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Tim Richards
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We'll pass, thanks
Traveller, 9 March 2024

"Ah, the joys of travelling across Europe by rail with a Eurail pass! Hopping aboard regional services without any need of a separate ticket, and using sleeper trains as a substitute for hotel rooms. There’s nothing more fun than a rail pass, but many Australians will be surprised to learn that it’s possible to travel that way in our own eastern states. Here’s how..."

Explaining the rail passes and fare caps available in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, Australia

[Read the full article here]

Best moments in travel 2023 (four items)
Traveller, 19 November 2023

"Sitting on a ledge next to my carriage window is a traditional Anzac biscuit, the next complimentary item to be served in Gold Class on the journey to Kuranda; and just before the train halts at the falls, I’m handed a cup of coffee made from local beans. So I step from the train, brew and bikkie in hand, to lean against the railing with the other passengers and marvel at the water as it cascades down the rocky slope beneath us..."

Describing four perfect moments: three in Europe (regarding food in Lisbon and Lyon, and a fast train in Italy), and one aboard a train in Queensland, Australia

[Read the Queensland item here]

All aboard
Paradise, November 2023

"Glancing up from my seat aboard the Spirit of Queensland, I can see history through the windows. Landsborough Station is a classic timber railway station, and beyond it is a lovely old pub. Nearby is a neat row of Queenslanders, the traditional colonial-era houses that stand on stumps above termites and floodwater. Inside this train, however, it’s the future. For the Spirit of Queensland is not your old-fashioned sleeper train with separate compartments and bunk beds..."

Taking the Spirit of Queensland sleeper train all the way north from Brisbane to Cairns in Queensland, Australia

[Read the full article here]

Australia’s third great train journey is an epic cruise on wheels
Traveller, 7 October 2023

"Not that we have the Ancient Mariner’s other problem to contend with. There are plenty of drops to drink aboard this very long train, some of them from the Adelaide Hills through which we passed earlier. For the Great Southern is – like its sister trains, The Ghan and the Indian Pacific – an all-inclusive “rail cruise” which includes in its substantial fare all meals, drinks and excursions, as well as transport and accommodation. The day began at Adelaide Parklands Terminal with our train comprising two locomotives pulling 26 carriages at a total length of 663 metres..."

Taking a luxury rail cruise between Adelaide and Brisbane (stopping at the Grampians, Canberra and Coffs Harbour

[Read the full article here]

Must do: the Art Deco guided history walk in Innisfail
Explore, 3 October 2023

"Standing inside Innisfail's historic Shire Hall, I'm haunted by two ghosts from the past - and their names are Geoff and Paul. Geoff is dressed in the outfit of a sugar cane cutter from the era when it was all done by hand: a khaki shirt, brown trousers and broad-brimmed hat. Paul, by contrast, is the epitome of a 1920s townie: striped shirt, bow-tie and rakish cap. Members of the local historical society, they host a new walking tour which explores the history of this tropical Queensland town, including its surprising wealth of art deco architecture. As they explain, there's a reason for that glamorous heritage..."

Learning about the Art Deco heritage of Innisfail, Queensland, Australia

[Read the full article here]

Free tours for visitors to Brisbane
Paradise, April 2023

"'Brisbane is a fascinating place,' says Charlie, the guide on our Greeter’s Choice tour. 'And I love meeting people on my tours, they’re usually on holiday and in a good mood.' It’s a cheerful start to this tour of Brisbane highlights, provided free by the city council..."

Joining a tour uncovering intriguing secrets of the Brisbane CBD in Queensland, Australia

[Read the full article here]

The Ups and Downs of the Cairns Rainforest
Stuff, 21 August 2022

"What goes up must come down, they say, but in Cairns this comes with options. There are two memorable ways to head upward into the beautiful tropical rainforest of the mountain ranges west of the city. An old favourite, the Kuranda Scenic Railway train, creaks and sways its way through dense foliage as it makes its way to or from the tourist town of Kuranda. Further north, the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway conveys visitors above the tree canopy and waterways as its gondolas head over the slopes, also connecting to Kuranda. Which to choose?"

