Open for Locals

Great news!  The Savannahlander is ready to roll again (bad train pun intended).  Today we set off on the rail for the first time in months – please check our facebook page for news about our first post-covid trip as it happens.

As a local to Cairns this is a great opportunity to get out and about before the crowds discover the amazing Savannah country.  We are quite flexible in our travel arrangements – so as a local if you would like to meet the train and travel for part of the journey or make it part of your own outback holiday please get in touch with us.

The Savanahlander will be departing Cairns every week on a Wednesday morning and heading up the Kuranda Range, overnighting in Almaden and then travelling to Forsayth on Thursday via Mt Surprise.  On Friday we return via a lunch at Einasleigh and overnight in Mt Surprise before returning to Cairns on Saturday. 

If you are planning on getting away this school holidays why not join us for the whole 4 days or even a section.  We are even able to pick up and set down outside of station limits by arrangement.

Our website is up and ready to start accepting bookings – but please understand that there is currently a limited selection of travel packages available as some of our partner organisations are still finalising their covid-safe operations.

The Savannahlander is operating under and approved Covid-Safe operations plan that includes reduced carrying capacity, additional hygiene measures and changes to our systems and services.  Please check our website for details at savannahlander.com.au/covid/

Current Rail tour packages that can be booked

Particularly as the industry is adapting to a meet the new challenges in providing safe and memorable outback experience, not all tour packages will be ready for booking as we restart outback tourism in Far North Queensland. Below are a list of tour packages that are ready to book now.

We are expecting a lot of demand and there are strict limits on some of the activities and tours for our passengers. Bookings and placements will be allocated strictly in the order that they arrive – so book today to secure your place on this uniquely Australian outback rail holiday.

View our travel packages that can be booked online here.

Rail Only Fares – Great for Cyclists!

Yes! We are happy to provide you a rail only fare if you are interested in organising complimentary travel to meet the Savannahlander.  Popular options are:

  • Ride your bicycle to Almaden, Dimbulah or Mareeba on a Saturday morning and catch the Savannahlander back to Cairns.
  • Take the Savannahlander from Cairns to Mareeba, Dimbulah or Almaden on a Wednesday morning and ride back to Cairns.

To book your rail only fare – please contact our office directly for details.

Services to Restart

With the recent announcement by the QLD premier that travel restrictions being eased we have been a part of a larger community of tour and transport operators who have been working to interpret the new guidelines to ensure the safety of our staff and passengers.

While the accelerated easing of restrictions has been welcomed, the planning required to start booking passengers on all of our tour packages takes a little more time.

We will be resuming weekly services on the Savannahlander on the 10th June, however this will be for staff training purposes so that we can test our new Covid operating procedures. Passenger services are scheduled to resume as of the 17th June and will continue weekly until the last service departing Cairns on the 25th November.

Bookings will be opened on June 10th for all tours that are available under the new Covid-Safe operating plans.

As part of our services resuming there are a few important changes for all passengers, regardless of when they have booked with us:

  1. Not all tour packages are available for booking at this time – please refer to the website for available packages which will be updated as options become available
  2. We will happily make changes to your booking if new options become available with no administrative cost – you will be invoiced just the difference in cost of the tour packages (ie. you may add a tour when/if it becomes available and just pay the difference)
  3. For those with current bookings your tour will proceed as originally booked, unless you hear from us specifically about any changes.
  4. We will start to take bookings via our website on the 10th June for a selection of tours.

As with so many businesses throughout Queensland, we are responding to a rapidly changing environment and we hope that you understand that some details may change. Please check our website for the latest information.

Our website will have the relevant booking forms for the tours that are available and we will process completed bookings as they are received. Please note that any bookings made via telephone will be processed in the same order as those received online.

2020 Standby / Updates List

If your preferred date or tour is not available, why not join our 2020 Stand By list? It’s FREE and all you need to give us is your name and email address.

If you are unsure about the situation regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and how that affects your travel plans – this is the perfect list to sign up to as we will broadcast to this list with information regarding schedules and availability.

Use the form below to sign up for our 2020 standby list. You will be sent an email to confirm your subscription. As soon as we have some new availabilities due to cancellations or releases from our suppliers – we will let this email list know FIRST.

Please note that we simply broadcast out to the group and the first to reply will be offered the places, we do not manage a “queue” or numbered waiting list.

