Gulf Country Queensland (Oz) trains.

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railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
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9,607
Location
Palm Beach County
After about five hours we arrived in Croydon, and then by bus to Forsayth for a couple of nights before boarding the Savannahlander bringing us the rest of the way to Cairns. One of the days at Forsayth allowed us to visit a fabulous bit of the country - Cobbold Gorge. This is also part of a cattle-station, and knowledge of it had vanished after the area's Indigenous people lost their connection to the land. So it was only recently 'discovered' and its natural wonder made more widely known. It involved a bit of a bushwalk, and some of our party were not well prepared for it. Our fab guide Zee took us through and showed us various items of bush tucker, useful leaves and fruit Indigenous people used as food ('tucker' in Australian) and medicine, or in other productive ways.

There were areas of Indigenous significance, as you'd expect from such a natural resource as permanent water and secret passages, but the guide explained the arrangements with the traditional owners didn't allow her to talk to us about them. In Aboriginal culture there are things that only initiated men should know, and things that should only be known by women, and this should be respected, and their stories and sacred places should not be "explained" by someone else.

We did see rock art, as well as a grinding stone however on one ledge affording a magnificent view across the land.

We sailed the gorge where we saw a small (about one and a half metres nose to tail) freshwater croc swimming towards us, walked across a glass bridge, and bushwalked our way back to the entrance, where we reboarded our bus back to Forsayth.

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(double deleted)
My kind of bus...driver in a separate cab, from the passengers....😁
 

mcropod

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
325
Location
Oz
Sadly for Railiner,the driver was effectively up the front of the first carriage and only separated from pax by convention, rather than barrier. The drivers mentioned that the separations now imposed as a covid response are not so good for them, as they really enjoy having a yarn up the front with passengers.

It's fair to say that driving the train is not the first quality the organisation looks for. Our principal driver had a wildlife background, working with native and exotic animals, but with a particular preference for snakes and crawly beasties.

He'd only become a driver by happenstance. I think their philosophy is sound. I reckon if one thought the job was driving a train, one would have a misunderstanding of one's role. Some proper drivers don't make it, according to the patter, especially the ones used to and desirous of being well isolated from their passengers, as on a suburban or interstate train for instance.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,607
Location
Palm Beach County
Sadly for Railiner,the driver was effectively up the front of the first carriage and only separated from pax by convention, rather than barrier. The drivers mentioned that the separations now imposed as a covid response are not so good for them, as they really enjoy having a yarn up the front with passengers.

It's fair to say that driving the train is not the first quality the organisation looks for. Our principal driver had a wildlife background, working with native and exotic animals, but with a particular preference for snakes and crawly beasties.

He'd only become a driver by happenstance. I think their philosophy is sound. I reckon if one thought the job was driving a train, one would have a misunderstanding of one's role. Some proper drivers don't make it, according to the patter, especially the ones used to and desirous of being well isolated from their passengers, as on a suburban or interstate train for instance.
I wasn't referring to the Gulflander train, but to that 'Gorge' bus, built on a truck chassis, pictured further down.

And please don't misunderstand me...I enjoy interacting with passenger's on a tour very much...:)
 

mcropod

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
325
Location
Oz
I wasn't referring to the Gulflander train, but to that 'Gorge' bus, built on a truck chassis, pictured further down.

And please don't misunderstand me...I enjoy interacting with passenger's on a tour very much...:)
Roger! That bus/truck did have a bit of cab separation, but there was a great big hole through the middle of the wall, properly sealed to prevent dust or fumes entering, and padded for safety, meaning we all had a fair chance to see out the front window and throw minties at the driver were we so inclined. The set-up looked like the vehicle could be very handy as a campervan.
 

mcropod

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
325
Location
Oz
I had a lazy day today, walking about, with no particular plan in mind. I went by the marina, where all sorts of craft were moored. There were prawnboats, game-fishing boats, and working boats of all sorts ready for action. Cairns is the major point of access to the northern parts of the Great Barrier Reef, and I went by a long queue of people ready to board one boat about to start an excursion.

I then happened upon the Cairns Aquarium and spent a couple of hours having a good look around their exhibits of the marine and river fish of northern Oz. There was excellent information on the reef and the fish of its various environments, from deep to the intertidal zone.

I'll bung the pix of my Monday below.
 

mcropod

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
325
Location
Oz
My apologies - I was not using a stereoscopic camera, so I dunno why I've got a double-up!
 

mcropod

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
325
Location
Oz
Well, I'm safely home again in the cold south of the country after leaving the in tropical north on Wednesday morning.

I can write another thread about that journey under a different heading. It involved travel of about 3,500kms on rails all within the same timezone, not requiring a passport (but needing a visa to travel the last 400).

It involves two overnighter trains, three connections, three state government run railways, and one full-day daylight service between our two most populous cities.

I'd highly recommend riding the two Gulf rail-motors if you get a chance. It's possible to do them with the added off-train excursions, or without - so just as a train-ride. Unless you really knew the off-train sites: Undarra lavatubes and Cobbold Gorge already, getting to see them is well worth it.

The guides/drivers on the Savannahlander especially are excellent value - full of good yarns, and very good at explaining the wildlife of the area, so if you are a visitor to this part of Oz, or even Oz itself, you'll be very well served.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
22,707
Location
Austin Texas
Well, I'm safely home again in the cold south of the country after leaving the in tropical north on Wednesday morning.

I can write another thread about that journey under a different heading. It involved travel of about 3,500kms on rails all within the same timezone, not requiring a passport (but needing a visa to travel the last 400).

It involves two overnighter trains, three connections, three state government run railways, and one full-day daylight service between our two most populous cities.

I'd highly recommend riding the two Gulf rail-motors if you get a chance. It's possible to do them with the added off-train excursions, or without - so just as a train-ride. Unless you really knew the off-train sites: Undarra lavatubes and Cobbold Gorge already, getting to see them is well worth it.

The guides/drivers on the Savannahlander especially are excellent value - full of good yarns, and very good at explaining the wildlife of the area, so if you are a visitor to this part of Oz, or even Oz itself, you'll be very well served.
Why did you have to have a VISA for part of the trip?
 

mcropod

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 29, 2018
Messages
325
Location
Oz
Why did you have to have a VISA for part of the trip?
as part of its Covid-security arrangements, the state of Victoria required anyone seeking to enter the state to provide information on who they are, and some details about where they'd been outside the state, before allowing them to cross the border.

Those details then provided a document which could be required to be produced to the Victorian police upon entry (as well as at anytime in the following fortnight) if asked for.

I was not asked for it at anytime on the train - before or after crossing the Murray - nor at Spencer Street railway station after disembarking - nor anytime since in the week I've been home.

it was a process completed on line, and reminded me of the ESTA I had to ontain before entry into the USA a couple of years ago, but with far fewer questions about Iran :)

BTW, the whole state of Victoria re-entered lockdown last night, with requirements to stay at home, not travel more than five kilometres - and that only for some specified essential purposes, so I don't think my visa will be anything more than a curio from now.

Other states have closed their borders to some or all Victorians as a result of Victoria's lockdown and Covid cases, so not many of us will be escaping out to need back in anyway :)

 
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