Highlights of Queensland


Destinations around Cairns and Brisbane: The Rainforest, Surfers Paradise and the Great Barrier Reef

From the diverse sea life, to the rolling waves of the Gold Coast, the natural wonders of Australia make it a dreamy destination for adventurers. Embark on a journey through Queensland that attracts explorers, surfers and backpackers alike, thanks to its fabulous coast, tropical Rainforest and remarkable Great Barrier Reef. The Queensland Explorer Pass and the East Coast Discovery Pass are two Australian rail passes that will transport you between Cairns and Brisbane aboard Australia’s brand new long distance train: The Spirit of Queensland.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and it is best explored by hopping on a boat heading straight to the snorkeling and scuba diving spots located as little as 45 minutes away from Cairns. This unique experience is your chance to encounter the expansive marine life, swim with turtles and fish and see the world’s largest coral reef up close.

tropics and great barrier reef waterall

The Daintree National Park is a perfect destination for adventurous getaways. You’re likely to take some of your best photographs in the region as the lush Rainforest and the region’s pristine tropical beaches complement the diverse wildlife, flora & fauna to make a natural wonderland where every snapshot is a proverbial postcard. Speaking of wild, you can also go down Daintree River for a one-of-a-kind experience on a quest to meet crocodiles. Daintree is about a 2 hour drive north of Cairns.

The other end of The Spirit of Queensland journey is Brisbane, which is the state’s capital. With bright lights, busy streets, towering skyscrapers and entertaining shows, it’s the place to be for a city holiday that breaks away from all the exploring you do in the rest of Queensland. You’ll be able to visit traditional art galleries, go shopping and enjoy fine dining.


South of Brisbane you can reach Surfers Paradise, a thriving area within the Gold Coast, where there are numerous events and water sports that are taking place such as jet boating, jet skiing and, of course, surfing. While you’re around, why not learn how to surf like a pro? Beginner surf lessons and advanced lessons with World Champions can easily be arranged. If you’re a seasoned surfer you’ll be happy to learn that Surfers Paradise is among the greatest surfing destinations to meet other fans of the sport and, most importantly, spot the big waves. The train journey is about 90 minutes from Brisbane to the Gold Coast. Surfers Paradise is centrally located on the Gold Coast with a number of local bus routes passing through.

As of October 28, traveling between Cairns and Brisbane is now an even more modern and delightful journey aboard The Spirit of Queensland, especially if you opt for the revolutionary RailBed, which is a spacious and comfortable seat by day and is converted into a cozy lie-flat bed by night. Your RailBed seat includes a personal entertainment system, a power outlet and USB port. The total journey time is 24 hours and 55 minutes, but as you can imagine, you cover a lot of distance overnight as trains depart from Cairns every Wednesday and Sunday at 8:05am and arrive in Brisbane the next day at 9:00am. Departures out of Brisbane take place Monday and Friday at 3:45pm in order to arrive the next day at 4:40pm (Click here to see the complete Timetable).

An easy way to enjoy The Spirit of Queensland journey is with a rail pass. You can choose between the Queensland Explorer Pass, which includes travel along the rail line between Brisbane and Cairns or the Discovery Pass, transporting you in one direction, with as many stopovers as you want, between Brisbane and Cairns or between 2 cities of your choice among the following: Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

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