The lush farmlands of the Sunshine Coast's Mary Valley are set to resound to the rhythmic chug of steam trains once again with the relaunch of the historic Mary Valley Rattler in March 2018.
The revitalised Mary Valley Rattler – whose heritage dates back over 100 years – will provide access to one of the lesser-known tourism areas of the Sunshine Coast, but one that is rich in food producers, historic villages, verdant landscapes and some of the region's best adventure travel activities including horse riding, kayaking, trekking and cycling trails.
The Rattler's journey commences at Gympie, and after crossing the Mary River, negotiates an abundance of curves, gradients and bridges to pass through small country villages and picturesque countryside. Alternatively, you can hop aboard either in Amamoor for a one way or return journey. For a full Mary Valley Rattler experience, join the afternoon run from Gympie as there is a stop at Dagun Station, where you can meet the locals at the station markets and enjoy a cheese and wine tasting.
Initially, the Mary Valley Rattler will operate on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
"In the immortal word of Johnny Cash "I hear the train a coming" said Mary Valley Rattler project manager, Peter Blashki.
"Everything from ticket design and creating a booking system to designing the passenger experience and preparing the narrative, the story we tell passengers about Gympie and the Mary Valley during the trip.
"The food experience is another thing and we're working with the Gympie Gold program to showcase food from the Mary Valley, including at the restaurant at Old Gympie Station.
"It's not just a train ride, but an experience of life here and a story we need to tell visitors," he said.
Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said that the Rattler would help put the Sunshine Coast's Mary Valley back on the tourism map.
"This is one of the most beautiful parts of Queensland, with rich landscapes, outstanding food producers and historic towns, and having a tourist drawcard such as the 'Rattler' will provide major tourism impetus for the area," said Mr Latchford.
"The aim of the project is to give people easier and better access to the region, which offers so many ecologically rich experiences. It will help reconnect people to a hidden gem".