Experiencing nature by by cable car and train from Cairns, Australia

[Read the full article here]

Sustainable Australia: Top Tips to Minimise Your Carbon Footprint and Travel Slow
lonelyplanet.com, 14 April 2022

"Australia is such an enormous nation that the instinct of both locals and visitors is to fly between its many far-flung attractions. But in this era of ‘flight-shame’ and increased environmental awareness, it’s possible to reduce your carbon footprint in Oz by traveling by surface transport, seeing more of the country on the way. Here are a number of possibilities..."

Outlining how to avoid flying by opting for rail, sail, cycling and hiking while visiting Australia.

[Read the full article here]

Holidays in Australia by Rail: Seven Great Places You Can Travel to by Train
Traveller, 7 April 2022

"Along with most other Australians, I have childhood memories of the great Aussie road trip. For our Western Australian family it was usually a drive to a holiday house in Augusta, past Margaret River in the state's southwest. Now in 2022, with spiralling petrol prices, the great Aussie road trip is said to be endangered. To which I say, "So what?" You can have more fun travelling by train at a set fare, and help cut your carbon emissions at the same time. Here are some affordable Aussie train trips to replace those treks from the city by car..."

Describing seven great long-distance rail trips in Australia.

[Read the full article here]

Six of the Best: Cairns Places to Eat
Traveller, 11 February 2022

"With possibly the best view in town, this Cairns dining icon at the tip of Marina Point has expansive views of Trinity Bay and the marina. It's at its most atmospheric at night, with low light and tropical plants accentuating the timber tables and decking. Courtesy of its custom-built Argentinian wood-fired grill, meat is the star of the menu: from the lamb rump with baba ghanoush, to the 300 gram scotch fillet with sauteed green beans..."

Dining at six great restaurants in Cairns, Australia.

[Read the full article here]

Hipster and Street Art Tour Shows the Cool Side of North Queensland City
Traveller, 3 January 2022

"Peter has a tough sell ahead of him on this warm day, as we stand near lush foliage in the city's Shields Street mall. He's just told me Cairns is the second-most hipster city in Australia (the first is apparently the Gold Coast!). Thinking of my inner-city Melbourne 'hood, populated with black-clad beard-wearing tattooed barista types, I can feel my lip curling and my eyebrows rising. What is this man talking about? There isn't a hipster in sight in this tropical paradise."

Taking a walking tour of hipster-friendly shops and art in Cairns, Australia.

[Read the full article here]

Spirits of the Tropics: Cairns' Inventive Distillers and Brewers
The New Daily, 23 October 2021

"'Our aim is to make outstanding gin using local botanicals. We’re not making gin to win awards but for people to enjoy,' Sam Kennis says, of Wolf Lane Distillery. He pauses, then adds, 'We’ve also won several awards.' Fair enough. As usual in Cairns it’s a warm afternoon, but that’s not going to stop me sampling gin along with fellow members of the Cairns Breweries & Distilleries Tour.."

Visiting an array of distilleries and breweries on a tour in Cairns, Australia

[Read the full article here]

Ocean to Outback: the Great Southern Train
Senior Traveller, April 2021

"Food (beautifully prepared and presented) is a major highlight of the train, as is socialising in the bar; and all food and drink is included in the fare. Sadly I met no international visitors among the passengers this year, but we Aussies on board were determined to have a good time. Several told me how delighted they were to be travelling again, and some had even booked the return leg from Adelaide..."

Taking the luxurious Great Southern train from Brisbane via New South Wales to Adelaide, with excursions en route

[Read the full article here]

Australia, This is Us
Senior Traveller, February 2021

"A recent episode of ABC TV's advertising-related show Gruen challenged agencies to make ads encouraging Aussies to travel within Australia. Because at this stage, that’s all we can do. In one of the ads, the voiceover segued from the mighty wonders of nature to exploring local bakeries. And that is exactly one of the things Aussies do when we visit a new country town – we make a beeline for the local bakeries to discover which one is the best. Which made me wonder – what other things do we take an interest in, which might not interest the average overseas tourist?"

Examining the domestic travel habits of Australians; with reference to places in Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia

[Read the full article here]

Fields of Flavour
The Australian
, 8 August 2020

"Standing high on a slope in the Atherton Tablelands, I’m captivated by the view. From a neatly tended garden at a local farm, I’m gazing down upon a series of ridges. Softened by greenery and the misty early morning air, they resemble a green tablecloth flung over the landscape, with curves and folds fading into the distance. I wish as I often do on my travels that my wife Narrelle could be there to share the moment. And this is a part of the world worth sharing..."

