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AUSTRALIA - RAIL JOURNEYS

INDIAN PACIFIC RAIL JOURNEY: OUR TOP TIPS.

Avatar   By Anna Sarjeant - House of Travel Content Specialist


Experience the golden age of train travel with Great Southern Rail. Journey aboard the Indian Pacific and spoil your senses with gourmet food, spectacular views and five star service. Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the railroad’s creation, so there’s never been a better time to indulge in a trip which is as much about the journey as it is the destination.

 

 

1  |  What’s the Indian Pacific route?

Beginning in Sydney and culminating four days (and three nights) later in Perth, The Indian Pacific covers a whopping 4,352km, making it Australia’s longest rail journey. The route can also be booked in reverse, either way you’re travelling from coast to coast, passing the Blue Mountains, Adelaide and the barren expanse of the Nullarbor, weaving from gum tree to goldmine, ghost town and grape vine.

 

 

2  |  What will I see?

While you’re making your way across the longest stretch of straight railway track in the world, the terrain will change from lush rainforests and rolling green hills to barren red desert flecked with rusty tin sheds. You’ll be passing towns with a population of four, lush valleys with picturesque creeks and golden coastlines whipped by the ocean. This is a truly diverse train journey, where no two days offer the same two views.  

 

3  |  How fast does the train travel?

The train averages 85km/hour, which might sound slow, but once you’re chugging along the rail track, you’ll find it’s the perfect pace to absorb every view.

 

 

4  |  Do I sleep on-board the train?

All guests sleep on-board the train. Cabins are expectedly compact but smart in design. Linen is five star hotel quality, and for Gold class passengers, there’s a well-stocked kitchenette just down the corridor - accessible around the clock.

Gold Service Twin Cabins feature bunk-style beds which convert into a three-seater lounge area by day and benefits from an ensuite bathroom as well as a large window.

Gold Service Single Cabins enjoy a single berth which converts to a single seat, with toilet and shower facilities at the end of the carriage.

Gold Service Superior Cabins are ideal for guests seeking a little extra style, space and comfort. They’re double the size of a Gold Service Twin Cabin and boast a three-quarter double bed, as well as an additional fold down single bed. There’s a private lounge area with table and armchair.

Platinum Cabins are approximately twice the size of Gold Service Twin Cabins and offer deluxe accommodation including double or twin beds, as well as spacious ensuite facilities and large 1.5 metre wide windows.

 

5  |  What are the on-board facilities?

There are several lounges scattered between the train’s 30 carriages, including a staffed bar area. Expect a decadent décor with plush couches and vintage tables, as well as a bookshelf and games corner. You can choose to participate in anything from wine masterclasses delivered by revered wine critics to a culinary masterclass by Aboriginal chef, Mark Olive. 

 

6  |  Where will I be dining?

For Gold class passengers every day starts with a hot cooked breakfast served in the Queen Adelaide restaurant. For Platinum guests, on-board meals are served in the Platinum Club.

The Queen Adelaide restaurant is a charming venue and as close to a classic railway dining car as you’ll get. With four-seater leather booths, cut-glass partitions and stark white linen. Food and drink is all-inclusive in both Gold and Platinum classes, with sparkling and still wine, beer and spirits served all day long. Depending on the day’s itinerary, some dinners are enjoyed off the train, in hand-picked restaurants, vineyards and farms.

 

7  |  What will I be eating?

You can expect dinners on-board the train to be akin with a five star restaurant. From succulent jewfish to truffle-infused starters and seven course "showcase dinners". Lunches are lighter but equally elegant. From Western Australian crayfish to blue swimmer crab in lemon myrtle-infused soup, but changing regularly. 

 

8  |  Will the cuisine be stand-out?

Absolutely. The Indian Pacific is constantly hailed for its culinary wow-factor. In 2015, Gourmet Traveller added the train to its “top 100 Australian culinary experiences” and Condé Nast Traveler described it as among the world’s best train food. You’ll wrap your taste buds around an entire medley of creative on-board cuisine and fine wines, all sourced from Australia’s spectacular produce and wine regions. Get ready for native Australian fare, such as kangaroo, saltbush and wild rosella flower, as well as locally produced beef, lamb and Margaret River cheese. As for wine, you’ll be poured wines from the Hunter valley in New South Wales to the Barossa and Adelaide Hills in South Australia. Better yet, it’s all inclusive.

 

 

9  |  What tours are available?

You'll disembark the train regularly, and board luxury coaches to fascinating places. Excursions include anything from the Hunter Valley Gardens with wine tasting at Tempus Two winery, to Byron Bay day trips and detours to Port Macquarie’s Ricardoes Tomatoes & Strawberries. Here you can pick your own plump strawberries for devouring later, or popping in your complimentary fizz. Every outing is designed to maximise the Australian experience, whether you visit Seppeltsfield, which boasts the oldest continual port collection in the world, or swing by Maggie Beer’s Pheasant Farm for a walking tour.

 

10  |  What should I pack?

Smart casual attire is required for guests travelling in Platinum Service and Gold Service. We recommend you take warmer layers for evenings and a comfortable pair of walking shoes for day trips. A hat, sunscreen and sunglasses are also advised. It’s also a good idea to take some cash to buy on-board merchandise or to upgrade your tour options. Visa, MasterCard, American Express Card and Diners Card are accepted on-board.

 

 

11  |  What’s the luggage limit?

The GSR website recommends the following:

Platinum Service Twin and Double Cabins: One piece of hand luggage plus a garment bag and/or briefcase per person.

Gold Service Twin Cabin: One piece of hand luggage plus a garment bag, cabin bag or briefcase per person.

Gold Service Single Cabin: One piece of hand luggage plus a garment bag, cabin bag (105cm linear measurement) or briefcase.

For all classes the cabin bag can measure 105cm (linear measurement) with a maximum 10kg weight. Your main luggage is checked in and you won’t see it until you arrive, so it's a good idea to pack a cabin bag.

 

12  |  When should I book?

As early as possible. Cabins sell out very fast. To make sure you don’t miss out, register your details with your House of Travel consultant, and they’ll let you know when your preferred travel dates open for sale. Next departures are for rail travel from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. 


Looking to experience the Aussie outback in style? You can with these Great Southern Rail deals and packages. Better yet, come in-store and chat with one of our friendly travel experts. We love pairing Kiwis with their perfect holidays!


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ABOUT ANNA SARJEANT

As a self-confessed travel addict, the majority of my wage, time and daydreams are spent seeing as much of the planet as my pay packet will allow. My love for a good jaunt may have been brought on by an inquisitive mind, but I am more inclined to think it was induced by several childhood holidays spent in a rain-lashed caravan. Up a mountain. On a farm. In Britain. Bored.

More about Anna >

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