into our motels and enjoy some time to relax.

Dinner this evening is a grand affair befitting the location at the Henry Parkes School of Arts. It was here in 1889 that Sir Henry, having just arrived by special train on his way to the colony of Queensland delivered his famous Tenterfield Oration which set the scene for a growing push to Federation. We will have dinner here across several of the rooms at the museum, and the bar will feature local and regional wines and beers. After which it’s a short stroll back to your motels close by.

Overnight: Best Western, Peter Allen Motor Inn or Jumbuck Motor Inn, Tenterfield (B, L, D)

Day 8 • Thursday 5 May:

TENTERFIELD – WALLANGARRA – WARWICK

Enjoy a day of classic steam era train travel, with a feast of scenery following the route of the original railway from Sydney to Brisbane.

To begin our day, after a light breakfast we head north a short distance by coach to the border town of Wallangarra.

This was the transhipment point and the change of trains for all inter-colonial traffic due to the break of gauge. Thankfully, the unusual island station has been beautifully restored and hosts an interesting museum and a great restaurant. Tables will be laid out along the platform and a lavish breakfast will be hosted as our train rolls in from Warwick and shunts around to get ready for the next leg of our journey on the old Great Northern Railway.

Descending the great divide our special train takes us along the Granite Belt to the city of Stanthorpe where we pause at the old station for a morning tea before continuing down the range to Warwick. Arriving in the early afternoon, we take a short city tour and check into your accommodation and enjoy an afternoon of leisure before gathering again for dinner at the Coachman’s Inn.

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

 

Day 9 • Friday 6 May:

WARWICK – TOOWOOMBA

After a leisurely breakfast we head back down to the station and board our train for the last leg of our steam adventure. Our train chuffs out of Warwick heading north across the Darling Downs to Toowoomba, stopping along the way for morning tea and to visit the small towns that pepper the route.

On arrival in Toowoomba our train shunts around and heads back to its home at Warwick and we enjoy free time to explore the city and have lunch on your own, making your way either by foot or coach to the hotel in time to check in.

Later in the afternoon you have the choice to head out and visit the excellent Cobb and Co museum and lookout.

Our celebratory farewell dinner this evening is hosted in an appropriately railway themed site, the museum depot and station of the Downs Steam railway heritage centre. We’ll hear about the fine work being done here and the great plans afoot for future operations while enjoying drinks and a fine dinner in the diner.

Overnight: Burke and Wills Hotel, Toowoomba (B, D)

Day 10 • Saturday 7 May:

TOOWOOMBA – DEPARTURES

Our tour comes to an end this morning and after breakfast our coaches will be on hand to transfer you back to Brisbane, the railway station, or the airport, ending our excellent adventure of the Borderlands of Southern Queensland and Northern NSW. (B)

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.

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      The Borderlands Steam Adventure

      Price
      $4,585 per person
      Duration
      10 Days
      Destination
      More than 1

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