Taking a tasty food tour through the Atherton Tablelands west of Cairns, Queensland

[Read the full article here]

An Unusual Rail Journey Through Queensland’s Gulf Savannah
Truly Aus
, 5 May 2020

"Having survived a major flood in 1974, the Gulflander hung on to become a quirky tourist train. What helped it last so long was the railway’s unusual track, whose arched steel sleepers allowed the rails to sink solidly into the ground. This innovation meant the train could keep going in up to 15 centimetres of water, a huge benefit in a region often hit by heavy wet season rains. 'Gold is long gone, but the train survived because it could still get through floods,' says stationmaster and driver Ken..."

Catching a historic train from Normanton to Croydon in remote Queensland, Australia.

[Read the full article here]

The Savannahlander: An Epic and Eccentric Rail Trek
, 26 February 2020

"'We're your train drivers for today, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. So if you don't like us, tough.' It says a lot for the informal vibe of the Savannahlander that this announcement is met with general laughter. It's nearing the end of the train's operating season – it halts over the wet season – so there's only a dozen passengers on board. It's easy to move about in the carriage and make friends, so the journey has a relaxed feel. Not that the Savannahlander is ever a starchy, formal, white-linen-tablecloth kind of experience..."

Joining a memorable rail tour through the Gulf Savannah region of Queensland, Australia.

[Read the full article here]

Outback Tracks
True Blue
, December 2019 - January 2020

"I’m in town to catch a train from the attractive station that’s set within gardens like an old farmhouse. Here I find the Gulflander waiting beneath a corrugated canopy, its engine running and frame vibrating as its crew ready it for departure. Remarkably, this remote railway has been in operation since the late 19th century. Originally laid toward Cloncurry to the south, it was diverted to inland Croydon after the start of that town’s 1885 gold rush..."

Riding aboard the historic Gulflander train in Outback Queensland, Australia.

[Read the full article here]

Six of the Best Suburban Hotels
, 22 October 2019

"In Brisbane's north, this hotel is well known for its live entertainment. If you fancy catching a music gig or live comedy while you're taking a break, this is the place. For a more laid-back excursion, the rural attractions of the Samford Valley are not far away. Dining is bistro-style with a focus on steaks, ribs and seafood, including a crispy-skin barramundi from Humpty Doo in the Northern Territory..."

Highlighting six quality hotels in the suburbs of Australia's major cities, including Brisbane.

[Read the full article here]

Spirit of Queensland Rail Journey: Like Business Class on a Plane
, 4 April 2019

"'WARNING: plastic snakes on station to deter birds.' This yellow-and-black sign at Townsville's railway station is undeniably eye-catching. It strikes me that plastic snakes might also deter humans. I look all around, but I can't find see any fake reptiles. No matter. What's more important is the train waiting for me at the platform. The Spirit of Queensland takes 25 hours to cover the 1681 kilometres from Cairns to Brisbane..."

Riding aboard a modern sleeper train along the Queensland coast.

[Read the full article here]

Here's How to See Australia by Train
lonelyplanet.com, 23 March 2019

"Australia is such a huge country that it seems logical to cross it by plane. But there is another option, one that becomes a memorable holiday in itself: the train. Piecing together connecting routes, it’s possible to take a great rail journey across the continent from savannah to forests to tropics, immersed in ever-changing scenery. Here’s how to do it..."

Describing how to travel around Australia by rail
, from Queensland through NSW, Victoria and South Australia to either Darwin or Perth.

[Read the full article here]

See Remote Queensland's Flora and Fauna Aboard the Gulflander Train
, 5 February 2019

"It's not easy to catch a train from Normanton, a remote town in the Gulf Savannah region of northwest Queensland. For one thing, the Gulflander train only operates once a week. And if you try to catch it at the tail end of the wet season, as I am, you run the risk of being washed out. But we've been given the go-ahead by the track crew, and the landscape looks beautiful as we enter the savannah, dotted with slender dark-trunked trees..."

Riding the memorable "train from nowhere to nowhere", in Outback Queensland, Australia.

