06 July 2024

Indian Pacific tourist train across Australia

The first Indian Pacific, a great transcontinental rail adventure, first left Sydney for Perth in 1970. Thous­ands of well-wishers gat­h­ered a few days later to welcome its safe arrival in Perth, cap­it­al of Western Aust­ralia. It was the first time one train had been ab­le to complete the 4,352 ks journey from ocean to ocean, using a common rail gauge.

Few train journeys are as epic as the Indian Pacific. From Sydney on the east coast across the entire continent to Perth in the west, it pass­es through landscapes as varied as the spectacul­ar Blue Mountains and end­less flat deserts. Expect comfortable cabins, excellent food and fascinating day trips.  The train's programme below is by Alissa Jenkins

Gold Twin Cabin with private facilities

Day 1: Sydney to outback New South Wales/NSW. Board at Sydney's Central Station and settle into the cabin, to spend the afternoon taking in the scenery as it transforms from skyscrapers and traffic lights to the forested valleys and sandstone cliffs of the stunning Blue Mountains. Listen to the audio commentary option.

The journey's west bound service to Perth includes an off-train ex­cursion in the majestic Blue Mountains, with visits to the majestic Three Sisters at Echo Point and spectacular Jamison Valley. As the evening sun sets behind mountain ranges, enter the more arid regions of NSW, characterised by hardy Australian mulga tree and vast plains. After dinner in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant, meet fellow guests in the Outback Explorer Lounge for a welcome drink. 

Queen Adelaide Restaurant, 
Indian Pacific

Outback Explorer Lounge
enjoy new friends, great drinks and great views
Aussie Trains

Day 2: The morning begins in Broken Hill, formerly a booming mining town which inspired artists for ages with its distinct­ive desert landscape. On a 1-hour walking tour, explore the city's icon­ic Living Desert Sculptures then visit the Pro Hart Gallery to learn all about a most celebrated Australian artist whose works capture the outback. 

After an onboard lunch, the afternoon journey continues into the green and golden fields of South Australia's food bowl. Choose bet­ween off-train excursions: 1] spend the afternoon and ev­ening in picturesque Bar­ossa Valley or McL­aren Vale wine reg­ion, the char­m­ing heritage town of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills or 2] a priv­ate guided tour of the South Australian Museum. Then all guests re­join the train in Adelaide to begin the trip across the continent.

the flat and treeless Nullarbor Plains
On the eastbound service, including a morning stop in Adelaide, ex­cursion options include an Adelaide city coach tour, a pro­gressive breakfast at the famous Adelaide Central Markets, a guided tour of Adelaide Oval or a city and river precinct walking tour. Enjoy the in-cabin music channels and the journey audio commentary.

Day 3: Greet sunrise at the striking, raw beauty of the Nullarbor Plain. Taking its name from the Latin for No Trees, this vast outback pl­ain has stunned generations of Australians and vis­itors alike. A endless expanse of rusty earth and har­dy outback sh­rubs, the Nullarbor covers 200,000 square ks of South Australia and Western Australia and is considered a bucket list experience.

 Off-train dinner at Rawlinna, W.A 
Journey Beyond Rail

Entering Western Australia in the afternoon, cross­ Australia's most famous plain with a special dinner in the rem­ote outpost of Rawlin­na. Here guests are invited to disembark and partake in a tradit­ional long-table dinner under the bright stars of the outback sky.

Surrounded by nothing but vast sheep stations, this is one alfresco dining experience to remember. The Indian Pacific east­bound service (Perth->Sydney) offers an additional excursion in the wild west gold rush town of Kalgoorlie.

Day 4: The morning scenery transforms as the train cont­in­ues via the picturesque Avon Valley, a patchwork of rolling hills and wind­ing streams. After passing fertile farmland, the journey ends as Per­th's outer city limits appear. The P.M choice is to take an optional upgrade tour to explore Perth, admiring magnificent city views fr­om Kings Park, travel along the Swan River and pict­uresque fore­sh­ore park­lands, Subiaco’s trendy boutiques and res­t­aur­ants, and Clare­mont with its upmarket shopping and famous Mil­l­ion­aire's Row. Enjoy the WACA Cricket Ground, Town Hall, Perth Mint, Parliament House, Crown Casino and Barracks Arch. 
Thank you Alissa Jenkins.