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2021 Advance Bookings

With the bookings for the 2020 season well under way, the railmotors nearly ready to head out for our first trip of the year on the 4th March.

We are also getting enquiries for those interested in our 2021 bookings – and it’s great that some of our passengers are so organised!

Unfortunately we are not able to take bookings just yet – but if you would like to give us your name and email address we will email you when we open the bookings so that you can be among the first to secure your place on the outback rail tour of a lifetime.

Just visit https://savannahlander.com.au/2021-advance-booking-list/ to register.

Christmas Office Hours

With 2019 drawing to a close, the team at the Savannahlander would like to wish you all the best for a safe and happy Christmas.

Our super drivers Leigh, Wil and Anthony will all be having a well-earned break over the shut-down period and will return to their roles driving and guiding the Savannahlander in 2020.

Our first trip for 2020 is scheduled for the 4th March and we will continue our established weekly schedule until the last trip on the 25th November 2020.

Our offices will be closed from the 20th December and re-open on the 6th January but you can still book online at https://savannahlander.com.au/departure-dates/ . Bookings will be processed in the order that they are received – so with dates starting to fill already it will pay to get in early!

Once again – best wishes for the holidays and we will see you in the new year.

Welcome Sandra!

With the 2019 season coming to a close, the rails will be a little quieter for the next few months and our drivers can take a well-deserved break. However in the office we are as busy as every getting things ready for the 2020 season! As part of this, we would like to welcome Sandra, the newest member of the team at the Savannahlander.

“Born and bred” in Far North Queensland, Sandra is familiar with the area and has been on the Savannahlander before – apparently it was so good that she has agreed to work with us!

So if you are booking with us or calling the office there is a good chance that you will have the opportunity to say hello.

2020 Bookings are now OPEN

After a fantastic year we are happy to announce that the 2020 season bookings are now available to be made online. While the itineraries have been kept similar we have made some adjustments to the way you can book your tour and to the room type/fare classes.

You can see all the tours and book them via our tours page on the website.

Our schedule will be the same as this year, we will run 39 weeks of the year starting in the first week of March (4th) until the last trip of the year on the 25th November.

There will be some slight changes to the tour packages available, such as:

  • Accommodation at the Undara Lava Lodge in the converted railway carriages will only be available on tours departing :
    • 30th March / 1st April
    • 6th / 8th April
    • 27th / 29th April
    • 14th /16th September
    • 12th / 14th October
    • 19th / 21st October
  • Three different accommodation options will now be available on the Savannah Explorer tour package
  • A new pricing structure will see tours in June, July and August (peak season) increase in price, but only slightly in the off-peak season.
  • Our Single Supplements will be raised in the peak season.
  • A new fare class “Happy to Share” will allow solo travellers to travel throughout the year on a greatly reduced single supplement (or none at all) if they are willing to be matched with another traveller of the same gender in a twin-share room or 2 room cabin.

Job Vacancy at the Savannahlander

Are you organised, have a keen attention to detail and have that super ability to answer the phone with a smile that our customers can hear in your voice ?

Well – the Savannahlander may just be the right place for you!

We are hiring an administration support person for our offices. This is filling an existing position that has recently become vacant with a slightly expanded role to complement planned changes in our business systems.

Key Details

  • Please do not telephone the office for questions or additional details (we are short staffed without you already!).
  • Please direct all queries and applications to employment@savannahlander.com.au
  • You may address your application to the Business Development Manager, Robert Rutten.
  • A full Position Description is available online here.
  • Please view the information on our website to familiarise yourself with our product and operation.
  • Your application should include your resume with a cover letter.
  • Please email your application no later than the 21st October, however please note that we are motivated to hire and will accept early applications and may start interviews with successful applicants prior to this date.
  • All applications will receive a response by the 23rd October.

Limited staff until the 19th

Hi – if you are trying to get in touch with us we really would like to hear from you! This is just to let you know that due to some staff unexpectedly requiring to travel and existing leave commitments that the office will be “lightly” staffed from September 13th until the 19th. It’s just a few days – if you can’t get in touch with us someone will get back to you after the 19th.

Cairns Local Holiday

This Friday the 19th July is a local holiday in Cairns. While the Savannahlander will be running as per it’s normal schedule, the office will be closed until Monday the 22nd July. Sorry for any inconvenience, please don’t worry about any invoices and due dates as we will automatically roll them over to next week. Have a great weekend!