[Read the full article here]

The Dinosaurs of Winton
Active Retirees
, December 2018

"I’m glad I made it here, to see the aftermath of a prehistoric event preserved forever in the rock of Lark Quarry. All those millions of years ago, when this was much wetter terrain, herds of two-legged dinosaurs came one night to drink here. Suddenly a huge carnivorous theropod, looking something like a tyrannosaurus, charged the gathered prey. Their fleeing footprints were later covered in sediment, and now they’re visible forever..."

Discovering dinosaur fossils near the Outback town of Winton, Queensland.

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A Rail of a Time
Spring/Summer 2018

"Then it’s time to hop aboard the most impressive train of all: the Indian Pacific. A two-night journey west to Perth includes top-quality dining, stark desert scenery, and dinner in a remote ghost town. It’s a fitting finale to an almost 8000 kilometre rail odyssey..."

Detailing how to catch trains from Far North Queensland through NSW, Victoria and South Australia, all the way to Western Australia.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Spirit of the Outback: into the Wild, Wild West
, 8 September 2017

"The adjoining Tuckerbox restaurant car is similarly colour-coded, but more eccentrically decorated. The dividers between table booths are each topped by metal frames containing livestock brands of famous cattle and sheep stations, such as Bowen Downs, Wellshot and Isis Downs. Above the tables there's a curve of corrugated iron, a reminder of rural Australia's favourite building material. The effect is that of a quirky Outback-themed eatery. Tacky or fun? I'm going with the latter..."

Talking the sleeper train from Brisbane to the attractions of Longreach, Queensland.

[Read the full article here]

Five Remote Corners Which Define Australia's States
, 9 September 2015

"Borders have always fascinated travellers. In some ways that's strange, because they're just invisible, imaginary lines on a map. Even internal borders can be objects of interest, and Australia's more than most. For where each of our state and territory borders meet another one at an angle, 'surveyors' corners' are created, each marked by a pillar at the meeting point..."

Describing the location and appeal of remote state border intersections in Australia.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Australia's UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cultural and Natural Attractions
, 26 November 2014

"What does the Great Barrier Reef have in common with the Great Wall of China, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the ruins of Great Zimbabwe? All four of these places – and over a thousand others mostly without the word 'great' in their titles – are on UNESCO's World Heritage List. According to the United Nations body, this makes their protection the common goal of humanity. So how easy is it for a place to make the list, and how many sites does Australia have in it? ..."

Exploring 19 World Heritage sites in Australia, including natural and cultural wonders.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Gold Coast Dreaming
The Sunday Age
, 12 January 2014

"Our guide, Jade, is standing under a pandanus tree as he tells us the story of the giant named Jabreen. Featured in a Dreamtime legend of the indigenous Yugambeh people of Queensland's Gold Coast, Jabreen is said to have swum in the ocean off Burleigh Heads after feasting on wild honey. After his swim, he lay down to rest on Burleigh Mountain (Jellurgal), which grew around the giant as he slept and captured him. He woke and tried to break free, but Jellurgal won out..."

Joining a tour of Aboriginal history and culture on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

After the Party: Recharging in Queensland's Gold Coast Hinterland
www.lonelyplanet.com, 26 November 2013

"Sunburnt and exhausted after partying it up on Australia's Gold Coast? That’s not surprising. This sprawling city stretching along the Pacific coast south of Brisbane is Australia’s answer to both Las Vegas and Miami, combining gambling, nightclubs and dining with perfect swimming beaches. Luckily, the Gold Coast has a calm, refreshing twin to its party-town hedonism: the Gold Coast Hinterland..."

Profiling the region inland from Australia's Gold Coast.
Not available for republication.

[Read the full article here]

Beachside Bliss
Air Mail, Summer 2011
(Air Australia inflight magazine)

"'All the world’s a stage,' wrote William Shakespeare, but he might as well have said 'All the world’s a beach.' Through Asia, Australia and the Pacific there are beaches of every type, hosting every attraction. Whether you’re after a rest, a meal, a party or a spot of retail action, there’s a sandy shore out there for you. Here’s a selection of the best..."