The review here is mine. I am something of a problem traveller to staff since I don’t eat meat, but the food alternatives were delicious. And the alcohol serv­ice was very good with quality wines which we shared with a lot of great new peo­ple on the trip! Even better, while travelling away from home, vis­itors could focus on local foods and wines from the very regions the train was passing through.

The cabins were clean and fresh, but too small for spouse and I who found it a bit tight to move around together. So leave your excess stuff elsewhere. Thankfully the onboard staff were fantastic, really mak­ing every eff­ort to be friendly and helpful in what must have been demanding work.

I loved visiting places that I have never visited before. Broken Hill is Australia’s oldest mining town, important for its silver, lead and zinc. The rich history is well recorded at museums and memorials, a true representation of the Australian outback, with red, rocky terrain and desert. And the art scene is booming, both modern and indigenous.

Sydney to Perth took 4 days which might have been a bit long for some people, but the most exciting part was to carefully watch the changing landsc­ape of this vast country passing by the window. Sur­prisingly for me (because I love forests and open oceans), I actually loved the memorable changing unique scenery ac­r­oss the Nullarbor.

The off-train experiences were amazing, espec­ially under the stars at sheep station Rawlinna, with fires, food and wonderful live mus­ic. On board there was a resident singer who also provided lots of entertainment.


Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I have always wanted to travel on the Indian Pacific across the country and maybe one day I will, but it can be somewhat expensive.

My name is Erika. said...

This sounds like a great way to see a big country. Plus, train travel is a way to slow down, relax and see what life was like years ago. I hope you've had a great start to July Hels.

roentare said...

Looks like a good journey experience for you. I would consider this type of travel as a photojournalism journey.

Student of History said...

Plane trips from Sydney to Perth are cheaper, faster and more easily booked. But you see nothing, learn nothing and enjoy nothing. If I was not in a rush, I would always choose the Indian Pacific again and visit every off-train site on offer.

Fun60 said...

That is a very interesting trip and one I would thoroughly enjoy. I imagine it was an expensive one though.

River said...

The Indian-Pacific only began in 1970? I thought it was much earlier. Also there is a mistake in there where it says the train's "east bound" journey to Perth, should be west bound. it all looks so interesting, if I ever win lotto I will fly to Sydney and make that trip to Perth. and home again of course.

Katerinas Blog said...

What a coincidence,
these days I'm studying an old roller coaster in my area and I really like it! The train trip you are presenting with the Indian Pacific tourist train would be amazing for me (I love trains).
Once again very interesting post!!
Thank you very much❤️

Andrew said...

I've never taken an overnight sleeper trip on a train, although we had booked one from Brisbane to Cairns in August, which obviously I cancelled. One night to test how we dealt with a sleeper train and then maybe a longer one such as the Indian Pacific. I'm pleased you enjoyed your trip.

jabblog said...

It seems a perfect way to travel across a vast and ever-changing country.

Margaret D said...

Must be a great ride with lots to see along the way. Thanks for sharing as I did learn more about it Hels.

Hels said...


I deserve a holiday this year, even if we have to make a major financial effort to travel!! So do you :)

And of course the trip is not cheap. A single gold cabin in the cheapest season June-July is $2,215. The platinum cabin is more expensive and the Sept-Nov season is also more expensive.

Hels said...


travelling fast in a plane is horrible.. you cannot see anything except the tv in front of your eyes and even getting up to go to the toilet is a struggle.

If time wasn't an issue, most of us would prefer to lie out sleeping in comfort, walk as many ks as we can, eat and drink with friends, and examine fascinating tourist sites en route. Relax is your key world!

Hels said...


if you took the opportunity to take sensational photos on the Indian Pacific, would your role as a photojournalist mean your ticket is legitimately a tax deduction. I would hope so, as long as you pay credit to the Indian Pacific Co under each photo you publish.

Hels said...

Student of History

Learning is important, yes!! See a map of Australia's 3 long-distant, luxury train trips at

and they will be my next holiday plans. I know Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Hobart very well, but the Ghan in particular goes to a part of the world I have never visited.

Hels said...


The cost covers transport, food, drink, hotel quality beds, on board entertainment and off-train excursions. So you can maximise your activities without any extra costs. The off-train experiences in Broken Hill, Adelaide and surrounds, Cook, Rawlinna and Perth are especially important for those who haven't travelled here before.

