REVIEW: Taking the Tilt Train from Brisbane to Bundaberg – with Kids!

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If you are interested in knowing what it is like to take the tilt train from Brisbane to Bundaberg (with kids), well we have done it so we can let you know!

Travelling from Brisbane to Bundaberg is a pretty easy journey on the train. In this article we outline which trains in Queensland do the journey from Brisbane to Bundaberg. Because we took the journey ourselves in November 2020, we can give you an honest, detailed overview of the trip and tell you what you need to know to make the trip on the train to Bundaberg smooth!

We found out about cheap train tickets as well as all the best things to do in Bundaberg with kids. We absolutely LOVED our trip to Bundaberg on the Tilt Train and I am sure you will too!

What trains run from Brisbane to Bundaberg?

There are actually 3 trains that run from Brisbane to Bundaberg – and they travel every day of the week. They include:

Spirit of Queensland

Spirit of Queensland train

The Spirit of Queensland combines modern seating and entertainment options with the charm of long-distance rail travel. Contemporary, comfortable and designed for relaxation. This train travels all the way from Brisbane to Cairns five times a week.
 
The Spirit of Queensland redefines the modern rail travel experience and is comfortable and convenient.

Where does the Spirit of Queensland go?

The main stops for the Spirit of Queensland train are:
So wherever you’re heading, the Spirit of Queensland will have you relaxed from the moment you step aboard to the time you arrive at your destination.

Spirit of the Outback

The Spirit of the Outback train departs Brisbane, Roma Street station twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturday.

Where does the Spirit of the Outback go?

The journey from Brisbane to Bundaberg on this train takes about 6 hours and stops at the following stations:
  • Brisbane (Roma St)
  • Caboolture
  • Nambour
  • Cooroy
  • Gympie North
  • Maryborough West
  • Bundaberg (then on to Longreach)

The Tilt Train from Brisbane to Bundaberg

Brisbane to Bundaberg Tilt Train

We took the Tilt Train from Brisbane’s Roma Street station to Bundaberg. I reckon it is easily the best train to travel between Brisbane and Bundaberg. It runs from Brisbane to Bundaberg or Brisbane to Rockhampton where you can sit back, enjoy a smooth and comfortable ride and avoid the traffic on route.

The Tilt Train takes just 4 and a half hours to travel from Brisbane to Bundaberg and connects passengers with some of Queensland’s most iconic tourist destinations along the Queensland coastline.

Where does the Tilt Train go?

On our Tilt Train journey we stopped at these station on our way to Bundaberg:

  • Brisbane (Roma St)
  • Caboolture
  • Landsborough
  • Nambour
  • Cooroy
  • Gympie North
  • Maryborough West
  • Howard
  • Bundaberg (it sometimes goes on to Rockhampton)

If you are on the Tilt Train that travels on to Rockhampton, it will take an additional 3 and a half hours!

Arrival and check-in at Roma Street

Brisbane to Bundaberg Tilt Train

Upon arrival at platform 10 at Roma Street, we checked in our luggage, where they weighed our bags. Because there is only two of us, and we were only going for the weekend, we managed to only have one checked bag and one carry-on bag. You don’t have to check in your bags… you can take them on the train with you. We took ours with us on the train on the return journey!

They added some bag tags labelled “Bundaberg” onto our backpack and directed us where to wait on the platform for carriage B.

Our train arrived approximately 15 minutes prior to departure, where it loaded the luggage, stocked up food supplies and the staff got ready for the journey.

What is the carriage and seats like on the Tilt Train?

We were allowed to board almost immediately and find our seats. Because we were travelling during Covid restrictions, there were only a few people in each carriage. Each person was allocated a window seat (including each person in a family group) and there was no one sitting in the row in front or behind you! So you got lots of space.

Brisbane to Bundaberg Tilt Train

The Tilt Train is a day service running between Brisbane – Bundaberg/Rockhampton.

As you can see in the photo above, the Tilt Train seats are much like regular train seats. There are no sleeper carriages or special sleeper beds/seats on the Tilt Train. So basically they are all the same – forward facing seats that slightly recline. All seats have USB charging ports in the arm of the seat as well as a port to plug in your (supplied) headphones to watch the overhead TVs or listen to music stations It is a bit like a plane seat. They also have tray tables in the back of each seat for you to use!

There is free wifi too… but is has a cap on how much you get. Master 13 got to watch about 4 episodes of a 30 minute show, then it ran out. I used my phone for most of the journey just fine. So if you have kids who want to watch anything, I would recommend downloading it at home before the journey.

Brisbane to Bundaberg Tilt Train

What is the food like on the train?

Unlike some of the other long-distance trains in QLD, the Tilt Train train tickets do not include food. However, after the train departed and the train staff had checked our train tickets, a staff member came around with a trolley, much like a plane trolley, with snacks and drinks.