Detailing a number of fine beaches, including one in Queensland.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

Paradise Amid the Palms
Medical Observer, 24 September 2010

"There’s a sign on the beach urging me to swim between the flags. Beneath it are three icons, depicting a crocodile, a shark and a stinger. For extra excitement, the stinger is depicted with its tentacles wrapped around a swimmer’s legs. The phrase 'may be present in these waters' concludes this little warning. It’s not the most relaxing of welcomes, but Palm Cove’s local authorities certainly have my attention."

Exploring the tropical attractions of Palm Cove, Queensland.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

Flashpack Chic
Medical Observer, 17 September 2010

"When staying in Brisbane, the lively Fortitude Valley area makes a good alternative to the central business district. As a dining destination it’s packed with restaurants; there are also several live music venues. With all that in mind, this hyper-modern hostel is a good option for those wanting to keep the budget under control while enjoying Brisbane’s after-dark distractions."

Detailing upmarket 'flashpacker' hostels across Australia and New Zealand.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

Villages of BrisVegas
The Sunday Age, 20 June 2010

"Finally I reach Fortitude Valley and mount the stairs to music venue The Troubadour. It’s a long, slightly shabby space with a mellow doorman and a laidback clientele, fitting neatly with the interior’s antlers, gilt-framed prints, mirrors and softly glowing orange lampshades. I sink into a comfy chair, sip a beer, and smile...'"

Investigating the diverse inner-city districts of Brisbane, Queensland.
Available for republication (print only).

Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Have Blog, Will Travel
The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 September 2009

"Ben Southall may officially have the Best Job in the World, having been appointed Island Caretaker by Tourism Queensland after a worldwide search that garnered enormous publicity, but he faces the same challenges of anyone writing a travel blog. How often should I post? How long should it be? What would interest my readers? Should I add images and links? And what does it take to please some people?"

Discovering whether travelling and blogging really do mix.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]
Queensland's Alcatraz
Herald Sun, 24 October 2008

"Our group moves from green pastures to the remains of prison buildings, down grassy lanes past grazing cows, hopping wallabies and a small children’s cemetery, to large stone ruins of walls without roofs. They look like something from an ancient city and despite its violent past, there’s something wistful about the island. If there are ghosts, they seem benign."

Delving into the prison history of St Helena Island, near Brisbane.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

Puttin' on the Glitz
Medical Observer, 10 October 2008

"Forget the downtown district; I’ve been told by locals in the know that Brisbane’s true gems are its inner-city suburbs. Mostly former working-class suburbs that were home to hard-working residents, bustling local pubs and factories, they’ve been transformed in recent years into mellow locales with cool cafes, quirky shops and just enough industrial-edged character to keep things interesting."

Exploring the cool inner-city neighbourhoods of Brisbane, Queensland.

Things That Go Bump in the Night
Jetstar Magazine, October 2008

"Lisa Senescall has had her own eerie experiences while leading the Haunted Brisbane Tour. 'I tell a story about a young newspaper boy who was killed in a tram accident. Then, when I went through the locked gate to the site one night, there was an old newspaper there - with a date of 1921.'"

Delving into the paranormal via ghost tours across Australia. 

Six in the City
Jetstar Magazine, July 2008

"It’s dark, and our group is standing in the grand 19th century Toowong Cemetery, small torches our only illumination. Our guide laughs lightly. As she leads our group of all ages through the grounds, we hear stories about the famous Brisbane celebrities interned here, and strange nocturnal occurrences including roaming statues, a ghostly weeping widow, and a spectral poker game in a crypt."

Revealing six quirky tours that cast Brisbane in a different light. 

Brisbane Beyond the Glitz
The Dominion Post, 13 May 2008

"Brisneyland! Brissie! BrisVegas! Brisbane seems to attract more nicknames than any other Australian city. In their typically relaxed, cheerful way, however, Brisbanites have often picked up these epithets and adopted them for their own use. The BrisVegas tag is now happily used by locals to symbolise their city’s mix of sub-tropical sparkle and urban energy."

A wander through the intriguing inner-city suburbs of Queensland's capital city.

[Read the full article here]

More travel writing: 
Australia: NSW & ACT | SA & NT | TAS | VIC | WA
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| Africa & Middle East | Rail
Travel: Queensland

I'm a member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers. This page contains examples of my travel writing, organised by location or topic.

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If you'd like to republish one of these pieces, or would like a new piece written about the same location, please get in touch via the contacts below:

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