The Gulflander is affectionately known as the train line from nowhere to nowhere as it remains the last Queensland Rail line isolated from the rest of the rail network, and the only one still measured in miles! The Gulflander is more than just a rail journey. It’s a working tribute to the pioneers of the Gulf of Carpentaria - a trip filled with history, heritage sites, flora and fauna, and stories of the Savannah’s colourful characters.
The heritage-listed Normanton to Croydon railway line in the Gulf Savannah region of northern Queensland was completed in 1891 featuring a unique steel sleeper system custom-built to combat floods and termites. Steam trains initially operated four days a week to coincide with the arrival of the mail steamer into the river port of Normanton. Later, special trains ran for picnic events and race meetings. The last steam train ran in 1929, followed by railmotors.
The Gulflander has become a tourism icon, taking visitors through the countryside most people would never see.
Travelling through wetlands, grasslands, and the arid Savannah in the quaint 1950 railmotor known as ‘The Tin Hare,’ the Gulflander is an adventure like no other. This nostalgic rail journey is the perfect way to discover North Queensland’s Gulf Savannah, a landscape of remarkable beauty and rich history.
As the train rattles through Critters Camp, you’ll hear the history of the 16-mile turning angle built in 1891 and the story of how this little spot got its unusual name. The Haydon Mail Stop is next and as the name suggests, the train will stop briefly to deliver mail to the surrounding cattle stations.
You’ll call into Blackbull for refreshments as travellers have been doing since 1890. Timber Cutters is an abandoned timber camp that supplied hardwood for steam locomotives while the interestingly named ’80 Miles 35 Chains Siding’ was renamed in the 1980s to Ellavale, a nearby cattle property.
The Croyden Railway Station was built in 1891. Two storms demolished the historic building in 1969. A new station building opened in 2005 and is a modern version that retains the charm of the original and remains a pleasant place to land or take off from!
The Gulflander is more of an adventure than a train ride - a true legend of the outback. Take this intriguing journey with us. We’d love to show you this truly extraordinary part of Queensland.
The region is mostly dry yet filled with spectacular scenery all year through. Expect to see rich colours of the outback, brilliant blue skies, ancient rock formations carved out by wind and water, thick tea tree and paperbark vegetation, banksia, acacia, casuarina, and eucalyptus, wide grasslands, and open woodlands on your trip through the outback.
The Gulflander was originally built to connect the gold fields of Croyden to the once-bustling port of Normanton. Today, this scenic rail journey provides the ultimate way to visit the remote and rustic landscape of Queensland’s isolated yet fascinating Gulf Savannah country.
The Gulflander rail motor pulling its three carriages travels in both directions – Normanton to Croyden and back again. Leaving historic Normanton, your qualified guides will talk about points of interest along the way, often stopping the train so you can snap a photo.
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