There are few things as thrilling as the wail of a train and the clattering of the tracks as you speed out of the city with the adventure in front of you. Australia has some of the world’s best train journeys, including the intercontinental journeys featuring The Ghan and The Indian Pacific. All aboard for Skyscanner’s six of the best Australia’s train journeys.
The Indian Pacific
If you are seeking adventure and the red dust of the Outback then this romantic train trip will set your heart racing. It’s a journey over four days and three nights, starting off in either Sydney or Perth, and taking in the eucalyptus forests of the Blue Mountains and the arid centre. There’s a stop at the quirky mining town of Broken Hill, a setting for the movie Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It chugs into Adelaide too, and sweeps across the vast desert expanse of the Nullarbor Plains. That’s a cool 4,352 kilometres, with chances for whistle-stop tours along the way.
Named after the Afgan cameleers who once traversed this incredible 2,979-kilometre route from Adelaide to Darwin, via Alice Springs, The Ghan has been chugging through the continent’s remote red-dirt interior for more than 80 years. This epic journey takes three days and two nights and it’s common to see huge wedge-tailed eagles, emus and large red kangaroos alongside the tracks, and something tempting on your dinner plate.
This is the best way to enjoy a leisurely 1,681-kilometre journey along the Queensland coast from Brisbane to Cairns. You can travel on a budget ticket but why bother when the Queenslander Class in a far better option. With a five-course degustation menu, a comfortable bed in your private cabin for the night onboard, and a lounge car with panoramic windows and champagne … what better way to salute the passing rainforest and ocean?
If you like your travel slow then this classic 1960s rattler will be perfect for you. It takes four days to complete the 850-kilometer round-trip between Cairns and Forsayth, on a sleepy journey through rainforests and red earth country. There are plenty of stops along the way to stretch your legs and stay overnight in cabins in tiny Outback towns.
The Spirit of the Outback
The scenery around you is like a huge canvas painted with a restricted palette of colours. There is blood red for the dirt, straw-yellow for the blotches of grass, a searing blue for the enormous sky, galahs streak past in a flurry of pin and white. You can take your car along on the 24-hour, 1,325-kilometre journey from Brisbane to Longreach too thanks to a handy Motorail Service.
The Kuranda Scenic Railway
No visit to Cairns is complete without a 1.5-hour trip on this famous railway which heads up into the hills and travels through ancient rainforests flanked by tumbling waterfalls and rugged mountains. Expect lots of attractions at Kuranda, including a butterfly sanctuary, a rainforest cableway that takes you above the canopy, and an Aboriginal cultural park. Find out more about Cairns here.