Australia’s enormous size makes it ideal for exploring by rail. Train journeys here guarantee you a window-seat view of the ever-changing palette of colours gliding by before you, whilst you relax in the comfort of your own cabin or the lounge. The two major cross-country rail lines are The Ghan and the Indian Pacific railway.
The Indian Pacific travels east - west across Australia between Perth (on the Indian Ocean coast) and Sydney (on the Pacific coast). It’s a 3 night/4 day journey crossing the Southern half of this vast country. For a shorter route, you could start or finish in Adelaide and head in either direction.
Great Southern rail's service 'The Ghan' slices through the centre of Australia from top to bottom between Darwin and Adelaide via Alice Springs on a 3 night/4 day expedition. As with the Indian Pacific, it’s possible to travel for just a section, beginning or ending in Alice Springs.
I’m a big fan of rail travel in Australia and have previously enjoyed travelling on the Ghan. There are many great reasons to take the train, but here are my top five:
Flying to Australia from the UK and Europe takes the best part of 24 hours and it’s likely you’ll have had your fill of airports for a while, so why not ‘let the train take the strain’? Unlike an internal flight, there are no early check-ins, no queuing and you get your own mobile suite! If you book early, you can get huge savings on the rail fares and it’s a great opportunity to see Australia from a different perspective.
Both trains offer a Gold and Platinum service with single, twin or double cabins; or you could even take a whole carriage if there’s a group of you.
Platinum service includes hotel transfers and a cabin which is twice the size of the Gold cabin. By day, your cabin is a comfortable lounge and by night it converts in to a very comfortable sleeper cabin. Both the Gold and Platinum double and twin cabins offer en-suite facilities, but Gold singles have shared shower & toilet facilities at the end of the carriage.
Throughout the day and evening you can relax on board in the Outback Explorers Lounge. You can enjoy drinks and snacks, mingle with your fellow travellers and watch the ever-changing Aussie landscapes and wildlife as you glide by.
You can look forward to fantastic, regionally-inspired meals, plus a full range of beverages including Australian wines and boutique beers – it’s all included in your fare.
If you’re travelling in Platinum Class, you’ll also have access to the Platinum Club which is your exclusive dining car. Gold service passengers are also well looked after in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant car where all your meals are served.
Whichever journey you take, there will be a range of off-train excursions included in your fare. For an extra charge and something extra special - why not consider a scenic helicopter flight or a camel ride?
With The Ghan, the extensive range of free tours includes Alice Springs Desert Park, a Rock Art cruise in Katherine or you can disembark and enjoy your breakfast at an Outback stop.
For those travelling on the Indian Pacific there’s also a wide choice of included tours. Why not visit the Barossa Valley wine region, explore Adelaide and the Outback town of Broken Hill or even dine under the stars one evening?
At Travel Nation, we’re experts at weaving one of these fantastic train journeys in to your tailor-made holiday to Australia and ensuring you experience Australia in the style you prefer.
If you're interested in taking the train across Australia, you could fly in to Perth for a stopover and spend a few days exploring the city before taking the Indian Pacific railway to Sydney to continue your travels. If you want to enjoy one of the world's greatest train journeys, you can pick up The Ghan in Adelaide, stop-off and explore the Red Centre and wake up in tropical Darwin.
Why not put together your own wish list and I can put together a bespoke itinerary for you. I can arrange multi-stop or direct flights to Australia, recommend accommodation to suit your style and budget and arrange tours or vehicle hire too - simply contact Annette to start planning.