Australia is a big and beautiful country, full of natural beauty with winding rivers, white sandy beaches, lush tropical rainforests, red deserts, valleys, mountains, and native flora and fauna that make the rest of the world envious (as well as slightly scared but that’s on them). And, the best way to see it all is through a lifetime of travel. Or, one of Australia’s four spectacular train trips.
Cross-country travellers can go from coast to coast through varying regions and climates in the comfort of their climate-controlled carriage. There’s also ample legroom, sleeper carriages and reclining seats, all-inclusive dining with fine wines and beers, and tailored off-train experiences because what you see through the train window is just a glimpse of what is out there beyond the railway line.
1. Indian Pacific
Sydney – Adelaide – Perth
This just might be the most epic Australian train journey of them all. To travel from coast to coast, from east to west or vice versa, means four days and three nights onboard the Indian Pacific to complete the 4352km crossing.
Leave Australia’s biggest city behind and wake up in the country on the second day. Can you spot any animals over breakfast? Can you imagine what it would be like to eat dinner under the stars in the desert? Hop aboard and you won’t have to.
You will venture past vineyards and goldmines, past majestic mountains and eventually through the Nullarbor in luxury with meals based on regional specialities, fine wines and other beverages as well as exploring off-train experiences in Broken Hill, Adelaide, Cook, and Rawlinna. There’ll be time for a walkabout in Kalgoorlie too.
Travellers are also able to begin or end their journey in Adelaide.
Fun fact: the Nullarbor contains the longest stretch of straight track anywhere in the world.
Find out everything you need to know about the Indian Pacific train journey and get dreaming.
2. The Ghan
Adelaide – Alice Springs – Darwin
The Ghan is legendary.
Though not as long as the Indian Pacific, it does travel through the Red Centre, which we think is a visit every Aussie should consider making at least once in their lifetime.
Over three days and two nights, travellers will leave behind the city of churches and Australia’s most prestigious wine region for the fiery outback, which they will witness at sunrise on day two, before making a stop in Alice Springs and then crossing into the tropical north.
Immersive off-train experiences such as a cruise in the Nitmiluk Gorge or a brief stay on an outback cattle station, bring The Ghan to life and make this a trip to remember.
Again, travellers are able to begin or end their journey in Alice Springs or Darwin. They can also use the Indian Pacific or The Overland (below) to reach Adelaide from either Perth, Sydney or Melbourne to begin their Ghan adventure.
Fun Fact: The Ghan supposedly gets its name from the Afghan camels and camel drivers who used to carry supplies up to Alice Springs before the railway existed.
Experience The Ghan and see the Red Centre.
3. Great Southern
Adelaide – Brisbane via Canberra and Coffs Harbour
The Great Southern is quickly becoming a hit with experienced train travellers.
Linking Adelaide and Brisbane through parts of Victoria, Canberra and Coffs Harbour, travellers on The Great Southern will relax and unwind as some of Australia’s most spectacular landscapes pass by. The Grampians, with its sandstone mountain and wildlife, make for brilliant views while a stop in Canberra allows those on board a chance to stretch their legs and explore the art and culture of the nation’s capital before the sandy shores of Coffs Harbour come calling their names.
Explore the east coast of Australia by train.
4. The Overland
Adelaide – Melbourne
The day-long service between Adelaide and Melbourne has operated for over 130 years already and thanks to support from the Victorian government, the twice-a-week trips will continue for the near future. And to be frank, this has got to be our favourite way of travelling between the two cities.
Not only do you get ample legroom and up to 60kg of luggage, but you also get to skip the airport and get to experience the awesome beauty along the way.
Feel over the moon on The Overland.
Journey Beyond Rail, the operators of these coast-to-coast rail journeys, do more than just get you from your point A to point B. Combining their rail journeys with off-train experiences, Journey Beyond Rail gives travellers the opportunity to explore, discover, and experience the best that Australia has to offer.
Think wineries in the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale when in Adelaide; Kakadu National Park and double waterfalls when in Darwin; a swim with whales when in Western Australia; and a surf in Surfers Paradise when in Queensland.Check out their Holiday Rail packages here.