There are two main train journeys that run across Australia, the Indian Pacific and the Ghan.
Neither need to be booked in their entirety if shorter journeys suit your travel plans and a 'flexifare' will allow you to break your journey to explore places in more depth. Both trains make stops to refuel and take on provisions, presenting an ideal opportunity to take one of the optional off-train tours that can be purchased on board.
There's a choice of carriages on board both The Ghan and Indian Pacific that we would recommend. Choose from Gold Service, which offers comfortable cabins with compact en suite facilities and seats that convert into a sleeper berth in the evening, or upgrade to Platinum Service with larger cabins with full en suite bathrooms.
Platinum and Gold Service guests on both trains can dine in the restaurant cars where all meals and drinks are included.
Start planning your rail journey in Australia
The Indian Pacific
The Indian Pacific is one of the world's great rail journeys, extending across the entire length of Australia. Connecting the Indian Ocean in the west with the Pacific Ocean in the east, the train takes four days and three nights to complete the 2,704 miles (4,352 kilometres) route between Perth and Sydney via Adelaide.
As with all great train journeys, the Indian Pacific reveals some beautiful scenery as it winds through a varied landscape of Outback deserts, farming land, valleys and mountain ranges.
Take advantage of the 'flexifare' available on both the Indian Pacific and The Ghan and travel from Sydney to Adelaide, via historic Broken Hill. In Adelaide take a short flight to Kangaroo Island and enjoy the island's wildlife. You can then rejoin the train and continue to the Outback town of Kalgoorlie and on to Perth.
Day 1: Depart Sydney on Wednesday afternoon on the Indian Pacific.
Day 2: Arrive early in the morning at Broken Hill, where you'll enjoy a tour learning about the town's mining history as well as visiting the Flying Doctor base.
Day 3: You have a full day of wildlife viewing from a 4x4 vehicle with a knowledgeable local guide.
Day 4: Today you have another day of exploring before flying back to Adelaide.
Day 5: Visit some of cosmopolitan Adelaide’s attractions before re-boarding the train.
Day 6: Arrive in Kalgoorlie to see the floodlit 'superpit' goldmine and the heritage architecture. The train departs later in the evening.
Day 7: Your train arrives in Perth in the morning.
Indian Pacific Train, Perth
Torrens River, Adelaide
Indian Pacific Train, Kalgoorlie
The Ghan is the second of Australia's great long-distance train journeys and cuts through the heart of the country, running from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south. This historic track extends 1,851 miles (2,979 km) and follows an old pioneer route through the red deserts of the Australian outback.
The train stops at Alice Springs, which provides an opportunity to get out for a few days and take an excursion to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
After exploring the Red Centre, Uluru, Kata Tjuta and the MacDonnall ranges, you board the Ghan on Wednesday morning in Alice Springs and head south. Instead of heading directly to Adelaide you will make a stop in the middle of the outback in the opal mining town of Coober Pedy.
Day 1: The train departs in the morning and you'll disembark in the evening at Manguri, where you will be met and driven to your hotel in Coober Pedy.
Day 2: Spend the day exploring the Moon Plains and Painted Desert as well as the underground buildings of the town.
Day 3: You have another day to explore this quirky town.
Day 4: The train will stop to collect you in the evening at Manguri and will then continue on overnight to Adelaide.
Day 5: Arrive in to Adelaide.
The Ghan, Alice Springs
Alice Springs, Australia
The Painted Desert, Coober Pedy