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5 Best Australian Train Trips for Scenic Tours

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The Indian Pacific in Australia. Photo courtesy Great Southern Rail

The Indian Pacific in Australia. Photo courtesy Great Southern Rail

Australia’s scenic beauty is best enjoyed on any of these five train trips that can introduce you to the immense Outback, sweeping plains, and shimmering shorelines.

Let the historic travels on the Ghan, coastal adventures of the Indian Pacific, town tours of New South Wales on the NSW TrainLink, and more take your breath away as you capture the magnificent views, all while immersing yourself in the luxuries of Australia’s remote corners and untouched scenery.

Find the best scenic train tours in Australia in this list for an inspiring journey across the marvelous landscapes, from land to sea, including the Outback.

  1. 1. The Ghan
  2. 2. The Indian Pacific
  3. 3. The NSW TrainLink
  4. 4. The Tilt Train
  5. 5. The Spirit of the Outback
  6. Experience the Best Scenic Australian Train Trips

1. The Ghan

The Ghan crossing the Elizabeth river. Photo courtesy of Great Southern Rail

The Ghan crossing the Elizabeth river. Photo courtesy of Great Southern Rail

The historic Ghan train ride links Adelaide in the south with Darwin in the north, traveling across the wilds of the Red Centre between the states of South Australia and the Northern Territories.

The entire journey extends more than 1,800 miles, with views of the Outback over three days. The train travels north and south, with regular stops in the central city of Alice Springs, the closest major settlement to the famous rock formation, Uluru, one of Australia’s best places to visit.

With weekly stops in Coober Pedy between August and late October for visitors interested in a day trip to view the opal mines and underground caves, the Ghan offers something for every traveler.

2. The Indian Pacific

The Indian Pacific train in Southern Australia.  Photo courtesy of Journey Beyond

The Indian Pacific train in Southern Australia. Photo courtesy of Journey Beyond

The mighty Australian railway, the Indian Pacific, spanning more than 2,700 miles, takes over 65 hours to travel from end to end, connecting Sydney on the Pacific coast to Perth on the Indian shoreline.

Visitors eager to travel the railway enjoy views of the marvelous peaks of the majestic Blue Mountains and barren landscape of the Nullarbor Plain in South Australia. You will watch the landscape shift between goldmines and grapevines, ghost towns and rugged terrain, with connections to off-the-beaten-path locations like Broken Hill and the Barossa Valley.

Connecting Australia’s capital city with many iconic adventure destinations across the country, the Indian Pacific is well worth an addition to a Sydney, Australia vacation.

3. The NSW TrainLink

Sydney Central Station in New South Wales, Australia

Sydney Central Station in New South Wales, Australia

The New South Wales TrainLink Discovery Pass lets travelers venture one way in economy class across New South Wales, but also connects to Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Australian Capital Territory, and Melbourne, one of Australia’s top cities.

Keep in mind that the train between Brisbane and Cairns takes up to 25 hours and will cost considerably more than a flight. A choice between intercity and regional operations ensures travelers can still absorb the mesmerizing Australian landscapes, with stops at towns providing a true taste of the local culture.

With an array of options available to travelers, one can find an ideal train trip in Australia with the NSW TrainLink that captures the scenic beauty between some of the country’s iconic cities.

4. The Tilt Train

The Tilt Train in the Bundaberg Region, Queensland, Australia

The Tilt Train in the Bundaberg Region, Australia. Photo courtesy Queensland Rail

The Tilt Train takes passengers between Brisbane and Rockhampton, with comfortable seating and views of the Australian countryside and coastline the perks of choosing this efficient journey.

The train connects with several iconic Queensland landmarks and tourist attractions, including the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Capricorn Coast, Bundaberg, Burnett, Fraser Coast, and South East Queensland regions.

There is a lot to adore about this speedy, modern, and well-equipped train during your tour of Queensland, or when using it as a gateway to the famous coral systems on your Great Barrier Reef vacation.

5. The Spirit of the Outback

First class experience aboard the Spirit of the outback

Galley service aboard the Spirit of the Outback. Photo courtesy Queensland Rail

First-class experiences in the Spirit of the Outback share the luxuries of modern train travel with the beauty of Outback Queensland between Brisbane and Longreach.

The rugged desert terrain, home to some of Australia’s unusual animals, expands for miles in all directions, with indigenous creatures thriving in the arid, harsh conditions and legendary formations reflecting millennia of geographical activity.

Your adventure on this train will take you to historic Outback towns where the storied Australian past will come to life as you tuck into local cuisine, meet friendly residents, and view remarkable scenes.

Experience the Best Scenic Australian Train Trips

Tilt train traveling over a creek in Queensland

The Tilt Train in Queensland. Photo courtesy Queensland Rail

The Queensland Outback, Cairns coastline, Northern Territory’s national parks, and more backdrop the five best scenic train trips across Australia that you can take during one of our customizable Australia vacations and tours.

From reveling in the lavish amenities of first-class cabins on overnight adventures to enjoying the remarkable scenery during shorter trips, see the best of Australia while you travel by train. And before you go, discover more helpful tips and information in our Australia travel guide.

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