Monday 14 May 2012

Days 408 & 409: The Sunlander

The Economy cabin!
 We rolled our suitcases back down the hill from the hostel to Roma Street station.  They keep the Sunlander, the famous train that runs from Brisbane to Cairns hidden somewhere at the back of the station, and only inform you of where it is if you ask!  We reached the platform five minutes too late to check our luggage, but not too late for Mike to stand in a queue to see if he could upgrade our seats to a cabin for a smaller fee than advertised.  This resulted in a tiny economy triple cabin becoming available about five minutes before the train pulled out.  I should explain that we have Ausrail passes and can travel all we want for no extra money, but only in seats.  If we want to lie down at night we have to pay for an upgrade.  At the full rate, this comes to over $400 for three people, and the train companies don't advertise the fact that they have triples - and maybe they often don't.

It takes two full days and one night for the Sunlander to get to Cairns, but the time seemed to just fly by.  I should describe the scenery, though I spent quite a lot of the time reading, writing or dozing.  It started off with thin Eucalyptus woods that seemed to go on for most of the day.  This was especially the case since we had to stop for two hours due to some motorcyclists trying to ride along the railway line and one of them coming a cropper a bit ahead of us.  When we woke up the next morning, we were in savannah - very flat golden grasslands with occasional trees and blue mountains rising out of them here and there.  By the time we got near Cairns the hills were covered in the dense green rainforest we had come to see.

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