We’ve finally returned from our outback adventure and vintage train rides – so now we are back in civilization and internet. So what have we been up to since we last met up? Here are a few highlights. First up was our trip on the vintage Gulflander. This train is a bit of an oddity and is said to go from “nowhere to nowhere”. The Normanton to Croydon railway line has remained fully isolated from the Queensland Rail Network. This remote railway line is Heritage listed and the only line in Queensland still measured in miles.
Sign at the station toilet building
Then we took a gentle boat ride through the Cobbold Gorge. Quite a unique place due to it’s extreme narrowness, closing in to a tiny two metres wide in some places, with 30m cliffs on either side. It is fed by several springs keeping the water level constant, allowing boat access even in the “dry” season. And yes, crocodiles make their home in the waters too.
Beautiful Cobbold Gorge
And we heard the amazing story of Swampy the Braham bull. This friendly bull with the larger than average spread of horns was a gentle boy and a family favourite, and when he escaped from his paddock the owner went looking for him to bring him safely back. But there was no sign of Swampy anywhere. Just as he was about to give up, the owner saw something flashing on the riverbank – it was Swampy, his head and horns being thrashed around on the ground as a croc was trying his darndest to swallow him whole. Chills ran down the owners spine – most of his beloved Swampy was inside an enormous crocodile, and it was only the bull’s massive spread of horns which stopped him being swallowed down. Quick as a wink, the rancher reached for his knife and slit the croc down his belly, and helped pull Swampy out of the jaws of death. Once the bull had tottered to his feet and recovered a little strength from this ordeal, he walked slowly back to his paddock with the owner, and never went missing again, enjoying several more years of life on the range.
Swampy the bull
Our two day Savannalander trip was full of fun, and the drivers were young, fit and keen, and loved what they do for a living. We travelled through the harsh dry country, stopping for morning tea on day one at the rustic outdoor “café”
We ate simple fare at lunch time stopping at isolated country pubs in the middle of nowhere. The train stopping each week must make a huge difference to their turnover and keep the businesses viable.
There goes a kangaroo
Happy to be riding the rails
And then the train was stopped by Ned Kelly and his gang
Next was a visit to the Undara Lava Tubes. About 190,000 years ago, a large volcano erupted violently, spewing molten lava over the surrounding landscape. The lava flowed rapidly down a dry riverbed. The top, outer-layer cooled and formed a crust, while the molten lava below drained outwards, leaving behind a series of hollow tubes. Absolutely amazing!!!
Inside a lava tube
We’ve certainly seen such a lot with our small trip through the outback, and we wouldn’t have missed this rail trip for the world – another thing crossed off our bucket list. Remember – you are very welcome to log on to our travel blog at www.romanyrambler.com for a fuller version of our holiday travels.