On Tuesday the 24th September we will be attending a black tie dinner during which presentations are to be made by the major sponsers, Telstra and the Australian Financial Review (newspaper). Obviously the family is very excited about the event so we have taken a well earned break and embarked on an adventure to Sydney for a few days, with the award night being the highlight of our visit.
Our trip starts on Saturday....
We had decided to take a train to Sydney. The cost of a return trip for four on the XPT from Brisbane to Sydney for two adults and two children was Au$432 .
After an early 5am start we left our home by taxi at 6am - arriving at Brisbane's Roma street station at about 7am... It was a beautiful sunny Brisbane day, even though the station at the "big smoke" (ie a city) was very poorly sign posted... as we waited to board the XPT (Express Passenger Transport) train, we watched as a historical society steam engine tour departed for an excursion to Toowoomba - well west of the global office.
The train started its 1000 kilometre journey just after 7.30 am - by going over the Brisbane river. In this photo you can see the "big smoke" (Brisbane) in the background.
Soon we had left civilisation behind us and were travelling south towards the New South Wales border. The breakfast served on the XPT train was quite good value with a hot meal costing Au$6.50. The kids (Heather and Alex) were soon settling in with the young Internet kid (Alex) soon feeling the effects of an early start - drifting off into a short and restless sleep.
The scenery was quite fantastic, we travelled inland west of Lamington National Park (which overlooks the Gold Coast). The train climbed steadily as we reached the borders of Queensland and New South Wales.
Soon we were approaching Grafton enjoying the vista of the majestic Clarence river which snaked its way alongside the track for some considerable distance.
Then we entered into banana country as we approached Coff's Harbour after a steep decline through some very scenic countryside.
Moving on we encountered a few showers of rain at Macksville in the heart of nowhere... the mountainous scenery as we snaked alongside a large river between Wingham and Gloucester was magnificent... as was the sunset.
By the time we arrived at Sydney central station just after 9.30pm the kids were exhausted and had to be half-dragged to the taxi rank where we encountered the longest taxi queue that I have ever seen and ever wish to see again. It took us a stunning forty five minutes to catch a taxi, and when our moment arrived our taxi was snatched by a young woman jumping the queue.... we caught the next taxi arriving at Toongabbi (where we are staying with family) close to midnight.