Hit the rails for a journey of feasting
The food is part of the experience on the Sunlander, writes Sally Browne
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.