PRE TOUR STAY
Consider arriving a day before the tour commences from journey - the cost of the additional night/s of stay applies. Ask our travel team about this option.
DAY 1 - SATURDAY 14 JULY 2018
Brisbane – Spirit of the Outback
Fly from your nearest capital city to Brisbane. Today, you will make your own way to our nominated group hotel, where you will meet fellow group members. You will then be transferred to the Interstate Rail Terminal in the City (Roma Street) where we board the ‘Spirit of the Outback”.
The train departs Brisbane 1.55pm. Our Outback adventure starts here - with our journey on the Spirit of the Outback from Brisbane to Longreach. This fascinating 26 hour, 1300 km trip offers a unique insight into the history and culture of early Australia, combined with interesting commentary, a social atmosphere and an authentic dining experience.
COMFORT OF A FIRST CLASS SLEEPER BERTH
Your journey includes an overnight sleeper berth in First Class. Passengers will wonder at the ever-changing landscape as the train moves from the coast through the heart of the Outback with its rugged mountains, wide-open plains and historic towns. Onboard dining is an experience in itself with the restaurant car serving hearty Aussie meals, while the club and lounge cars are ideal for a relaxed drink and chinwag with fellow passengers.
ABOUT THE TRAIN
The Spirit of the Outback is a unique train that offers us a memorable journey into the Outback. On board, the themed carriages reflect the images of the outback. “The Spirit” is the only train of its kind that speaks the language of the Outback and interprets the rich folklore that has developed over time on the dry inland plains of Australia. There is a well appointed dining car, First Class sleeping berths, bar and on board entertainment.
DAY 2 - SUNDAY 15 JULY 2018
Spirit of the Outback – Longreach
Today the train leaves the coast, departing Rockhampton this morning and travels via Blackwater, Emerald and Barcaldine to Longreach, arriving in Longreach late today.
The daylight journey from Rockhampton to Longreach will allow us to enjoy the magical colours and landscape of Outback Queensland. Our stay in Longreach will enable us to experience some remarkable natural and man-made attractions and meet at least two unique Outback characters. (Breakfast and lunch on Spirit of the Outback, dinner in the motel)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 3 - MONDAY 16 JULY 2018
Longreach is in the centre of a vast area known as the Central West, in the geographical heart of Queensland. There are some fascinating things to see and do in this part of the world – a region that attracted bush poets like Banjo Patterson and pioneers, like the early post World War One pilots who formed the Queensland and Northern Territory Arial Services, which in turn helped form the Flying Doctor Service. What really makes the area are the characters who live here. Richard Kinnon is one. Graham Dean is another local character. Not only does he run the famous open air theatre in the centre of Winton, he does a weekly “poetic review” of issues in Australia for the ABC!
Today we are going to have a special experience as we get an insight into the area through the eyes of local graziers and pioneer families. We will meet the owners of a local station called Strathmore and learn about their operations and the challenges of operating on the land. We then head back into town to the Stockmans Hall of Fame where we enjoy the Outback Stockmans Show. This show, which opened in April 2012, tells the story of real life stockmen and women who work on the land. The Outback Stockman’s Show encompasses the modern day aspects of being a stockman, as well as telling the tales of what it used to be like in the past. We have lunch here before some free time in town. Tonight we enjoy a sunset dinner on the banks of the Thomson River - a timeless waterhole. There will be an open fire and bush poetry. It will be a fantastic night. We then head back into town for a good nights’ sleep. (Breakfast in the motel, light lunch at Stockmans Hall of Fame, theme dinner)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 4 - TUESDAY 17 JULY 2018
This morning we will uncover some national treasures, such as the historic 1922 QANTAS hangar, at the QANTAS Founders Museum. The historic photographs, memorabilia and multimedia displays bring alive the inspirational stories of one of the world’s pioneering airlines. We then head back into town and really step back in time – at Kinnon & Co in the main street. Their Station Store has an amazing range of traditionally made leatherwear and a treasure trove of historic nostalgia. While we are here we stay to watch the Harry Redford Old Time Tent Show. Based on the traditional outback travelling shows, this sometimes politically incorrect, bush theatre tells a fictional story set in the time of Harry Redfords’ (AKA Captain Starlight) infamous adventures. Be prepared to have a laugh! There will be a little bit of free time this afternoon for shopping or private sightseeing, which could include a stagecoach ride through the bush.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
DAY 5 - WEDNESDAY 18 JULY 2018
Longreach to Winton
Our day begins by travelling south of Winton to The Australian Age of Dinosaurs. Winton itself is the central area of Queensland and abounds with early Australian folklore and history. It was in this area that Banjo Paterson wrote his famous poem about the swagman and the jolly jumbuck and “Waltzing Matilda” was first heard in a pub in Winton. Unfortunately the Waltzing Matilda Museum was burnt down in 2015 but we have arranged a very interesting visit none the less. We arrive at The Australian Age of Dinosaurs, located on top of a Jump-Up. This is a rugged mesa plateau formation that stands 75 metres above the surrounding plains. We will have a clear view to spot any dinosaurs in the vicinity. The area surrounding Winton is full of archaeological digs and today we have the opportunity to take a tour and learn about this prehistoric phenomenon and see real dinosaur bones being prepared in the laboratory. The facility has won many awards for its design and content. We spend most of the day here and include a lovely lunch from a fantastic vantage point. This afternoon we make our way back to our motel where we have time to relax on our last night in the area.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
DAY 6 - THURSDAY 19 JULY 2018
Our 9am visit is to School of Distance Education Centre. “Imagine a classroom more than twice the size of Victoria, where the playground is as vast as the outback and the partnership between home and school is legendary." There are definite disadvantages but we do believe the advantages are there also to be schooled this way. Which would you prefer? We observe the children as they begin their day. Our next appointment is at the Longreach Cemetery. Cemeteries are fascinating places to discover the history of a town through the people and dates they lived in the area. From aboriginal trackers to soldiers, lost graves, victims of crime and heroes, some legendary, some infamous and some forgotten – this burial place is home to them all. Our guide will reveal many secrets of the Outback from our walk here. Back into town now with a chance to purchase lunch from one of the cafes before we are transferred to the airport. Our flight to Brisbane departs at 2.35pm and takes two hours. Say your final goodbyes before flying to your onward destination.
Itineraries are subject to change, due to circumstances outside of our control. If there is any itinerary change prior to departure of significance we aim to inform you prior to travel. Itinerary changes while on tour will be informed by your tour leader/guide while on tour.