It’s back on track and ROAD TRIP’N has boarded one of Queensland’s most quintessential rail journeys, the Mary Valley Rattler as we chug our way through some of the Sunshine Coast hinterland’s most picturesque countryside.
Through 46 kms of the scenic Mary Valley dotted with iconic rural towns and villages, this is an ideal destination to experience the friendly rural and laid-back atmosphere of country living. As we pass over rail crossings that span the Mary River past country homesteads, we are greeted with friendly waves from the locals who appear only too happy to have us in the Mary Valley and sharing their little piece of nirvana.
The Mary Valley Rattler is a historic rail experience which operates a fleet of steam and diesel locomotives and carriages each with their own interesting story to be told. Our on-board hosts are just a walking encyclopedia of local knowledge of the historical Rattler and the Valley that it travels through. We hear stories of a train that was once used to transport food and supplies to the gold miners scattered throughout the Mary Valley who with a glint in their eyes set up mining camps as they searched for their elusive fortunes.
Make sure you also leave plenty of time to explore the restored Gympie Station, one of Queensland Railways largest timber and most stylish railway buildings of the 20th century.
This elaborate timber structure also houses an historic display, gift shop and Platform No.1 Cafe offering food, drinks and coffee with dine in and takeaway options. Note: Food and drinks are allowed in the carriages, but you are asked to take all your rubbish when you leave.
With a blast of the whistle and the unmissable chug, chug, chug of the steam engine the locomotive roars into life and for all those onboard our nostalgic country jaunt is under way. Our round trip starts in Gympie at the old Gympie Railway Station, then travels through the Mary Valley crossing the Mary River, negotiating tunnels and gentle hills as we pass through Dagun station before reaching our destination in the quant little town of Amamoor.
As we alight from the train in Amamoor, we are greeted by some of the friendliest town folk who have set up a small market in the shade of the railway station. Browse awhile if you are the market to buy some local souvenir’s and mementos of your visit.
There is also plenty of time for pics as you can climb aboard the locomotive and get the low down on all things “Rattler” from the driver and his off -sider. Take a wander round Amamoor with a visit to the General Store and grab one of the best milkshakes (highly recommended), or an ice-cream, in the area. Walk up the road a little further and you’ll find a quaint little café serving delicious snacks and coffee.
Every journey has a return trip and you wonder how they are going to turn this mighty locomotive around. I was absolutely astonished to see the engine with its steam hissing and smoke belching from the chimney stack as if it was protesting aloud that it didn’t really want to go home, turn on a restored turntable as the operators then hooked up the carriages (all aboard) to retrace our footstep’s on our return trip to Gympie.
A ride on the Mary Valley Rattler (click here for all your pricing, ticket and departure information) is rediscovering the magic of yesteryear. It’s a breathtaking half day adventure for all ages with plenty for everyone to see and do. If you are holidaying on the Sunshine Coast, the journey to the Gympie railway station is only about 1 hours drive from the Sunshine Coast Airport or about 2 hours drive north from Brisbane.
There is undoubtedly a lot more to see and do if visiting the Mary Valley region. It’s an area of magnificent waterways, music, food and cultural festivals and don’t forget the Mary Valley Rattler. If you would like to plan a longer stay and need some extra information on the How, When and Why click on the link: Things to do in Mary Valley (click here)