Hit the rails for a jour­ney of feast­ing

The food is part of the ex­pe­ri­ence on the Sun­lan­der, writes Sally Browne

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - MASTERCLASS HAMILTON ISLAND -

HAMIL­TON Is­land by train? It doesn’t sound the most likely op­tion to get to the re­sort hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion. But when the trip is com­bined with a sleep­over, culi­nary stops along the way and meals cooked by a for­mer MasterChef fi­nal­ist, it starts to make sense.

In a bid to at­tract hol­i­day mak­ers back to rail af­ter the ad­vent of cheap flights, Queens­land Rail is of­fer­ing a few spe­cial pack­ages.

They call them Mas­ter­Classes – and the four-day get­aways in­clude travel, ac­com­mo­da­tion and meals cooked by your own chef and cook­ing coach.

So far, trains have rat­tled along to Lon­greach, Her­vey Bay, Townsville, Cairns and Hamil­ton Is­land, with hosts in­clud­ing celebrity chefs An­drew Mirosch, Do­minique Rizzo and Alana Lowes. Re­cently it was MasterChef fi­nal­ist Lowes’ turn to head to Hamil­ton Is­land and I was lucky enough to hop on board.

This is a trip that re­ally is about the jour­ney and not just the des­ti­na­tion.

On board the Sun­lan­der, stay­ing in lux­ury Queens­lan­der Class ac­com­mo­da­tion, it’s hard not to be smit­ten by the cosy berths, cute, fold­away sinks and other quaint and cu­ri­ous charms. I’m retro heaven.

It’s like go­ing back in time, wan­der­ing through the car­riage halls to check out the lounge and din­ing cars, won­der­ing if Ori­ent Ex­press de­tec­tive Her­cule Poirot might be around the cor­ner.

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