Over the past few weeks, I’ve covered several different aspects of taking the Indian Pacific train from Sydney to Perth. Known as one of the greatest train journeys in the world – it does take you across the Nullarbor Plain – it wouldn’t count as just a walk in the park. To make it clear: You will be on a train for 3 entire days. So, this guide will act as a go-to guide for those looking to take the majestic Indian Pacific train on their Australian holidays in Red Class.
>> Read more about Australian train travel
About the Indian Pacific Train
The Indian Pacific train covers 4352 kilometers and runs essentially from Sydney to Perth. It has been in service since 1970 in the current state, but the history of this train being molded into the product it is today dates back to the early 1900s when a transcontinental train line was not such a smooth journey.
>> Read more about the history of the Indian Pacific
The Red Class on the Indian Pacific
The Red Class is the much more budget section of the Indian Pacific (as opposed to the luxurious Gold Class), and that is then separated into two subclasses: Red Sleeper Class and Red Day Nighter Class.
Red Sleeper Class
The Red Sleeper Class provides private cabins for 2 people that also have their own beds. During the day, there are two seats that face each other on opposite sides of the window. At night, the bunk beds fold down from the wall, which were quite comfortable in my opinion. The cabin also comes with a sink and mirror, but showers and toilets are shared with the carriage.
Red Day Nighter Class
The Red Day Nighter Class is the less private, but much more affordable class. Travelers will not have beds or private spaces. Instead, they will have large reclining chairs, much like on a bus or plane, but with more space. There are shared toilet and shower facilities in this class.
All Red Class patrons will have access to the dining car to purchase meals and beverages, but the Red Gum Lounge is free to Red Sleeper Class patrons. The rest will have to splurge an extra $10-15 a day for that luxury, but it does come with comfy seats, games, magazines, large windows and free tea and coffee.
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Things to Do on the Indian Pacific
The entire train journey from Sydney to Perth runs 65 hours in length, so if you aren’t prepared, you could potentially have a bit of boredom. However, packing a good book, or even a laptop can easily take the edge off.
The best thing to do while on this trip, in my opinion, is to just watch out the window to see how the scenery changes. If you’d like to follow along, I made a photo essay of the view.
>> Read more about having a look out my window from Sydney to Perth
At all the stops along the way – Broken Hill, Adelaide, Cook and Kalgoorlie – there are whistle stop tours on offer. They are an easy way to explore a city in a short time, and maybe get a taste for new places to add to future itineraries.
>> Read more about the Indian Pacific’s whistle stop tours
Beyond these tours, the next best thing is to hang out in the Red Gum Lounge. It’s a great place to have a glass of wine or coffee and meet new people. They’re also just comfortable seats, and did I mention the large windows?
Your Questions, Answered
Will I have Internet or phone connection?
Good question. I was a bit worried when taking my trip since I was hoping to share my experience through blogging, Facebook and Twitter. Luckily, with Telstra, I was able to pick up enough signal to stay in contact during my ride.
Is it backpacker friendly?
This is another good question since many backpacker types like the idea of the train, but are low on money. By purchasing a ticket in Red Day Nighter Class, the cost is quite affordable.
Is it child friendly?
When I rode on the train, I didn’t see any small children. I can’t imagine trying to keep a small child comfortable for 3 days on a train in the Red Day Nighter Class and paying for a full fare in the Red Sleeper Class would be pricey. However, I’d love to hear from you if you have taken a young child on the Indian Pacific.
Tickets and Further Information
I hope this information helps you in making your decision to ride the Indian Pacific train with Great Southern Rail in Australia. You can purchase tickets and make other inquiries on the official website. If there is something you’re curious about, but it hasn’t been covered in this guide, please leave a comment below.
My ticket riding in Red Class on the Indian Pacific train was sponsored by GSR, but all the experiences and reviews are my own.