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The Rock-itt : May 2010
heyday. It now has a bottle museum and is working on an historic precinct. Nice people and a good town to stay for a night. However, our railway trip is not over but the next station is 188km away to the East and there is no railway track. Thankfully I have a plan and there is a bus leaving to take us to Forsayth over the dusty and winding Gulf Development Road. It takes just over two hours to get to Forsayth but I'm in no hurry, The Savannahlander doesn't leave until tomorrow so I have an exciting Thursday night in Forsayth! Riding the Gulf Development Road to Forsayth, is that a ghostly roo??!! People arriving at Forsayth on the Savannahlander train normally get transferred for the night to Cobbold Gorge which is about 40 minutes drive away and has a great canyon cruise. I stayed at The Forsayth Goldfields Hotel mainly because you get to feed the tame Black Cockatoos in the morning! The Savannahlander arrives into Forsayth late in the afternoon and overnights here before starting its return journey into Cairns on the Friday morning. It leaves at 8.30am but only travels about 130 km to Mount Surprise where it and its passengers spend Friday night. From Mt Surprise the usual excursion is to the Undara Lava tubes which are pretty spectacular, Mount Surprise is the only place I've ever seen a train go across somebodies lawn! There's a good pub in the town and with a woolly head I was there for the 8.15am Saturday departure to Cairns just 300kms east down the line. The train stops whenever you see something interesting, and if you are slow hailing the driver he'll reverse the whole shebang so you can have a look. There were about a dozen other folks on the train and everyone was into the experience. We stopped at Bullock Creek for morning tea, our driver spotted something shining in a tree and we pulled up to go and look at some Jewelled Beetles. Jewelled Beetles, how do you see these from a train? I think our driver was tipped off! We had stops at Almaden for lunch, Dimbulah for tea and arrived in Cairns about 6pm. The red roof of the Einasleigh pub in the distance, don't worry, we're heading for it. As I said at the start of this piece, I planned this trip myself but nowadays the Savannahlander people will do it for you. If you are interested in the countryside and nature this is an awesome escapade, of course it helps if you like trains but its great even if you don't. There are lots of different packages but the one nearest to what I did will cost you about $850 which includes the coach fare from Cairns out to Normanton and all your accommodation and travel outside of Cairns. Jet star will fly you up and back to Cairns from Sydney this month for a measly $240, go for it. I think I might just do it again, see you on the track. Get the full specs from http://www.savannahlander.com.au/ The Club Hotel, Croydon Savannahlander at Forsayth, so picturesque even the local policeman was out taking pictures. On the turf at Mt, Surprise!!