Soon after the trolley finished its rounds, there was an announcement that the galley would be open so you could buy dinner or lunch (depending on the time of day you were travelling) from there – in carriages B and E. There was a range on food on offer:

Main meals – $9:

  • Roast Beef
  • Roast Pork
  • 3 Cheese Tortellini
  • Butter chicken with rice

Lighter options – $4 – $5:

  • Meat pies
  • Sausage rolls
  • Spinach and ricotta rolls
  • as well as some other smaller items

There was also alcohol served along with soft drinks. As this is a licensed venue, you are not allowed to consume your own alcoholic drinks on the train.

Looking after you on the rails

Brisbane to Bundaberg Tilt Train

We found all the staff at the stations and on board to be very friendly. They come through periodically collecting rubbish and seemed happy to chat and answer questions about the journey. The scenery is also beautiful and varied – I loved seeing the Glasshouse Mountains and getting this photo above of Mt Tibrogargan.   

The train was mostly smooth but did shake a little as it picked up speed after Nambour. Nothing major, but it was noticeable. (I have been on Japan’s shinkansen, so I definitely know what a super smooth train journey feels like!) 😉

Arriving at Bundaberg station

tilt train Brisbane to Bundaberg station

After around 4 and half-ish hours we pulled into Bundaberg station. For us, this was the last stop for our train today.  There is an announcement made about 5 minute before arriving so you know to get ready to move towards the door to disembark. They also tell you which side of the train you will find the platform. You don’t need to rush!

Our checked bag was off-loaded at the back of the train and we just walked over to collect it. Bundaberg station is accessible with ramps for wheelchairs.

It really was a super easy train journey!

We were able to walk from the train station to our hotel in the Bundaberg CBD (more about that in another article, later) and checked in to enjoy our weekend in Bundy!

Get Out with Kids Tip: We hired a car from Bundaberg Car Hire for $60 a day including full insurance.

RELATED: We have also done a Brisbane to Bundaberg road trip!

Bundaberg to Brisbane on the Tilt Train

After spending a fun-packed weekend checking out all the things to do in Bundaberg with kids, we were ready to take our train journey back home to Brisbane. The train arrived into Bundaberg from Rockhampton a little late (about 30 minutes) at about 10.30am on Monday morning. We kept our bag with us this time and hopped on board to start our trip back to Brisbane.

Our tickets were checked and this time the QR staff had TWO police offers in tow, checking for tickets and valid concessions cards. (Later in the journey I chatted to a staff member who told me they found a person on our train who had a warrant out for their arrest, as well as another person who was travelling on a invalid ticket!)

After our tickets were checked, the snack trolley came through followed by a staff member taking orders for lunch. Once again, you could also go to the galley to buy meals and drinks.

Upon arrival in Brisbane – the train’s final destination – we got off the train and all the luggage was again placed on the platform for you to grab. We had ours with us, so we were able to leave straight away. 

Get Out with Kids Tip: On the day you travel on QR long-distance train, you get free suburban train travel too!

How to book your seat on the Tilt Train

It is important to book your seats as far in advance as you can manage it. They DO get booked up and with Covid, they are running on a very limited capacity!

Jump on to the Queensland Rail website to check which train and dates suit your journey or give them a call to book directly with them on 1800 872 467.

How much is a Tilt Train Brisbane to Bundaberg ticket?

Like just about everything in life, the best options come when you plan ahead. Booking in advance will secure you the best priced tickets:

  • Adult – from $53.40 one-way using the B-Quick fare option
  • Child (ages 4 – 15 inclusive) – from $44.50 one-way using the B-Quick fare option
  • Child aged 0 – 3 are free of charge

Concession/pensioner Tilt Train prices – $25

Pensioners and concession card holders can travel on long-distances trains in Queensland for $25 per trip.

Here is how:

Queensland pensioners, including concession card holders are entitled to four entitlements (or vouchers) per calendar year aboard Queensland Rail Travel long-distance services, including the Tilt Train. How this works is that a one-way trip from Brisbane to Bundaberg uses one entitlement/voucher. This means that a return tip (eg. Brisbane-Bundaberg-Brisbane) will use TWO entitlements/vouchers. These renew every January as long as the person is still a concession card holder.

What’s more is that a parent who holds a concession card can also take their children with them on these long-distance train journeys as long as they are named on the concession card. 

There is a $25 per adult/per journey charge. This is the ONLY charge and is an administration fee only.

For clarity, a Brisbane-Bundaberg-Brisbane trip will use TWO entitlement/vouchers per adult and cost $50 ONLY which is the admin fee. All children who are named on the concession card will travel for free on this journey when travelling with the parent/carer holding the concession/pension card. So if a parent has three kids and they are all named on their concession card, they all travel free when travelling with that parent.

Get Out with Kids Tip: If you have a pension or concession card you can ONLY book over the phone, not online.

This is an excellent way to ensure that not only our seniors are able to travel to see their family, but also that those with low incomes are be able to enjoy cheaper holiday options with their children.

Tilt Train between Brisbane and Bundaberg

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