Traverse the continent on this epic train trip between Sydney and Perth, exploring Australia's Outback in style.
By Alissa Jenkins
Few train journeys are as epic as the Indian Pacific. From Sydney on Australia's east coast across the entire continent to Perth in the west, it passes through landscapes as varied as the spectacular Blue Mountains and the endless flat, otherworldly stretches of the Nullarbor Plain. Expect comfortable cabins, excellent food and fascinating day trips, which differ on the return route.
Board at Sydney's Central Station and settle into your cabin, where you'll spend the afternoon taking in the scenery as it transforms from skyscrapers and traffic lights to the forested valleys and sandstone cliffs of the stunning Blue Mountains. Your on-board radio includes an audio commentary option.
As the sun sets behind mountain ranges you will begin to enter the more arid regions of New South Wales, characterised by hardy mulga (a small native Australian tree) and vast plains. After dinner in the dining car, meet fellow guests in the Outback Explorer Lounge for a welcome drink.
The day begins in Broken Hill, formerly a booming mining town, which has inspired an array of artists over the years with its distinctive desert landscape. On a one-hour walking tour, explore the city's iconic Living Desert Sculptures then visit the Pro Hart Gallery, where you'll learn all about one of Australia's most celebrated artists, whose works capture the spirit of the Outback.
After an on-board lunch the journey continues into the green and golden fields of South Australia's food bowl. You have a choice between two off-train excursions: spending the afternoon and evening in the vibrant city of Adelaide, or the picturesque Barossa wine region. Guests who choose Adelaide can expect a walking tour taking in some of the city's highlights, including the North Terrace precinct, the Rundle Street café scene, Lake Torrens, the Adelaide Oval Cricket Ground and the Adelaide Botanic Garden, before an indulgent dinner at the National Wine Centre. Alternatively, the Barossa excursion takes you to some of the region's world-class boutique wineries, where you can learn about the winemaking process and enjoy private tastings, before dinner at the popular Yalumba Signature Cellar. Afterwards, all guests rejoin the train in Adelaide to begin the journey across the Nullarbor Plain.
You’ll be greeted at sunrise by the striking, raw beauty of the Nullarbor. Taking its name from the Latin for "no trees", this vast Outback plain has bewildered and inspired generations of Australians and visitors alike. A seemingly endless expanse of rusty earth and hardy Outback shrubs, the Nullarbor covers 200,000 square kilometres (77,000 square miles) of South Australia and Western Australia and is considered a "bucket list"' experience.
Having entered Western Australia, celebrate crossing Australia's most famous plain with a special dinner in the remote outpost of Rawlinna. Here Platinum and Gold Service guests are invited to disembark and partake in a traditional lamb roast dinner under the bright stars of the Outback sky. Surrounded by nothing but vast sheep stations (the nearest town, Kalgoorlie, is more than 400 kilometres, or 250 miles away), this is one alfresco dining experience to remember.