Eclipse chasers already in Australia’s far-north were on Sunday staking out the best spots in and around Cairns to watch this week’s total solar eclipse.

Many of the 60,000 expected in the tropical part of Queensland for Wednesday’s total solar eclipse were still motoring up on the east coast after finding plane tickets were all gone.

“I’m flying up tomorrow morning and I believe my plane doesn’t have a single spare seat,” Queensland Tourism spokeswoman Kerry Anderson said.

The moderately lucky were not on the road or taking a flight but aboard the comfy Sunlander train service that chugs the 1,800 kilometres between Brisbane and Cairns.

The very luckiest, around 5,000 of them, were aboard six cruise ships and private yachts moored near the upmarket Port Douglas resort town.

All were hoping that weather forecasters were spot on and clouds would no blot out Wednesday’s eclipse.

Three charter flights were coming in from Japan for a week of events linked to a natural phenomenon visible in a 200-kilometre band that crosses the top of eastern Australia and stretches into the Coral Sea.

The moon takes around an hour to pass across the face of the sun.

There will be around 2 minutes of total eclipse.

Some among the 47,000 entrants disappointed by last week’s last-minute cancellation of the New York City Marathon have taken consolation in being among the field of 2,000 signed up for the Solar Eclipse Marathon.

The race begins in Port Douglas and rather than a starter’s gun, the signal to begin the 42.2-kilometre run will be Wednesday’s second dawn.

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