Australia Rail Extravaganza


17-day Independent Tour

First-class

The Tour

This sweep of Australia allows you to experience the continent’s two most famous trains, the Ghan and Indian Pacific, with time to explore Perth, on the west coast, and Darwin, in the north, and fantastic sites in between. This program abounds in UNESCO World Heritage sites, from Kakadu National Park to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas).

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“As we shudder to a halt in Adelaide, I am sorry to leave the Ghan and even sorrier to part from the staff’s excellent care. The service is one of the best aspects of Platinum class…the cheerfulness is genuine.”

— Phoenix Arrien, The International Railway Traveler®

The Itinerary

Day 1: Sydney
Private transfer from the Sydney airport to your hotel. Explore the city at your leisure today.

Day 2: Indian Pacific
Private transfer from your hotel to the train station this afternoon. Step aboard the Indian Pacific and acquaint yourself with the friendly staff and facilities on board.  Relax in your cabin or mingle with fellow travelers in the lounge and enjoy the scenery as you leave Sydney behind, travelling through the majestic Blue Mountains.  Dinner will be served in the dining car.

Day 3: Indian Pacific
Wake up with a coffee as you arrive in Broken Hill, a classic mining town, for an early morning off-train excursion.  Visit the Pro Hart Gallery and learn about one of Australia’s most iconic artists.  Step back on board for breakfast in the dining car as the journey continues, and watch the outback scenery change to the green and gold fields of South Australia.  On arrival in Adelaide, enjoy a leisurely walking tour and a gourmet dinner in the National Wine Centre, or explore the Barossa Valley’s boutique wineries and learn about the wine making process, followed by dinner. After, return to the Indian Pacific.

Day 4: Indian Pacific
Today, travel Australia’s longest single stretch of railway and marvel at the raw beauty of the Nullarbor which gets its name from the Latin meaning ‘no trees’.  The ancient Nullarbor conjures the sense of limitless space and time.  Arrive in Rawlinna this evening for a short stop to enjoy the brilliant desert stars.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the dining car.

Day 5: Perth
Free day in Perth.

Day 6: Perth to Darwin
Fly Perth-Darwin* today, check into Darwin Central Hotel.

Day 7: Darwin to Kakadu National Park
Depart Darwin and travel along the Arnhem Highway, their major river systems and wetlands, into Kakadu National Park, where you will stay at the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel. There is the opportunity for an optional 50 minute scenic flight in the afternoon (not included).

Please note: The order of touring may change during wet season.

Day 8: Kakadu National Park to Darwin
This morning join your Driver Guide to explore the World Heritage Area of Ubirr, where you’ll climb up through the ancient Aboriginal rock art galleries, believed to be 20,000 years old, to the lookout for a view over the surrounding wetlands. Join the Guluyambi Cruise on the East Alligator River. With special permission of the local people, you are able to go ashore in Arnhem Land. Visit the Bowali Visitor Centre before returning to Darwin, where your short break concludes.

Note: In April & November to March if weather conditions preclude access to East Alligator region, alternative touring will be arranged on day 2.

Day 9: Darwin
Free day. Optional tours available.

Day 10: Darwin-The Ghan
Step aboard the legendary Ghan this morning and acquaint yourself with the friendly staff and facilities on board before enjoying lunch in the classically styled Queen Adelaide Restaurant.  Relax in your cabin or mingle with fellow travelers in the Lounge car.  Arrive in Katherine early afternoon and take a leisurely cruise on the Katherine River or gain an insight into the traditional owners of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, the Jawoyn people, with a tailormade cultural experience.  You may choose to upgrade your excursion with a scenic helicopter flight providing magnificent views over Kakadu and Nitmiluk National Parks (own expense).  Dinner will be served on board in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant.

Day 11: The Ghan to Alice Springs
Wake up to the wonders of the Red Centre.  Breakfast is served in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant prior to arrival in Alice Springs.  Embark on one of the off train excursions to explore this outback town.  You may choose to upgrade your excursion with a scenic helicopter flight over the spectacular MacDonnell Ranges or Uluru and Kata Tjuta (own expense).  Dine in Alice Springs this evening beneath a canopy of stars at an authentic Outback Bush Barbecue.

Day 12: The Ghan
After breakfast, arrive in Manguri and disembark for a tour to Coober Pedy, the sun-scorched opal mining capital of the world where more than half the residents live underground.  Venture into the town’s underground tunnels and caves and enjoy a gourmet lunch beneath the earth’s surface.  Return to The Ghan with time to relax before dining in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant this evening.

