Just like Australian bus travel, train travel in Australia takes time. However, unlike bus travel, you might just be able to get up and stretch your legs from time to time, grab a bite to eat from the restaurant car, or even have a proper bed for a good night’s sleep. It’s comforts like these that can make this overland option top choice.
>> See other modes of Australia transportation
Long-distance Train Travel in Australia
Great Southern Rail – Great Southern Rail provides trains for those truly long journeys in Australia, like Sydney to Perth and Adelaide to Darwin. There are 4 different lines to choose from.
- The Ghan – The Ghan travels the 2979 kilometers from Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Springs. The ride lasts for 3 days and lets passengers experience the red center and the Top End.
- Indian Pacific – The Indian Pacific goes from the east to west coast from Sydney to Perth. The ride lasts for 3 days and offers stops in Broken Hill, Adelaide and Kalgoorlie. The Indian Pacific is perfect for those wishing to experience the Nullarbor Plain.
>> Read my Indian Pacific Red Class guide.
- The Overlander – The Overlander travels between Melbourne and Adelaide a few times a week. It operates during daylight hours to give you the best scenic experience possible.
- The Southern Spirit – The Southern Spirit is a new luxury line that runs between Brisbane and Adelaide or Brisbane and Melbourne.
Class of service on any of the Great Southern Rail lines varies from standard lounge seats to sharing cabins, or even a private first-class room. Backpackers, students and YHA membership card holders are eligible for discounted fares. Preference is given to international visitors and those making purchases from overseas. Rail passes are sold in 6 month lengths giving access to different sets of lines. For more details, visit the Great Southern Rail website.
Obviously, these long-distance trains don’t go everywhere, and the interlinking train systems will seem a bit sparse as well. But, if it’s the big cities you’re after, then you can probably get there with a train.
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Here are some of the main rail systems to get you on your way.
CountryLink – CountryLink connects Sydney to Brisbane in the north, Broken Hill in the west and Melbourne in the south. Visit site >>
V/Line – V/Line is the main rail network in Victoria, and it can connect you to many different places in other states. Visit site >>
Traveltrain – Traveltrain is the long-distance service of QueenslandRail. It features such lines as The Spirit of the Outback and The Sunlander. Visit site >>
Transwa – Transwa is the Perth-based train services that has lines connecting Perth to Kalgoorlie, Avon Valley and Bunbury. Visit site >>
Train Travel Alternative
If your itinerary doesn’t allow for the 12 hour train ride from Sydney to Melbourne, then there are probably a couple of budget airlines that can get you there. Why not search for a great flight using the widget below: