Indian Pacific train, Australia

Travel Through the Australian Outback By Train

The Australian Outback is a vast and unusual landscape filled with exciting old towns and attractions perfect for exploring by land. Rail holidays are a great way to combine your accommodation and transport so that all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the journey, as you rumble through some of the most dynamic scenery in the world. Combined with luxury cabins and world class service, there really is no better way to explore the land down under. Here are some tips for travelling by rail on your Australia vacation:


Route: Darwin – Alice Springs – Adelaide (or vice versa)
Duration: 3 days, 2 nights
Distance: 2,979km

The Ghan Train, Outback, Australia
The Ghan train

On this exciting 3-day journey aboard The Ghan, you will travel through some of the most remote areas of Australia, with the chance to hop off and explore fascinating attractions of the Northern Territory and South Australia. Hop off and enjoy a variety of off-board excursions, starting with a Katherine Outback Experience and an optional scenic flight over this incredible national park. Next, you’ll explore Alice Springs, where you can enjoy an optional helicopter flight over the McDonnell ranges to view the desert from the air, or perhaps a serene camel ride across this incredible Ochre land. Other highlights could include a visit to the Alice Springs Desert Park, or an optional helicopter across the ancient McDonnell Ranges.  Finally, a last delicious dinner will be served as the train travels overnight to Adelaide.


  • This journey is best travelled southbound. Fly into Darwin and enjoy a relaxing journey back to the vibrant city of Adelaide.
  • Extend your trip with a spot of wine tasting along the Barossa Valley, explore Kangaroo Island, and browse the famous Central Market
  • Best time to travel is from October onwards, when you can escape the northern hemisphere winter and enjoy the heat of the Australia Outback.
  • Book Gold Class and enjoy a private cabin with all meals and drinks in the restaurant car included. Other extras include complimentary transfers, extra luggage allowance, and in-cabin music and audio travel commentary. Splurge a little more and upgrade to Platinum Service and you can enjoy all the comforts of Gold Class, but with your own en-suite bathroom.

Suggested Itinerary:
4-Day The Ghan Expedition

Darwin City Waterfront, Northern Territory, Australia
Darwin city waterfront
Barossa Valley Sunset, Australia
Beautiful sunset over a Barossa vineyard


Route: Sydney – Adelaide – Perth (or vice versa)
Duration: 4 days, 3 nights
Distance: 4,352km

The Indian Pacific Train, Australia
The Indian Pacific train

The Indian Pacific is a 4-day rail journey that travels from Sydney to Perth, via Broken Hill, Adelaide, Cook, and Kalgoorlie. Travelling along the longest stretch of railway track in the world – the Nullabor, known as the land without trees, you can enjoy off-board excursions such as exploring the mining town of Broken Hill, a day in Adelaide or the Barossa Valley, and a roast lamb dinner under the stars in Rawlinna. Other attractions include passing through Avon Valley before arriving in Perth.


  • This trip can be travelled in either direction
  • Extend your journey with a few days in Perth, where you can enjoy a city tour or a day trip to Margaret River
  • Other routes are available on the Indian Pacific, including Sydney to Adelaide or vice versa (1 night, 2 days) and Adelaide to Perth or vice versa (2 nights, 3 days)

Suggested Itinerary:
12-Day Trans Continental Classic

Sydney Opera House and Bridge, Sydney, Australia
Sydney Opera House and bridge
Perth Skyline, Australia
Perth skyline

COMBO – Aussie Rail Spectacular

Route: Sydney – Great Barrier Reef, Cairns
Duration: 12 days, 11 nights

Combine an Indian Pacific and Ghan rail experience! This 12-day journey lets you travel from Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef. Starting in Sydney, on board the Indian Pacific, highlights include a stop in Adelaide to explore its wine regions and enjoy a cabaret performance, a night at Kangaroo Island, visiting a sea lion colony and honey farm, and exploring Flinders Chase National Park – home to the famous Remarkable Rocks and Admiral’s Arch. You’ll then board the Ghan train for the last leg of your journey through Alice Springs and Uluru.

12-Day Classic Aussie Rail Spectacular

Seal Bay Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, Australia
Seal Bay Conservation Park on Kangaroo Island
Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island, Australia
Remarkable Rocks in Flinders Chase National Park

Book Early and Save

Book all of your rail journeys in advance to reserve a spot. Rail holidays are quickly sold out and much more expensive during high season. Travel out of season and avoid school holidays for the cheapest fares.

With such vast, remote landscapes, a rail journey is one of the best ways to explore the Australian Outback.

For other travel ideas on your Australian vacation, please visit us at

Share with friends and family
Meg Boyd
Meg Boyd

Downunder Product and Marketing Manager - Melbourne-born Meg arrived in Canada in January with no winter coat, one suitcase, a one week booking at a youth hostel, and a sight-unseen job offer at Goway Travel. She thought she’d stay for a year – that was 12 years ago! Never one to shy away from adventure, Meg has been in the industry for 23 years and has journeyed extensively through Europe, Asia and North America. Meg’s heart however belongs to the South Pacific, including New Zealand, Fiji, and her native Australia.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Get the latest travel trends & hear about the best deals on vacations around the world.

If you’re a Globetrotter, these are the newsletters for you!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x