Australian Rail Travel Passes: If you are an overseas visitor, there are a number of rail passes available that allow you to travel across Australia by train at low cost. Most passes give you unlimited travel on certain railway networks over a set period of time for a set price, thus, the more you use it, the cheaper each journey becomes. All quoted prices and pass durations were current at the time of publication but may be varied without note by the operator of each service. Please contact each operator direct for current information, prices and conditions of travel. Note: Australian permanent residents are NOT eligible to use the Queensland passes however the may purchase and use the New South Wales rail pass..
New South Wales RailLink provides a number of rail passenger services from Sydney to major regional destinations across New South Wales. The day trips listed here are favourite railway destinations for locals and visitors alike. The journeys allow time to see a little of what the destination and its surrounding area has to offer, and then return to Sydney, all in daylight hours. In all instances, however, there is much more to see and do than a single day allows and if you have the extra time, taking an extra day or two is recommended.
Melbourne and Victoria
The capital city of the State of Victoria, Melbourne a cosmopolitan city with a reputation for being a major ethnic melting pot. Melbourne is known for its restaurants, fashion, style and the arts. Victoria has a wide diversity of landscapes which cover the whole gamut of the Australian experience - from semi arid desert areas to rugged coastal cliffs, lush farmlands, alpine ski resorts, historic goldmining towns and river gum forests. Rail Services: Twice daily XPT between Sydney and Melbourne (11 hrs 30 mins approx., daytime and overnight). Victoria's extensive rail network gives access to its various regions.
Hobart and Tasmania
Australia's island state, Tasmania sits just 240 kilometres south-east of mainland Australia. In Tasmania, you are never far from water and mountains - it has more than 1,000 mountain peaks. More than 40 per cent of the island is protected as national parks and reserves, which are home to some of the world's rarest animals. Hobart, its capital city, is Australia's second oldest city. Rail Services: Tasmania can be reached by train from Sydney to Melbourne (twice daily XPT service in each direction - 11 hrs 30 mins approx., daytime and overnight), then by ferry from Melbourne to Devonport (daily overnight service in both directions).
Regional New South Wales
Sandwiched between Queensland and Victoria on Australia's eastern seaboard, New South Wales is known for its diversity of landscape and attractions, ranging from outback to city, rugged mountains to sheltered harbours, subtropical rainforests to expansive sandy beaches. Eight regional centres have been featured though many more can be visited. Rail Services: most regional centres have daily rail services to and from Sydney. A range of rail tours to and around major destinations are available.
Adelaide and South Australia
South Australia is the fifth largest state in Australia with a population of 1.4 million. It is home to long summers, stunning beaches and award-winning wine, events and festivals. South Australia has the easiest access to the Australian outback of any state. Its capital, Adelaide, is a place of natural beauty and simple elegance and is the gateway to the Flinders Ranges, Kangaroo Island, the vineyards of the Barossa Valley, and the scenic coasts of the Fleurieu, Yorke and Eyre peninsulas. Rail Services: The Indian Pacific travels twice a week in both directions between Sydney and Adelaide (24 hrs approx).
Darwin and Northern Territory
Largely tropical, the Northern Territory covers about one sixth of the Australian continent with an area equal to the combined areas of France, Spain and Italy. It is an area of great diversity, from lush tropical rainforest in the north to the ancient semi-arid plains and deserts of the Red Centre. Darwin, Australia's only tropical capital city, has a wealth of attractions for visitors who warm to its laid back lifestyle. Rail Services: Indian Pacific from Sydney to Adelaide (24 hrs approx., two services a week), then connect with The Ghan from Adelaide to Alice Springs (24 hrs approx) or Darwin (48 hrs approx); two services a week in the peak tourist season (May - September)
Brisbane and Queensland
Queensland is known as Australia's Sunshine State. Queensland offers a great diversity of holiday and touring opportunities, with the Great Barrier Reef, tropical islands, tropical rainforest and wilderness, open sandy beaches, and the vast outback, as well as the sophisticated attractions of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. Rail Services: Twice daily XPT between Sydney and Brisbane (15 hrs approx., daytime and overnight). Queensland has an extensive rail network with a range of rail tours available.
Perth and Western Australia
Western Australia is the largest state, covering the western most third of the mainland. A range of experiences, from wilderness adventures in the arid outback or diving on coral reefs, to fine dining and wine tasting, attract a wide variety of visitors. Perth, its capital city, is known for its wonderful white, sandy and uncrowded beaches, a sunny climate and its friendly, hospitable atmosphere. Rail Services: The iconic Indian Pacific train provides a twice weekly direct link between Perth and Sydney. The three day trip, via Adelaide, gives travellers a true indication of how vast and diverse Australia really is.
Canberra, Aust. Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory is the site of Canberra, Australia's capital city. As well as the seat of Government for the Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra has been developed as a celebration of and salute to Australia's culture, its unique natural features and its notable sons and daughters. Rail Services: Canberra is 4 hrs 30 mins. approx. by rail from Sydney with three services operating between the two cities in each direction every day.