Exploration of Australia's considerable attractions is possible by car but may require some arduous driving to cover the distances required to get from A to B on the planet's sixth largest country. A far better and easier way to appreciate Australia's diverse open spaces, vibrant cities and natural and cultural wonders is to explore them by train.
An escorted rail tour of Australia with Great Rail Journeys reveals the beauty of this land whilst travelling in comfort on some of Australia's most iconic trains. From the Great Barrier Reef to the Red Centre and from the Blue Mountains to the Barossa Valley your Australian train holiday is guaranteed to be memorable.
This fantastic rail adventure takes in many of Australia's natural wonders, including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and the Blue Mountains. A wonderful train journey on the legendary Ghan from Alice Springs to Adelaide is a real highlight, and time in Melbourne and Sydney to explore completes this holiday of a lifetime.
Enjoy this fantastic adventure taking in many of Australia's highlights including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and the Blue Mountains. Our wonderful tour is crowned with Christmas in Adelaide, and a truly unforgettable New Year's Eve in Sydney, where we admire the amazing fireworks from a ship in the iconic harbour.
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Touring Australia with Great Rail Journeys
With so much to see and do in Australia, it's Great Rail Journeys' goal to introduce our guests to the very best aspects of this amazing country's historical, cultural and natural wonders whilst offering outstanding value for money. Our escorted rail tours of Australia provide an easy, comfortable and exciting way to explore and are worry-free, since return flights, all other transport, quality accommodation, many meals and a fantastic itinerary of destinations and excursions are all included in the cost.
Accompanied by our professional and helpful Tour Manager at all times, you can relax and enjoy the Australian rail adventure of a lifetime knowing that assistance, advice and information is always available whenever you need it.
You'll stay in excellent accommodation too; we choose our hotels based upon their quality, location and value, ensuring that they offer our guests high standards of service and comfort. For their informal atmosphere and service with that extra personal touch we often select reputable family-run hotels for a more relaxing stay.
Australia traveller's guide
By the time the first Dutch explorers set foot in Australia in 1606, it had already been inhabited by aboriginal people for more than forty-thousand years. Despite naming their discovery 'New Holland' the Dutch did not settle here; that honour went to the British who established a penal colony, to which convicts were deported by ship, on 26 January 1788, where the city of Sydney now stands. The date is significant - it is now commemorated annually as Australia Day. As a result of its indigenous and colonial heritage, modern Australia provides an intriguing cultural mix which is represented in aspects such its architecture, music, art, theatre, museums and cuisine.
Australia's sheer size encompasses a diversity of geography and features the world's largest coral reef, several mountain ranges, dense, tropical rainforest, arid desert and vast open plains of grass and scrub. Guests who join us aboard Australia's legendary train The Ghan will encounter many of these incredible landscapes on one of the world's greatest railway journeys between Alice Springs at the country's heart and Adelaide on the south coast.
Size also dictates Australia's complex climates which vary depending upon the region and time of year. Generally speaking, northern Australia from the Red Centre upwards enjoys year-round warmth. Northern tropical regions have a wet season from November to April and a dry season May to October. As you head further south in Australia, and therefore closer to Antarctica, temperatures fall. Other than the tropical regions Australia has four seasons, but as the country is located in the southern hemisphere they are reversed, so December to February is the height of summer, June to August the depths of winter.
Modern Australian cuisine extends far beyond the infamous barbecued shrimp, meat pie and cold lager. Boasting the world's third largest fishing zone, Australia offers some of the finest seafood available with specialities including salmon, lobster, oysters and tuna, as well as the freshwater Barramundi which inhabits Northern Australia's rivers. Roast meats are typically popular and in addition to lamb, beef and pork, kangaroo meat is not uncommon and, in some restaurants, cuts of ostrich or crocodile. Australian delicacies to look out for are stone-baked damper bread, Anzac biscuits and the Moreton Bay Bug; a smaller crustacean relative of the lobster with firm flesh and a distinctive flavour.
Australian greetings are typically informal and relaxed, but whilst an Australian might offer a cheery "G'day mate" it's most appropriate for non-natives to respond with a simple "hi" or "hello".
If you choose to dine out when travelling by train in Australia then do not feel obliged to tip. Although always appreciated by waiting staff, tipping in restaurants has never been common practice. When Australians do tip, they tend to leave 10% of the bill's value if they feel the service warrants reward, and a little more if the service has been exceptional.