Australia's greatest train journey: The Indian Pacific railway

Australia's greatest train journey: The Indian Pacific railway

As the name implies, the Indian Pacific, one of the world’s greatest train journeys gives you two oceans on one of the world's longest and greatest train journeys. But most of your cruising will be across the vast continent of Australia. From the spectacular Blue Mountains to the treeless plains of The Nullarbor, where the train travels the world's longest straight stretch of railway track, you will see unique landscapes unfold and spot a fascinating array of wildlife from the comfort of the lounge or your cabin.

The journey from Sydney to Perth covers 4352kms and in either direction you'll have three nights aboard the great train. There are many things to see along the way as you cross this vast continent. And you can get up close and see many of them when you enjoy an optional off-train sightseeing tour. The great train offers these tours during scheduled stops at Broken Hill, Adelaide and gold rich Kalgoorlie.

History was made when the Indian Pacific left Sydney Central Station on the first direct rail journey across the continent, 49 years ago on 23 February 1970. Tens of thousands of people lined the track to witness what was said to be a symbol of nationhood: the first solid connection between the cities of the east and the isolated west coast.

The journey marked the first time that it was possible to make the entire 4352-km (2,700 miles) crossing in a single rail trip. Prior to 1970 each Australian state operated with a different rail track gauges, meaning that passengers had to change trains many times during the journey.  


“Australia is the only continent in the world that can be crossed coast-to-coast by [a single] train,” says Russell Westmoreland of train operator Great Southern Rail. “The wedge-tailed eagle is the symbol of the Indian Pacific – its massive 2-m wingspan symbolises the epic journey of an adventure that spans a continent.”

The Indian Pacific departs from Sydney and Perth twice a week during the high season. During low season the journey is limited to one return service each week. From the Blue Mountains the train winds through the Great Dividing Range, the salt lakes and sand dunes of South Australia and over the longest straight stretch of rail track in the world as it crosses the Nullarbor Plain. More than 55,000 people a year now experience the journey, which provides a rare window into the endless outback of Australia.

Prepare yourself for the ride of a lifetime on the Indian Pacific – a truly unique rail journey that will see you traverse the Australian outback from coast to coast. This transcontinental rail expedition takes you between two oceans, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean (or vice-versa), visiting a number of quaint rural towns along the way. This luxury train journey is one of the best ways to experience the Australian outback, combing the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure. Read on to find out exactly where a ride on the Indian Pacific will take you. Whether the final destination is west to Perth or east to Sydney, there are opportunities to leave the train and experience some of the region's highlights, creating memories on one of the longest train journeys in the world.

Broken Hill

The first stop on the westbound (Sydney to Perth) route of the Indian Pacific is the quaint outback town of Broken Hill. Broken Hill was established in the 1880s and today serves as a living museum of Australia’s mining history. Broken Hill is somewhat of a time-capsule: its heritage buildings and population of just 20,000 people will transport you back to times of old.

During your stopover in this quintessential mining town, you will partake in Off Train excursions where you will learn about Broken Hill’s fascinating history, visit the Royal Flying Doctor Base and stroll through the inspiring Pro Hart Gallery, where you can admire the outback paintings of its namesake.

The Broken Earth Off Train excursion will take you to the iconic Miner’s Memorial, positioned on the highest point of the Line of Lode remnant mullock heap that dissects the town.

From here, you will be treated to spectacular views of the town. This excursion will also take you to the Palace Hotel bar, featured in the iconic Aussie film “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”.  Gaze out at the seemingly endless red plains that engulf this charming town before hopping back on the train.


Next up is Adelaide, capital of South Australia and rightfully monikered "city of churches". A major part of Adelaide's appeal is how effortlessly it combines history and modernity – it proudly showcases its many colonial buildings and lush parklands whilst cultivating a burgeoning arts and youth culture. 

While stopped in this beautiful city you can choose to partake in one of two Off Train excursions, either a luxurious tour of the Barossa Valley where you will explore the wineries, learn about the wine making process, and indulge in a delectable lakeside dinner at Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop, or a guided walking tour through Adelaide's city centre.

During the Adelaide Walking Tour, you will discover the many historical buildings along the North Terrace, pay a visit to the South Australian Museum and Art Gallery, and take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful Adelaide Botanic Garden.

The excursion concludes with a visit to the National Wine Centre, where you will be treated to a delectable two course dinnercomplete with canapes.

Once you’ve experienced the history and mystique Adelaide has to offer, its back aboard the Indian Pacific where you’ll watch the rolling green hills fade into the distance. 


The last stop-over on the westbound route is Rawlinna, a remote town in Western Australia. Rawlinna is positioned on the fringes of some of Australia’s largest sheep stations, its isolation making it the perfect location to gaze at the clear night sky.

Here you will enjoy an outback lamb roast under the stars, admiring the vastness of the Nullarbor Plain


With only four inhabitants, Cook makes a fascinating addition to the Indian Pacific’s itinerary. Around 1,500 kilometres from Perth, Cook is smack-bang in the middle of the treeless Nullarbor Plain.

This town was established in 1917 to service the many trains that would pass through and sits on the longest stretch of straight railway in the world

Explore this charming ghost town on a self-guided walking tour and experience the eerie sight of its abandoned buildings against the stark backdrop of the Australian outback. 

Once a thriving railway settlement, this isolated outpost is now home to only handful of residents and gives you a true sense of the spirit of the outback.


Stops are slightly different for those travelling eastbound on the Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney. The Kalgoorlie-Boulder stop is exclusive to the eastbound journey and is certainly one to remember. 

Discovered by Paddy Hannan in 1893, Kalgoorlie is one of Australia’s most famous mining towns and has earnt its title as the country’s “Gold Capital”.

During your Off Train excursion in this historical settlement you will visit the minerals exhibition in Hannan’s North Tourist Mine, unwind in the tranquil Chinese Gardens and pay a visit to the expansive Super Pit. At 3.6km long and 1.6km wide, the Super Pit is Australia’s largest open pit gold mine.

A journey on the Indian Pacific will take you through some of Australia's most remote, and fascinating, towns.

The Indian Pacific is an elegantly luxurious train with comfortable interiors. The modern suites with their wooden surroundings contrast to the fantastic retro-Edwardian décor of the dining car, all complete with panoramic windows for perfect observation as the train crosses the vast continent.

Platinum Service

Each Platinum Each cabin has a double bed, a spacious en suite bathroom and full room service; they have all the modern comforts in a classic style, with a distinctly Australian character. By day, cabins are set up lounge-style with a moveable table and two armchairs.


All-inclusive dining, beverages, Off Train Excursions and Outback Experiences; Spacious Double or Twin cabin (almost twice the size of Gold Twin);

Private en suite with separate shower, basin with cupboard space, toilet and Australian bathroom amenities; Power outlets and in-cabin safe; In-cabin music channels and journey audio commentary; Panoramic windows with views on both sides;

Platinum Club access for dining and socialising; Freshly prepared continental breakfasts served upon request in-cabin; Refreshments served in-cabin; Transfers at the start and end of your journey available for guests within 60 km of the terminal; 90 kg checked luggage allowance per guest (3 x 30 kg each).

Gold Service

Each Gold Service carriage either has 9 Gold Twin cabins for up to 18 guests or 16 Gold Single cabins. Gold Twin cabins are available for single use subject to a supplement.


All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant; off-train excursions and outback experiences; Outback Explorer Lounge access; Australian wines, beers, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages; in-cabin safe; in-cabin music channels and journey audio commentary; complimentary Australian bathroom amenities; 60 kg checked luggage allowance per guest (2 x 30 kg each).

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