We are delighted to once again offer this tour incorporating two of Australia’s great rail journeys. Australia is a vast country and one of the best ways to experience the magnitude of this great land in comfort is by rail. Travelling through golden wheat fields, vast sheep stations, rugged mountain ranges, scattered outback towns, the magnificent red sand hills of the Simpson Desert before entering the beautiful and mysterious tropical north.
The Train Journeys …
“Indian Pacific” from Sydney to Adelaide. This legendary train travels through the heart of Australia – from the spectacular Blue Mountains to the mining centre of Broken Hill and on to Port Augusta and Adelaide
“The Ghan” from Adelaide to Darwin. From the lush and prolific wine region of the Barossa Valley and South Australia through to the Red Centre and Alice Springs and on to the tropical region of the Northern Territory and Darwin travelling on the recently completed rail link.
Train travel in comfort in “Gold Service” which includes:
- Elegant twin (upper and lower berths) or single sleeper compartments converting to seating for daytime use. Twin compartments have private ensuite facilities while single compartments have their own wash basins with shower and toilet facilities located at the end of the carriage
- All compartments fully serviced by dedicated cabin stewards
- Luxurious “Outback Explorer” lounge and bar car for relaxation and socialising with Australian wines, beers, base spirits and non-alcoholic drinks included.
- Stylish “Queen Adelaide” restaurant dining car. Freshly prepared delicious meals prepared on board included in the cost and waiter service to your table.
- Sound system in each compartment for musical entertainment or journey commentary
Other tour highlights …..
- Sydney 2 nights – City tour and harbourside dinner
- Adelaide 3 nights – City tour and full day Barossa Valley tour
- Darwin 4 nights – Darwin City Tour, harbour dinner cruise
- Kakadu National Park Day Tour – Yellow Water Billabong Cruise, Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Nourlangie Rock Art Site
- Brisbane 3 nights – Australia Zoo Tour
Monday 16 May: New Zealand – Sydney
We commence the tour with a flight to Sydney from either Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch. On arrival in Sydney, we are transferred to our city hotel for a 2-night stay.
Tuesday 17 May: Sydney (B,D)
Get together this morning with your fellow travellers and enjoy a morning sightseeing tour of Sydney. You may have visited the city before but sit back and relax as you take in the sights. Travel through the historic Rocks district. Stop at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair in the Royal Botanic Gardens, for a panoramic view of the Sydney Opera House and the harbour. At the Gap, the entrance of Sydney Harbour, see breathtaking views of the coastline. This evening, we enjoy our first dinner together at a habourside restaurant.
Wednesday 18 May: Sydney – Adelaide (B, D)
Early this afternoon, we are transferred to Sydney Central Railway Station in time to join the “Indian Pacific” service to Adelaide. As our train departs Sydney mid-afternoon and commences its journey eastwards towards Adelaide, sit back and relax in your own “Gold Service” class private compartment. This evening enjoy dinner on board in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant Car, and maybe spend time in the Outback Explorer Lounge Car – a great opportunity to meet and mix with your fellow travellers.
Thursday 19 May: Broken Hill – Adelaide (B, L, D)
Early this morning, our train arrives into the mining city of Broken Hill for a two hour stop. There is an included off-train excursion to The Miner’s Memorial, a unique and striking structure that sits at the highest point of the Line of Lode remnant mullock dumps that traverse the city and offering wonderful views of the rising sun, Broken Hill and the Outback beyond. There is also an alternative tour offered which includes the Kevin “Pro” Hart Gallery, an artist that represents the cheeky and colourful charm of Broken Hill. A wide selection of his signature paintings are displayed over three floors of the gallery. The train departs Broken Hill and continues its journey to Adelaide where we arrive mid-afternoon. We are met and transferred to our city hotel for a 3-night stay.
Friday 20 May: Adelaide (B)
This morning, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city. Adelaide is an elegant, clean and gracious city that has preserved its heritage and links with the past. Our tour will show us many of the lovely parks and gardens that surround the city, the grand sandstone homes and cottages and the many churches that are spread throughout the city. The afternoon is at leisure.
Saturday 21 May: Adelaide (B, L)
Another great day today as we set off for the Adelaide Hills, through a patchwork of orchards and vineyards to the town of Hahndorf, one of the most popular towns in the area originally settled by German immigrants in 1839. The town retains much of its Germanic heritage and is home to some of the regions finest cellar doors. Then, we travel across to the world-famous Barossa Valley, the heartland of the Australian wine industry which retains much of its diverse European cultural heritage. Time for lunch and some wine tasting before returning to Adelaide later this afternoon.