Hels said...

Thanks River

I changed the east to west immediately. However if you have any documentation of 1970 not being the starting address, please drop me a line.

Don't wait to win the Lotto. You could be dribbling and mumbling in your old age home before that happens. We need to educate and amuse ourselves while we are at our best!

Hels said...


there is something so historical and romantic about trains that all cross-continental trips sound fantastic. Spouse and I first travelled across Canada from east to west, and it was more pleasure than we ever expected. By the time we met our relatives in Winnipeg and Vancouver, we were ready to immigrate to Canada :)

Hels said...


I am not a very good sleeper in the best of circumstances and was not at all certain that a moving train would provide even tolerable sleeping condition. But the bed was a real pleasure and the whiskey drink before lights out also helped :)

The bigger question is if a sociable person, usually surrounded by company, would enjoy travelling alone. Fortunately the social life in the lounge and the music area is lovely.

Ирина Полещенко said...

Dear Helen! How great it is to travel on such a train! It is very cozy and comfortable!

Hels said...


if you have never been to the Blue Mountains, see the dramatic rugged region west of Sydney with mountainous cliffs, rich eucalyptus forests and waterfalls. The next day, see the cultural and church architecture of Adelaide, then the endless, flat and treeless Nullarbor Plains :)

Hels said...


we live on a big continent, nod. So there is so much of Australia left to see, even for us locals. I lived in Perth for 2 years, but apart from the corner of the state south of Perth, I have never seen the other 95% of WA.

Hels said...


all large nations and continents had to create large, safe and affordable transport systems as early as possible. Russia, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Brasil etc etc. The truly luxurious trains were only likely to continue when there were enough wealthy customers (locals and tourists) to make it financially worth while.

Parnassus said...

Hello Hels, Although I like the idea of going to different places, the process of travel is my worst nightmare. I once took a train from Boston to Cleveland and still have nightmares about it. I always feel ill, whether on a train, plane or boat. Moreover, when you have limited vacation time, transportation that takes time in itself cuts into your ability to do other things at your destination.
p.s. I will admit that I once dreamed of taking about two weeks to drive up the Hudson River Valley in New York state (in autumn), stopping and exploring at my own whim. But that kind of flexibility would require an automobile.

Hels said...


I understand that some people will never, ever be able to suffer travel by train, plane or boat. My own beloved, however, is only totally hopeless on ships. On the rare ships we went on in the last 54 years, he got into bed on the first day and didn't open his eyes till we arrived at the final destination. Despite being an experienced doctor, he still has no medication that works :(

However limited vacation time is not the best opportunity to travel slowly, visit new places, take photos, meet friends/relatives and attend lectures/museums. Each train or plane hop needs to be short, enjoying far more time on the ground than on the transport.

Luiz Gomes said...

Boa tarde, excelente domingo e um bom início de semana. Gostaria muito de fazer uma viagem assim.

Hels said...


If you have the time, money and travelling companion, I would warmly recommend a cross-country, luxury train trip, especially with tours in parts of the country you have never visited before. Four days of train travel and off-train excursions is probably enough.

Take lots of beautiful photos!

Gattina said...

Must have been a wonderful trip ! I once did a steam train tour in Cornwall it was very romantic !

Hels said...


great idea... that is a very pretty part of the UK.

I think the Orient Silk Road Express would be truly wonderful, going from Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand to Almaty. However 13 nights might be just a bit long for people of my age.

Romance Reader said...

Looks so awesome. I'd love to do this one day.

hels said...

Romance Reader
I hope you do.
Everything changed in Feb 2020 with the Covid lockdowns. Now the travel plans sound more like vague dreams.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Hels - I love those train trips ... I wouldn't mind travelling across Canada ... I've been on the Blue Train from Cape Town to Johannesburg. But I'd like to be able to get off at places for a day or two ... and then get on the next one ... I've been over the Rockies too ... still the Aussie one sounds a great trip. Cheers Hilary

Hels said...


long train trips are fantastic, yes indeed. As long as you have plenty of off-train sites to explore, good friend(s) on board, reading and listening material, and a passion for new foods and wines. My favourite long train trip was Canadian, from Vancouver overland to the east.

The Eastern and Oriental Express is a luxurious train trip that I am still planning because of a keen interest in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.