I've travelled several times on all three trains that ply the 1600Km route from Brisbane to Cairns.
Queenslander class attached to the Sunlander train, around $850 each is the same standard of twinette sleepers as the Sunlander, and by far the most luxurious train to travel on, indeed its by far the most luxurious way, bar none of travelling from Brisbane to Cairns.
They do give you a complimentary dressing gown, slippers and a very good toiletries bag. Queenslander class is never crowded and all meal sittings in the linen/silver service dining car are at the same time. Meals are nothing short of astounding, cooked on the train by renowned chefs and plenty of it, with quality to match. You'll be treated like royalty as the train slowly glides along, with light entertainment usually in the form of an acoustic guitarist for company. Alcohol and reasonably priced cocktails are extra. Queenslander class is locked off from the rest of the Sunlander and comprises the first three or four cars of this normally 17+ carriage train.
The tilt train is an OK journey to Cairns and is about 6 hours less travel time than the Sunlander due to its higher travelling speeds, particularly south of Rockhampton, and where its day time its a nice daylight journey, however even though the 'Business class' seats are like arm chairs to travel in, they are still chairs at the end of your 24 hour journey.
Bear in mind, the QR network is 3’ 6” gauge, so the fact that the tilt train reaches 100 MPH on straight stretches south of Rockhampton is in itself something of a wonder.
You can ‘plug-in’ on the tilt train and in the sleepers and internet access is ok for virtually the whole 1000 mile journey, something that cannot be said about aeroplanes and flying. On long distance trains, particularly the Sunlander, people always talk to each other...it must have something to do with the time seemingly slowing down, the addition of alcohol, things of interest passing by the windows, and the general demeanour of passengers who have taken the time to 'smell the roses' on their journey, and have thought about it, and made a conscious decision about it.
Of course you can get from Brisbane to Cairns much faster in a plane and the Economy class part of the Sunlander has many aged pensioners on their free travel vouchers, if you have the time, and you can 'slow down' see Queensland, preferably by the The Sunlander train in a sleeper, or the over-the-top luxury of the award winning Queenslander section of the Sunlander and you shouldn't leave disappointed.
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