Sunday 22 May: Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Springs & Katherine on The Ghan (B, D)
Late in the morning, we transfer to the railway station where we join “The Ghan”. We depart Adelaide just after midday for the 2979km journey through to Darwin, truly one of the great train journeys of the world. Sit back and marvel at the great Australian landscapes from the rusty reds of the outback to the lush tropical splendour of Darwin. Why not enjoy a pre-dinner drink in the Outback Explorer Lounge while taking in the scenery as we wind our way north?
Monday 23 May: Alice Springs – Katherine (B, L, D)
Our train arrives into the gateway to the heart of Australia, Alice Springs, early afternoon for a 4-hour stopover. An included sightseeing tour offers the opportunity to explore the iconic sites of the Alice including The Flying Doctor Base and the Telegraph Station which played a pivotal role in bridging the communications between remote towns and settlements. Other tours are available at additional cost for the more adventurous including helicopter flights and camel rides. We re-join the train early this evening to depart for Katherine.
Tuesday 24 May: Katherine – Darwin (B, L)
Our train arrives into Katherine in the morning for a stopover of 4 hours. This sub-tropical town is the gateway to Nitmiluk National Park and the spectacular Katherine Gorge with its 25-million-year-old canyons. We have the morning in Katherine with plenty of time for an included sightseeing – maybe a cruise on the Katherine River to Nitmiluk Gorge or the Katherine Outback Experience to learn about the inner workings of life on a remote cattle station. Other tours are available at additional cost for the more adventurous including scenic flights through the gorge. This afternoon, we travel the final 300km of our epic journey as we continue on to the northern sub-tropical capital of Darwin arriving late afternoon. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our city hotel for a 4-night stay.
Wednesday 25 May: Darwin (B)
Our morning sightseeing tour is a perfect introduction to Darwin. We see the Chinese Temple and the lush Botanic Gardens and tour the historic sights of the city including the East Point Military precinct, an area rich in World War II memorabilia. We see the Stokes Hill Wharf area and the Mooring Basin. There is also time available to explore the Museum and Art Gallery. The afternoon is at leisure.
Thursday 26 May: Kakadu National Park Tour (B, L)
Today, we are up early to get started on a day you will long remember. Covering an area of almost 20,000 square kilometres, World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park offers one of the most diverse landscapes you will ever experience with mangrove fringed coastal areas, expansive flood plains, lowland hills, open woodland and forest habitats. Be amazed at the population of wildlife in the water, on the land and in the air. Highlights of the day include: The Yellow Water Billabong Cruise, home to thousands of saltwater crocodiles and up to 60 species of colourful birdlife; after lunch at Cooinda, Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre where artefacts and videos illustrate stories of the traditional owners ranging from personal stories to “bush tucker”; Nourlangie which provided shelter to indigenous people for many thousands of years and where the rock art illustrates their deep spiritual culture. There is even an opportunity for a spectacular scenic flight (additional cost) over the Arnhem Land Escarpment. It’s a big day but one that will stay in your memory for a very long time.
Friday 27 May: Darwin (B, D)
After a big day yesterday, today is left free to relax and enjoy the wonderful winter tropical climate of the city. Maybe explore the waterfront and take part in the fish feeding ritual at Doctors Gully, visit the Defence of Darwin Experience, or just relax and watch the world go by at an outdoor café. This evening, we conclude our stay with a dinner cruise on Darwin Harbour which will hopefully present us with fantastic views of a fiery sunset.
Saturday 28 May: Darwin – Brisbane (B)
Late this morning, we are transferred to the airport in time to join our early afternoon flight to Brisbane. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a three-night stay.
Sunday 29 May: Day Tour to Australia Zoo (B)
Today we enjoy a full day tour which takes us north of Brisbane to Australia Zoo, home to the television’s “Crocodile Hunter”, the late Steve Irwin. At the zoo, your day is filled with a range of activities and shows for you to experience, On the way back to Brisbane we visit Maloolooba on the Sunshine Coast, with time to stroll on the beach or visit the shops on the Wharf.
Monday 30 May: Brisbane (B, D)
Our final day in Australia – a free day for optional activities in Brisbane. Maybe shopping, a sightseeing tour, a river cruise or just relaxing. This evening, we enjoy a farewell dinner together.
Tuesday 31 May: Brisbane – New Zealand (B)
Back to the airport today in time to join flights back to Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.