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Regional Travel,  Travel advice

Train Travel Tips For Australia (All You Need To Know!)

Deciding how to travel Australia’s long distances isn’t easy.

Are you heading from A to B, or interested in the scenery and taking in the journey along the way, on your train travel in Australia?

What’s your time limit, if you have one?

Aside from a road trip by car along the Australian coastline or through the middle of the country, one of the best ways to travel is by train. 

Trains are an affordable, comfortable option on long distances and often a safe option on long journeys.

The Train trips Australia offers are Metro city trains, regional trains, and signature scenic country trains are all options for train travel in Australia.

Train travel is reasonably safe and one of the best ways to see Australia while getting to your next destination.

This post will assist you in your decision on train travel in Australia and which trains are the best option for you.

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Reasons to choose train travel in Australia

One of the best reasons to choose train travel in Australia is the comfortability of a long trip. 

Choosing one of the train journeys Australia offers, is an enticing option, when you don’t have to drive a car, stop for fuel, and are able to sleep if you wish.

Other positives include travelling in groups while relaxing and taking in the countryside.

Having travelled parts of Australia, as well as overseas by train, I recommend it as a mode of transport. 

Experiencing the coast or countryside, collecting your thoughts in comfort, has long been a romantic notion.

This type of travel provides opportunities for lifelong friends and extra information needed for your trip.

Trains often have large, padded seats and are a lot more comfortable than the cramped seats on airplanes or buses. And for obvious reasons, trains are able to take you to places in Australia that planes cannot.


Metro Trains

Metro Trains, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, are reliable and suited to city commutes.

They are sometimes crowded at peak times, but there are usually plenty in the inner city, heading in all directions to and from the CBD.

Metro Train Itineraries:

The PVT Timetables are online and the APP is available to download.

MYKI Melbourne:

Being from Melbourne, Victoria, I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t explain the MYKI metro card in Melbourne!  A travel card which is difficult to understand, here are the main points:

*You need a valid MYKI card to travel on any public transport in Melbourne.

*Cards are purchased from most railway stations and some shops, and 7-11s, online or buy phone and will be posted in 7 days.

*You need to tap on and tap off when boarding any train or bus.

*TRAMS: from the ptv.vic.gov website

“If you’re travelling in Zone 1+2, remember to touch on. You don’t need to touch off.

*If you’re just travelling in the city’s Free Tram Zone, don’t touch on or off.

*If you’re just travelling in Zone 2, touch on and off for a cheaper fare.

You add money to your mobile account either online or at major train stations and some tram stops.

More information on MYKI here.


Regional Vline Trains:

Regional Vline Trains in Victoria are a comfortable and reliable form of train travel in Australia.

They are fast during peak hours and most have laptop tables, toilets, and drinking water, making this a fast way to commute between regional Victoria and inner Melbourne.

Ensure to review ahead of your journey.  All updates are listed on the PTV website or APP here.

See all detail on regional transport in Victoria here.

Regional transport NSW information is here.

Regional Transport Queensland information is here.

Regional Train Journeys Australia information is here.

Regional Train travel in Australia


Scenic Trains

The two main Scenic Australian train journeys are: The Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide and the Indian Pacific, from Perth to Sydney. 

These trains focus on experience and make long stops at tourist sites for passengers to explore key areas.


The Ghan

The Ghan travels the distance of 2979 km, over two nights.

Of all the scenic Train journeys Australia offers, The Ghan is the most famous.

The Ghan train, named after the Afghan camels and camel drivers who carried supplies to Alice Springs before the railway came, was very slow.

The Ghan train once took 48 hours from Adelaide to Alice Springs. In the early 1980s, a new standard-gauge line opened, taking a more direct route.


See here for The Ghan prices and schedules.

The Ghan, Train travel in Australia


The Indian Pacific

The Indian Pacific covers 4352km, over three nights, and is a Sydney to Perth train.

Previously running twice weekly from Sydney via Adelaide to Perth, the schedule has now been reduced.

See here for current schedules.


The Southern Spirit

The Southern Spirit is a once-per-year journey that takes 14 days from Brisbane to Alice Springs, via Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide.

See here for current schedules.


The Overland

The Overland is a day journey that travels between Adelaide and Melbourne.

This train travels through Australian country towns of Murray Bridge, Bordertown, Nhill, Dimboola, Horsham, Ararat, and Geelong.

The Overland experience offers standard travel or a premium service.
Premium is similar to flying business class, including in-seat dining for breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea.

See departure days and timetables here.


Spirit of the Outback


This is the spectacular overnight 1300 kilometre rail journey from Brisbane to Longreach. A stunning way to see the Queensland outback.

See here for current schedules.


Spirit of Queensland 

This train journey from Brisbane to Cairns, is 24 hours and is 1681 kilometres long.

There is an option to only travel part of the journey and join or leave the journey at stops including Rockhampton, Mackay, and Townsville.

See here for current schedules.

Scenic Train travel in Australia



Great Southern

The Great Southern from Adelaide to Brisbane is only available during December to January.

There are two itineraries, 3 days and 4 days long.

See fares and timetables here.

Train travel prices in Australia

Compared to the fluctuating flight prices, Train travel in Australia is sometimes better suited to those on a budget, with additional time to travel between destinations.


Australian Rail Passes

There is a range of Rail Passes available for international travellers, from outside of Australia. These passes are top value.

Discovery Pass

The Discovery Pass gives you unlimited travel within New South Wales plus interstate rail services to Brisbane and Melbourne on NSW Trainlink.

Queensland Explorer Pass

The Queensland Explorer Pass gives you unlimited travel on most Queensland Rail Travel Train services in Queensland.

Queensland Coastal Pass

The Queensland Coastal Pass lets you travel by rail in one direction between Brisbane and Cairns making unlimited stops en route.

Many travellers combine the Queensland Coastal Pass with the Discovery Pass to travel Australia’s east coast between Melbourne and Cairns.

This ‘Rail Explorer Pass’ lets you travel anywhere on The Overland, The Ghan, and Indian Pacific as often and in any direction, for a three or six month period.


Safety

Train travel in Australia is quite safe, but you will need to be aware, particularly on Metro Trains, especially if travelling at night.

Until the mid 90’s there were train conductors on each metro train and trams but these days, they only wander through every now and then.

The busier carriages closer to the front of the trains tend to be the quietest and safest. Always use your instincts and judge the situation as you see it.

Related posts:

Best Australian Accommodation
Secret Getaways Australia
15 Secret Beaches in Australia


Conclusion

Whether you travel by regional, metro or scenic train, train travel in Australia is one of the easiest ways to see the country in a comfortable way.

To enjoy the journey and see the land you are travelling is un- rivalled as a traveller.

Bear in mind there are restrictions in 2021 with travel between states in Australia, due to COVID numbers.  Each state is different and best to review https://www.health.gov.au/ before travelling interstate.

I have always loved travelling by train when overseas, especially in Europe and America.

The train journey adds a particular romanticism to travel and seeing the countryside.  A time to reflect and take in the journey, or break up the road trip and larger lap of Australia.

Train travel in Australia will assist your travel budget and you will avoid dealing with airports in current times.

Have you travelled by train in Australia?  I’d love to hear from you if you have 😊

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