QLD Islands Rail Adventure (departing Melbourne)
Explore Queensland’s picturesque coastal islands, coastline and countryside on this 13-day islands and rail adventure. With stopovers at the beautiful Fraser Island and Magnetic Island, as well as tropical Cairns, you will get to enjoy some of the best Queensland has to offer.
Sunday, Thursday or Friday
Fly to Brisbane and make your way to your accommodation and the rest of the day is free for you to explore the river city at your leisure.
Overnight: Mercure Brisbane King George Square or similar, 2 nights
Today is a free day to continue to explore the sights of Brisbane.
South Bank has so much to offer - ride the Wheel of Brisbane, marvel at the one kilometre long Arbour or visit the Nepalese Pagoda, a treasured structure that was offered by the Kingdom of Nepal for the World Expo in 1988. If arts and culture are more your thing, take in the latest exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, visit the Queensland Museum and Science Centre, or the Queensland Maritime Museum. Plus there’s a selection of world class eateries to grab some lunch. Your day is sorted!
Mid-morning today you’ll depart on the Tilt Train and travel north to Maryborough West, arriving early afternoon. Here you will be transferred to the ferry terminal for your crossing to beautiful World Heritage Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island.
Overnight: Kingfisher Bay Resort, 3 nights
On your first day on Fraser Island you will enjoy a full day 4WD eco tour. Guided by a local Ranger, you will see all the beauty spots of the island and enjoy morning tea and lunch.
Highlights include the:
- crystal blue water and white sands of Lake McKenzie
- impressive central station rainforest
- famous 75 Mile Beach sand highway
- Maheno shipwreck, and
- coloured sands of The Pinnacles.
Tonight, you can join the night spotlighting walk, looking for the sights and sounds of the unique and rare, nocturnal wildlife. Guided by one of the Ranges you may see the rare acid frogs, insectivorous bats or the local sugar gliders, as they go about their business around the Island's lakes.
Today you can do as much or as little as you would like. Indulge yourself at the Island Spa, relax by one of the four pools, get to know the local flora and fauna on one of the guided walks or discover the delights of native bush food on a Bush Tucker Talk & Taste tour. If outdoor activities are more your thing you could set out on an easy paddle to Dundonga Creek, put your skills and focus to the ultimate archery test, or unleash your inner warrior with Laser Skirmish.
This evening, enjoy the candlelit setting of Seabelle, the resort’s signature restaurant. With a crafted menu of modern Australian cuisine, the award winning culinary team blend native ingredients with seasonal, local produce and fresh seafood.
Take a last-minute walk, tour or activity or simply relax some more in this island paradise, before catching the afternoon ferry to connect up with your coach transfer to Maryborough Station.
Alternatively you may like to travel over on the morning ferry, and spend some time exploring Hervey Bay. Walk along the Esplanade, feed the lorikeets at the Botanical Gardens, or stroll along the historic, deep water Urangan Pier, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Note: you will need to make your own way to/from the River Heads Ferry Terminal, and be back in time for your transfer to Maryborough West Station to continue your rail journey north, should you choose this option.
Once onboard the Spirit of Queensland, dinner will be served to you at your rail bed. After dinner, the staff will transform your seat to a flat bed, and you can settle down and relax for the evening. For the night owls, you may even like to watch a movie from the in-set entertainment.
Overnight: Spirit of Queensland
Enjoy breakfast before arriving into Townsville at approximately 9.30am.
As the ferry departs for Magnetic Island approximately every hour, you may like to spend the day exploring the city of Townsville.
Immerse yourself in the underwater viewing tunnel at Reef HQ Great Barrier Reef Aquarium, the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium, or visit the Museum of Tropical Queensland. Located side by side, it's easy to spend the best part of a day visiting these attractions.
Just a short 10-minute walk away is the Breakwater Terminal where you will need to check in for you ferry transfer to Magnetic Island.
On arrival to the island you can collect your hire car and continue to your accommodation.
Overnight: Arcadia Village Motel or similar, 3 nights
Today, you can take your car and explore the island. The Forts Walk, on the hill between Arcadia and Horseshoe Bay, is an easy walk to the historical forts built in WWII. Keep an eye out for koalas – Magnetic Island is home to the largest colony of wild koalas in Northern Australia.
You can also head to Bungalow Bay Koala Village in Horseshoe Bay, where you can see koalas and other Australian wildlife up close and personal. Make sure you join in the afternoon lorikeet feeding - definitely an experience that will bring a smile to your face.
This evening you will enjoy a 2-hour Sunset Cruise with Pilgrim Sailing. Relax and soak in the beautiful scenery, with a glass of bubbles and antipasto platters included.
Today you may like to join the Hop On Hop Off coach tour and learn all about the history of Magnetic Island. Or pack a picnic lunch, jump in your car and head to the stunning Horseshoe Bay. You may also like to buy some wallaby food and go to Bremner Point in Arcadia for a unique experience feeding the rock wallabies.
Early this morning, catch the ferry back to Townsville, and make your way to the Rail Station to board the Spirit of Queensland for your final rail journey to Cairns. Settle into your Premium Economy Seats, and watch the scenery go by as you continue your journey north.
After you've arrived in Cairns and checked into your hotel, you might like to dine in your resort.
Overnight: Doubletree by Hilton or similar, 3 nights
Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, so book a day cruise to the outer reef and experience one of the wonders of the natural world. See the coral and fish up close, whether it be by snorkelling, diving or through the glass bottomed boat.
Or you may prefer to head inland, continue the rail theme, and take the Kuranda Scenic Rail up to the rainforest village of Kuranda. Explore the daily local markets, or shop in the quirky boutique stores before returning back to Cairns on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. The 90 minute gondola ride offers spectacular views as you travel over the rainforest canopy.
Today is another free day for you to explore Tropical North Queensland. Perhaps stay at the resort, relax by the pool, wander the lush tropical gardens or head out and discover more of Cairns. The Esplanade, where you can choose to dine or just people watch, and the Reef Casino, are all within easy reach.The Cairns Regional Gallery is the perfect place to get an understanding of the region’s history, heritage and culture through visual arts and crafts.
Or if you need to get that last souvenir, Cairns has a great selection of shopping locations – the Cairns Night Markets boast 130 stalls and a food court, and is a great place to get handmade local gifts and souvenirs.
Today concludes your Islands Rail Adventure through Queensland – depending on your flight, there may be some time for last minute sightseeing, or perhaps you may like to extend you stay and visit Palm Cove or Port Douglas.
Terms and Conditions
Prices are per person, correct at time of printing and valid till 31 March 2023. Single Supplement is an additional $1420pp. All components are subject to availability and may change at any time. A non-refundable deposit of $1000pp is required when booking and the balance is due 70 days prior to departure. Any amendments will incur an additional cost, and strict cancellation fees apply – travel insurance is highly recommended for an additional cost. Read our latest COVID Safe practices and policies.