Australia is a very large country and in the past the only way to visit the various regions was by train. Now-a-days most Australians prefer to fly but thankfully, the train system was preserved. The trains in Australia offer a great way to see the countryside, from beautiful coastlines to endless Outback landscapes. Below are some of the best train journeys in Australia for travelers hoping to see a bit more of the country.
The Sunlander: Brisbane – Cairns
This popular route runs along Australia’s eastern side from Brisbane to Cairns, a journey that takes 31 hours total. The route passes along gorgeous coastal farm land, sugarcane fields, and banana plantations. Take the train end-to-end or opt for a stop-off and enjoy the coastal towns and cities of Northeastern Australia.
The train offers a variety of classes, suiting everyone from budget travelers to luxury train aficionados. Budget travelers can select from 1, 2, or 3 berth sleeping accommodations or even standard seats. The Queensland Class on the other hand offers a premium, all inclusive experience with fine dining, luxury compartments, and personal service.
The Ghan Train: Adelaide – Alice Springs – Darwin
To really experience the full beauty and wonder of an Australian train trip, you need to do at least one of the cross-continent journeys. The Ghan route fits the bill with an epic journey, running south to north, straight through the heart of Australia.
The Ghan journey really helps you appreciate how large Australia is. Endless desert landscapes and dry Outback brushland pass before you on this 46 hour journey. Make sure you give yourself time to do a stopover in Alice Springs, the Outbacks most famous town and the gateway to Ayers Rock.
The Spirit of the Outback: Brisbane – Rockhampton – Longreach
To see a bit more of the Outback, hop on another of Australia’s popular trains – the Spirit of the Outback. Running first along the coast north from Brisbane, the route quickly turns inland to cross the outback to Longreach.
Along the way you will enjoy gorgeous views of the Outback and many quintessential Australian towns. The route is a great way to get a feel for life in the interior of Australia which has its own unique rhythm, quite different than that in the coastal cities.
Indian Pacific: Sydney – Adelaide – Perth
Saving the best for last, we come to the Indian Pacific train route. This is another of Australia’s epic, cross-country train trips, and is in fact the only direct, transcontinental train journey in the world. Running from Sydney in the east to Perth on the western coast, the route does indeed touch both the Pacific and the Indian Oceans.
The journey, at 65 hours long, covers three full days, allowing you to see a large variety of Australia’s landscapes. You will pass through the Blue Mountains and through small Australian towns like Cook, population 4. Tickets range from budget travel level for a airplane style seat to luxury cabins with full showers. No matter what class of ticket you buy, be sure you give yourself time for a stopover in Adelaide to see a bit of this southern piece of Australia including Barossa Valley and Kangaroo Island.