Welcome to Rail Holidays Australia’s Winter Getaway North Queensland Coast tour as we chase some warmer weather. Our tour will include “planes, trains & automobiles” and we’ll even have a couple of Queensland islands thrown in!
Thursday 27 July, 2017
We make our way to the Sydney Airport by direct coach for our early afternoon flight to Cairns to commence our Winter Getaway North Queensland Coast tour. On our arrival in Cairns, we transfer to our lovely hotel and settle in for the next 3 nights.
Friday 28 July, 2017
One of the “must do” tours in Cairns is a day to Kuranda. This morning we board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for a journey across the rooftop of World Heritage listed rain forest areas. The Skyrail is the world’s longest gondola cableway. The views are spectacular. We stop off during our ascent to visit a rain forest interpretative centre and for a short walk along a boardwalk through the rain forest. Kuranda is full of arts and craft shops and we have plenty of time to explore the village and purchase lunch.
Mid-afternoon we depart Kuranda in Gold Class on the historic Kuranda Train for the spectacular ride through the magnificent Barron Falls National Park. Highlights of the ride are picturesque valleys, jungles, railway bridges, tunnels built over a century ago and the Barron Falls themselves. We’ll arrive back at the hotel with some time to relax before dinner.
Saturday 29 July, 2017
OUTER BARRIER REEF
Today we sail aboard a fast, stable catamaran providing a smoother ride and reduced travel time, leaving more of your day to experience the magic of the Great Barrier Reef. The all-weather Marine World platform caters for all activity levels. Snorkel in the sheltered coral lagoon, join a Marine Biologist on a Guided Snorkel safari. Not a confident swimmer? then stay dry and view the reef from the semi-submersible reef viewer, glass bottom boat or underwater observatory. We will be given an informative ecological presentation by a marine biologist and a smorgasbord luncheon. What a great day!
Sunday 30 July, 2017
CAIRNS TO TOWNSVILLE
The next leg of our Winter Getaway North Queensland Coast tour commences today. We catch the Spirit of Queensland at 9.00am for a delightful journey south to Townsville. Townsville is in the dry tropics region of Queensland and is the largest urban centre north of the Sunshine Coast. We are met on arrival by our local coach operator who will transfer us to our next 3 nights’ accommodation.
Monday 31 July, 2017
TOWNSVILLE & MAGNETIC ISLAND
Today we begin our sightseeing tour of the unofficial capital of North Queensland, our first stop today is at Reef HQ, showing off fish and animals only found on the Great Barrier Reef. We will be given a talk by the Aquarist, including a visit to the turtle hospital. We then head to the Museum of Tropical Queensland showcasing the history and heritage of the North Queensland region. Learn the fascinating story of the HMS Pandora, the ship that chased the Bounty mutineers, only to be wrecked on the Great Barrier Reef in 1791.
We take a ‘fast ferry’ trip allowing us to spend the afternoon exploring Magnetic Island. The Island was first discovered by Captain Cook. He called it Magnetical Island because he believed that the ores on the island had affected his compass! With a wide variety of environmental experiences and attractions. We enjoy a guided tour of the island with an afternoon break at beautiful Horseshoe Bay before the return ferry service to Townsville.
Tuesday 1 August, 2017
We have a special adventure today as we head west to Charters Towers and Texas Longhorn Tours. Upon arrival we enjoy a delicious array of damper and billy tea morning tea! We’ll take a ride in the wild west-replicated wagon plus visit the Longhorns, including JR – the 2012 world record holder of longest horns from tip to tip. Then we make our way into town. Here we have a guided tour of the Venus Gold Battery, Queensland’s oldest gold stamp battery and an insight into the gold rush.
Wednesday 2 August, 2017
TOWNSVILLE TO PROSERPINE
Our first visit today is the RAAF Museum. Originally set up as a base for the US Army Air Force. The museum features a unique collection of engines, uniforms, photographs, models and memorabilia, spanning the history of Northern Australia military aviation. Heading south to the Billabong Sanctuary for a guided ranger tour of one of Australia’s best interactive wildlife parks. Crocodiles, Eels, Pythons, Dingos, Cassowarys, Koalas and Wombats are some of the many residents here. Returning to Townsville we head to Palmetum Park a botanical garden. Within the park is also the Blackhawk Memorial, dedicated to the 18 soldiers who lost their lives in a helicopter training exercise accident in 1996.
This afternoon, we board the Spirit of Queensland for our three-hour train journey to Proserpine. Upon our arrival at Proserpine train station, we’ll transfer to Airlie Beach for the next three nights. The Whitsunday Coast is located on the same latitude as Rio de Janeiro and Tahiti. Airlie Beach is nestled amongst the rainforest and overlooking the blue waters of the Whitsunday Passage.
Thursday 3 August, 2017
THE WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS
This morning we join our full day two island cruise. This cruise showcases two very different faces of the Whitsunday islands. Daydream Island is home to “The Living Reef”, one of the world’s largest man-made living coral reef lagoons and features more than 140 species of marine fish and 83 species of coral. After lunch we cruise too beautiful Whitehaven Beach on uninhabited Whitsunday Island. With 7 kilometres of glistening pure silica sand, Whitehaven Beach is nature at its most unspoilt and spectacular best. Take a stroll or maybe a swim in the crystal clear blue water.
Friday 4 August, 2017
Another great day is in store for us with a company called Proserpine RiverEco Tours. We’ll transfer to their unique venture on a private section of the Proserpine River. Our day will be divided into two parts – first will be the crocodile safari where we take a cruise along the calm waters of the Proserpine River at low tide to see some of the local saltwater crocodile basking on the river banks. Then a wetlands tour on an open-air wagon train to view the abundant wildlife across the Googanga Plains. It’s a nationally listed wetland habitat and we will experience some unique Australian scenery and wildlife as we travel through flood plains, pastures, saltpans and melaleuca forests.
Tonight we are in for a treat as we join the Sundowner Cruises on a pre-dinner Sunset Cruise around Pioneer Bay, followed by a delectable two-course meal at Tides Restaurant in Peppers Resort overlooking the Whitsunday Islands. What a fantastic way to enjoy our last night in Airlie.
Saturday 5 August, 2017
After a leisurely breakfast we farewell our hosts and get ready for the cruise to Hamilton Island. Here we connect with our direct flight, arriving back in Sydney later this afternoon and direct coach home. What a fabulous 10-day holiday!
Rail Holidays Australia
Po Box 1430, Bathurst, NSW. 2795
Ph: 0418 337 263 or 02 6331 1128