Day 13: The Ghan-Adelaide
See the dramatic change in the landscape this morning as the rich ochre tones of the outback change to the beautiful green fields and pastoral lands of South Australia.  Breakfast is served in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant prior to arriving in Adelaide. Overnight at The Playford Adelaide.

Day 14: Adelaide-Uluru/Ayers Rock
Flight from Adelaide-Ayers Rock*.
While the sun sets, take in the sights of the famous Uluru and domes of Kata Tjuta as you feast on a BBQ buffet of authentic Australian delicacies, including barramundi, kangaroo, emu and crocodile, bush salads, and classic desserts, complemented by Australian wines. Savor some of the world’s best stargazing as your star talker takes you on a tour of the spectacular southern night sky. As you wind down after dinner, you are offered a choice of tea, coffee, or port. Coaches will then be waiting to transport you back to your accommodation.

Day 15: Uluru/Ayers Rock
You will travel towards Uluru, its vast shape rising from the sand dunes in the early dawn light, highlighting its presence in this country. Your guide will take you to a special location to watch the sun rise over this amazing monolith.  After breakfast you will visit Mutitjulu Waterhole and then drive around the base of the Uluru before returning to the resort.

Travel to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to a place where unique flora and fauna thrive – Kata Tjuta (The Olgas).  As you arrive at Walpa Gorge, walk between the mighty conglomerate domes and hear how these 36 domes that make up Kata Tjuta have evolved over millions of years.  Take time to listen to the wind (Walpa) far above and view the scale of the rock walls that surround you. Your guide will return you to your hotel in time for those people joining the Sounds of Silence dinner.

Day 16: Cave Hill Tour
Cave Hill tour is an Indigenous cultural experience that will provide visitors with an insight into everyday Aboriginal life. Journey by 4WD, relax and enjoy a trip deep into the desert of the Pitjantjatjara Lands of Central Australia. The highlight of the tour is the magnificent cave paintings – possibly the most significant art site in Central Australia. Climb to the top of Cave Hill to admire a 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding countryside, including Uluru, Mount Conner, and the imposing Musgrave Ranges.  After lunch, head back to Ayers Rock Resort, where you will arrive late afternoon.

Day 17: Uluru/Ayers Rock-Sydney
Flight from Ayers Rock to Sydney today.*

*Flights not included in the pricing.

2017 Dates:

October 17, 24
November 7, 14, 21, 28
December 5, 12, 19, 26

2018 Dates:

January 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
February 6, 13, 20, 27
March 6, 13, 20, 27
April 3, 10, 17, 24
May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
June 5, 12, 19, 26
July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
August 7, 14, 21, 28
September 4, 11, 18, 25
October 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
November 6, 13, 20, 27
December 4, 11, 18, 25

The Prices

2017 Pricing
17-day tour: Sydney-Perth; Darwin-Adelaide
Accommodations
Price
Deposit
Double
$10,761
AUD
15%
Single
$18,508
AUD
15%
Upgrades available
Upgrade to Platinum
Service on the Ghan
$1,717
AUD,
double
$2,532
AUD,
single
Upgrade to Gold
Service sole use of double
$1,700
AUD
on Indian Pacific
$1,672
AUD
on Ghan

Other

Tour priced in Australian dollars. For approximate exchange rates, visit http://www.xe.com.

*Whistle Stop tours included with Gold and Platinum service only; flights not included in the pricing.

While IRT recommends Gold Kangaroo or Platinum service, there is the less-expensive Red Kangaroo Service. Please inquire. Prices we offer here assume Gold Kangaroo service. Note we offer pricing for sole use of a double on both Indian Pacific and Ghan. Our single travelers tell us that it is far more comfortable for them than the usual single cabin.

Latest News: Click here for Track 25, our blog, for the latest news on this and other tours on our World’s Top 25 Trains™.

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The Highlights

World-famous Indian Pacific journey from Sydney to Perth, with meals included on board
The Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide
Experience the new Platinum service on The Ghan (optional)
Kakadu National Park
Kata Tjuta and Uluru
Tour the western city of Perth by replica 1899 tram
The Ghan at The Darwin Terminal, Northern Territory.  (Photo courtesy of Great Southern Rail)
The Ghan at The Darwin Terminal, Northern Territory. (Photo courtesy of Great Southern Rail)
The Indian Pacific.  (Photo courtesy of Great Southern Rail)
The Indian Pacific. (Photo courtesy of Great Southern Rail)
The Ghan crossing over Elizabeth River.  (Photo courtesy of Great Southern Rail)
The Ghan crossing over Elizabeth River. (Photo courtesy of Great Southern Rail)
Indian Pacific locomotive.  (Photo courtesy of Great Southern Rail)
Indian Pacific locomotive. (Photo courtesy of Great Southern Rail)