Great Southern Rail have crafted the ultimate and most luxurious way to cross from one side of Australia to the other through a well paced 4 day all-inclusive journey on the Indian Pacific train. 4,352km later you cross the southern land with stops in Kalgoorlie, Cook, Rawlinna, Adelaide and Broken Hill before arriving in Sydney.
We departed from Perth and did the entire leg right up until Sydney on the Gold Service carriage.
A Luxurious All-Inclusive Train Journey
If you book a Gold or the uber-luxurious Platinum service your entire trip from Perth right up until Sydney (or vice versa) is all-inclusive. From three course meals in the Queen Adelaide restaurant to an open bar and cafe means you won’t need to open your wallet again until you are waving goodbye.
Alongside being able to drink and eat till you drop, if you manage to roll yourself off the train you can jump on any of the off train excursions to see the remote small towns and experiences that you wouldn’t normally plan on visiting.
At the end of the day I can say that I crossed the Nullarbor plain, and that’s an Aussie bucket list item I am so happy to have checked off.
The countryside of Australia drifted by our large screened window as we sat back and took it all in from our Gold Service cabin.
Our three seater couch was ample enough room with a small table to catch up on editing vlogs, luggage storage, power outlets and a personal bathroom fit a toilet, shower and locally sourced Australian conditioners and creams.
Every night whilst we enjoyed dinner, our carriage attendant would transform our three-seater couch into a bedroom that comfortably fit both myself and Jess in a upper and lower bunkbed sleeper topped with two mint chocolate treats.
Speaking of food…
Let us just stop you right here as the food is truly the cherry on top (no pun intended) of this journey. Alongside all dietary requirements being catered the meals blew us away, every.single.time.
Being vegetarian we tasted meals and recipes that inspired us to start crafting back at home. Wether it was our two course lunches or three course dinners we always walked away questioning that second helping of dessert and how they made that pumpkin pastry so colourful.
As well as barista style coffee and regional wine matched to each meal you will end up being like us – and telling everyone about how incredible the tastes were that filled our mouths during every mealtime.
The Off Train Experiences
There is a mixture of variety and choice when deciding which off-train excursion you want to do. Even though it was nice that this train finally allowed us to visit Adelaide for the first time, we found the towns populated by less people than that on the train were a far bigger highlight.
From sunrise walks on the Nullarbor to drag shows inspired by Aussie film Priscilla: Queen of the Desert you should find something of interest worth sharing with your friends once the trip is over.
We will just note that when doing a Great Southern Rail or any train journey in general, it is more about the experience on the train than the cities and towns you see along the way. With most stops being no more than an hour or two, we recommend you look at the off train excursions as a taste of a town rather than a full experience.
The Indian Pacific Experience
Day 1: Boarding the Indian Pacific in Perth
With a big travel day ahead of us and a train to explore, this day is best spent reading a new book, eating all the delicious food and having a few cheeky cocktails in the lounge carriage.
There is a stop in Kalgoorlie at night which consists of visiting Australia’s gold capital through the Hannan’s North Tourist Mine and the gigantic ‘Super Pit’.
Though best seen on the Sydney-Perth version (as done during the day) it was still fun to chuck on a hardhat and climb the ginormous mining trucks.
Day 2: Waking up to watch the sunrise in the middle of Australia
Personally, this was our favourite day on the entire trip. The 5am alarm wake up call was well worth it to step off the train into the very small town of Rawlinna to grab a coffee and watch the sunrise.
From there you go on the longest straight railway in the world, at 478km across the Nullarbor.
The second stop of the day was in Cook with its abandoned hospital, historic jail cells and two couples (total of 4 people) taking resident here – I still don’t know how they do it but it was still fascinating to have a chat with them.
Day 3: Adelaide and Broken Hill (Home of Priscilla)
Another early wake up call (but thankfully there was coffee at the ready) is at the South Australian city of Adelaide. Here the journey ends for some (if you didn’t book to stay on till Sydney) but for others you can head into central Adelaide to explore the markets whilst tasting more food that’s pilled on top of all the food you already ate on the train.
Don’t get too used to the green pastures of Adelaide as you head back into the desert towards the town of Broken Hill. Made famous by the Australian film Priscilla, we recommend you check out the inspired drag show in the Palace Hotel which doubles as a movie set tour.
Day 4: Arriving In Sydney
Enjoy your last incredible breakfast on the Indian Pacific before grabbing those last few drinks from the bar/cafe as your journey comes to an end in Sydney.
4,352km later (and I don’t want to tell you how many calories later too) you will certainly miss your new high-speed home on the tracks as you start planning your next trip… this time North through the belly of Australia aboard the Ghan.
Read More: Things to do in Sydney
Differences Between Departure Cities (Departing Sydney)
We did notice a few differences when departing from Sydney instead of Perth. These are the experiences you will do when doing the east-west trip:
> Barossa Valley Stop: This new stop is located 60km out of Adelaide and includes wine tasting in the picturesque rolling hills of the Barossa Ranges.
> Nullarbor Dinner Under the Stars: As you arrive in Rawlinna during the night you have the option to eat under the stars in the Aussie outback.
> Broken Hill by Day: Instead of the “Main Drag” excursion you have the option to see the Miners memorial and town tour by day.
Book a luxurious journey from Perth to Sydney for AUD$2899 per person twin share.
A big thank you to Great Southern Rail for allowing Flying The Nest to have this luxurious experience. As always, all opinions are our own.
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