Linking Brisbane and Cairns, The Sunlander services many of
Australia's iconic oceanside destinations - Fraser Island, The
Whitsundsay Islands, The Great Barrier Reef and the tropical city of
Cairns. On the way it passes through some of Australia's most scenic
sub-tropical and tropical regions.
There are three departures each week in both directions for what must
surely be Queensland Rail's flagship service. Covering around 1,691 km,
the 31 hour journey is long enough to allow passengers to relax, unwind
and take in the view through its big windows, but short enough to not
feel as though it is taking forever for those eager to reach their
The Sunlander offers three levels of service - Queenslander Class,
Sunlander Class with a choice of single, abd twin sleeping berths, and
Economy Class with a choice of triple-share berths or sleeper seating.
Sunlander and Economy Class passengers have access to a Club Car that
offers an almost continuous service of light refreshments, drinks and
confectionery, and a licensed Buffet Car where snacks, meals and
beverages may be purchased. Showers and restrooms are provided in all
sleeping and sitting cars. Special dietary meals are available but must
be arranged at the time of booking.
Nambour, Maryborough, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay,
Proserpine (The Whitsundays), Bowen, Ayr and Townsville are among the
scheduled stopping places for travellers not wishing to complete the
full journey. Coaches and buses provide transport to the towns and
regional centres they service where the station is out of town. A
Motorail service on selected journeys allows passengers to take their
own motor vehicle with them. All I travelled with who had previously
used the Motorail service found it to be efficient and trouble free.
For those seeking a premium, all-inclusive* rail experience,
Queensland Class is the way to travel. Dedicated staff are on hand
around the clock to ensure the journey is pleasant and relaxing, and
there are plenty of thoughtful personal touches in the service to make
the journey a truly memorable experience. This high level of service,
combined with the lush scenery that passes by the window constantly,
has led to The Sunlander being listed as one of the top 25 rail
journeys in the world by the Society of International Railway
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In addition to their berths, Queenslander Class guests (travellers
are looked upon as guests, not passengers) have their own lounge and
dining cars. The restaurant menu offers a choice of three course meals
that will not disappoint the most fastidious diner. All meals are
prepared fresh by an on-board chef. The Queenslander Class's signature
dish is a seafood platter, delivered direct from the trawler to the
train midway through the journey, a firm favourite with Queenslander
Queenslander Class compartments have a comfortable three seater lounge
which converts to upper and lower sleeping berths at night, complete
with fluffy doonas and pillows. Cabins feature 240 volt power points,
private vanity, wardrobes, full length mirror, reading lamps and
foldaway table. Beds are turned down during dinner by the cabin crew.
Portable DVD players and a selection of movies are available, as well
as a variety of board games and magazines. Guests can also enjoy
complimentary tea and coffee in the comfort of the lounge car, as well
as live entertainment. The journey is long enough and the number of
passengers travelling Queensland Class small enough to allow guests to
quickly get to know each other and enjoy each other's company in the
intimate atmosphere afforded by the smaller group of travellers who opt
for Queensland Class.
*Alcohol is sold separately.