We got up very early on Monday 11th August to ensure we were at Ayr station to catch the 7am Sunlander train to enjoy our 437km train adventure to arrive in Cairns at 3.45pm.
The train journey passed through a number of cane fields as this area of Queensland is the sugar capital of the north. We also passed a number of the sugar mills which process the cane into sugar, with the billowing white smoke pouring out of their chimney stacks up to the sky. I have included a photo of the Mulgrave mill with its adjacent museum, which is situated on the outskirts of Cairns.
We crossed a number of river bridges and travelled through the tropical rain forests, with its lush green vegetation, due to the high amount of rainfall in the northern areas. It is said that Cardwell to Cairns has the highest average rainfall on the east coast of Queensland having an average annual rainfall of about 3200mm.
It was sad to see the damage that cyclone Yasi had caused to Tully station and various parts of the nearby area, including many tree and banana plantations destroyed along our route. These are being slowly brought back to life.
We arrived in Cairns a few minutes early and took a taxi to the Cairns Queenslander Hotel & Apartments where we were staying overnight. Our accomodation was close to the beach, so we had a beautiful walk along the seafront, stopping at the local RSL for a most enjoyable dinner. We then walked back to our hotel for a good nights sleep before our return journey home the following day, leaving Cairns at 7.15am.
There were many interesting people that we met on our train journey, including a journalist named Phillip Overton who will be writing about the Sunlander journey from Brisbane to Cairns in his book due to be published later this year. You can see his previous rail journeys on his blog at http://www.traintrippingdownunder.blogspot.com.au. We are looking forward to reading about our section of the trip when it is published.
We arrived back in Ayr on Tuesday 12th August at 3.45pm after having had a very interesting adventure.
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