Australia is a very big country – in fact it is pretty much the same size as the United States of America, and boasts a terrific rail network that can get the visitor to Australia around the country efficiently and comfortably, and with the added benefit of actually seeing the country, not just flying over it.
I have travelled on a number of rail journeys over the years, and have always enjoyed the freedom train travel affords the “not in a hurry” visitor. Being able to sit comfortably, move about the carriages, read or sew or just watch the country change before your very eyes makes train travel the most relaxing.
It takes 3 nights and 4 days to travel across Australia from Sydney to Perth (east/west) via the Nullarbor Plain and three days and two nights to travel from Darwin to Adelaide (north/south).
There are a number of other terrific train journeys that can take the visitor from metropolitan cities to the furthermost parts of the outback, within a few days, and gives a great Australian experience on the way.
Here’s a rundown of the various train journeys that can be enjoyed by the visitor to Australia:
The Indian Pacific traverses the breadth of Australia from east to west – Perth to Sydney. This journey takes three nights and four days.
The Ghan takes the visitor from the north (Darwin) to the south (Adelaide) via the inland, through salt bush mulga and deserts and the oldest known river in the world.
The Tilt Train is a new addition to the rail stock and is a modern version of a fast train – although not too fast. The Tilt Train travels from Brisbane to Cairns over night.
The Sunlander is a milk run service that travels from Brisbane to Cairns along the seaboard. It is a very pretty journey, but takes longer than the tilt train.
The Spirit of the Outback is becoming an iconic train journey that takes you from metropolitan Brisbane to Longreach in the west of Queensland. There’s a lot to do and see on this journey, least of all a visit to the Stockman’s Hall of Fame.
The Overlander is a rail journey between Melbourne and Adelaide that takes a whole day. Travelling through lush salad bowl country, through golden wheat fields and through the iconic Barossa Valley, one of Australia’s best grape growing and wine making regions.