The Indian Pacific – Australia’s most iconic rail journey

Last Updated: 19 Jun 2024
Holly Younge

The Indian Pacific is Australia’s most iconic train journey and the only train trip in the world taking passengers from the Indian to the Pacific Ocean and includes the longest stretch of straight track in the world (478km), making it a bucket list experience for train enthusiasts from across the globe.

This incredible 4,352km trip from Perth to Sydney was first made possible in 1970 after the finalisation of gauge conversion projects meant passengers no longer had to change trains.

If leaving from Perth, the trip takes three nights and departs every Saturday at 4.30 pm and arrives in Sydney the following Wednesday at approximately 12.25 pm. The return trip departs Sydney at 2.20 pm on Wednesday and arrives in Perth at 1 pm on Saturday. There are also plenty of side trips, stopovers and alternative timetables available, including a stopover in Adelaide and the Blue Mountains.

When departing from Perth, the first day passes through the beautiful Avon Valley and the Wheatbelt, stopping overnight in the historic mining town of Kalgoorlie. On day two, the train crosses the famous Nullarbor Plain into South Australia, making an overnight stop at the small ghost town of Cook. The train arrives in Adelaide on the third day giving passengers time to explore the town before departing for Broken Hill in the afternoon. The train continues overnight and on the final day, passengers wake to the stunning Blue Mountains before reaching Sydney in the afternoon.

Single and double cabins are available with ticket prices for a double starting from $7,000 per couple. Visit https://www.australian-trains.com/indian-pacific for availability and bookings. Tickets book out early so you will need to plan your journey well in advance.


Your Cabin

The Indian Pacific offers several cabin types offering varying degrees of luxury with pricing ranging from $3890 pp to $6090 pp (advance purchase June – July 2025). All fares include meals, two-course lunches and four-course dinners for Platinum and Gold Premium passengers. Gold guests have three-course dinners and access to the fabulous Queen Adelaide Restaurant Car and the Outback Explorer Lounge.

The Gold Service is the least expensive cabin with prices starting from $2890 pp for singles and $3190 pp for couples (both advance purchase June – July 2025). The Gold Twin with private ensuite is the most popular cabin and is arranged as a three-seater lounge that converts into a bed. The Gold Single is a smaller private room with shared facilities at the end of each carriage and a convertible seat that also turns into a bed.

Gold Premium Twin/Suite cabins cost from $3890 pp and are more spacious, including a three-quarter size double bed, fold-down upper berth and private lounge. The Gold Premium cabins have their own ensuite, DVD player, bar fridge and lounge seating that converts into upper and lower sleeping berths.

For the ultimate luxury experience, the Platinum cabins start at $6090 (everyday price for June – July 2025) and ensuites are almost double the size of the Gold Premium ensuites. Theyinclude the option of twin and double beds, deluxe lounge seating, a table, two ottomans, stylised fittings and a private lounge that converts into a double bed. Platinum guests also have access to Platinum transfers, the Platinum Club, in-cabin dining and a more expansive food and wine menu.


Perth to Sydney journey

As per the 2025 timetable, the Perth to Sydney journey takes four nights and five days, departing from Perth every Saturday at 4.30 pm and arriving in Sydney on Wednesday at 12.25 pm. Travelers also have the option to stay in Adelaide and continue their journey later, or disembark for various tours in the Blue Mountains (8 am – 1.15 pm) and then catch the NSW Train Link via private charter to Sydney in the afternoon.

There are multiple packages on offer, such as the 11-day train tour organised by Journey Beyond Rail, including a Sydney harbor lunch and dinner cruise and accommodation in Perth, Adelaide and Sydney.

Day 1

Train departs East Perth station on Saturday at 4.30pm. Passengers get to enjoy their first four-course dinner as the train passes through the Avon Valley and Western Australia’s wheatbelt. Travelers wake as the train reaches the historic mining town of Kalgoorlie at 6 am on Sunday morning.

Day 2

Guests are able to learn about one of the biggest discoveries in Australian history by Paddy Hannan in 1893, during an early stopover at the Super Pit mine which dates back to the gold-rush era in Kalgoorlie and continues to operate. Passengers will then reboard the train for brunch before it crosses the South Australian border via the Nullarbor Plain.

Over the border is a stop in Cook, a small ghost town in the middle of the Nullarbor which was originally built as a supporting town to the railway in 1917 and was home to more than 50 people who maintained the tracks.

The stopover in Cook includes an evening under the starry sky and a drink in hand, after exploring the eerie town at your own pace in the afternoon.

Day 3

After leaving Cook on night two, passengers arrive in Two Wells at 3.25 pm on Monday and are transferred by coach to Seppeltsfield Winery in the Barossa Valley to enjoythe latter part of the day wine tasting, a ‘firing of the barrel’ display, a special tasting of 100-year-old vintage Tawny (for Platinum guests) and dinner in the vintage cellar.

After returning to Adelaide via coach, the train departs at 10.40 pm for Broken Hill in NSW but travellers also have the option to break their journey and enjoy a few days in Adelaide.

Day 4

On Tuesday morning at 7.10am, the train pulls into Broken Hill where guests have the chance to explore the city and take a guided history and arts tour and Australia’s first heritage-listed city, Silver City.

Day 5

At 8 am on Wednesday, the train arrives in the Blue Mountains. Passengers can opt to continue with a morning tour in the Blue Mountains and depart Katoomba on the New South Wales train link via a private charter, arriving in Sydney at 3.15 pm. Alternatively, passengers can skip the experience altogether, remaining on the Indian Pacific to arrive in Sydney at 12.25 pm.

The tours on offer are hosted by Scenic World and are the Scenic Skyway, the Scenic Cableway, a visit to Echo Point Lookout and lunch upon the edge of the Katoomba escarpment. For details of the tours see below:

The Blue Mountains is a World Heritage-listed region and is worth a visit. After disembarking the train, you will head to Scenic World for four awesome experiences. First, the Scenic Skyway will carry you over the ancient ravines and features of the Three Sisters, the Jamison Valley and of course, Katoomba Falls.

The Scenic Cableway will take you over and deeper into the forest, descending a total of 500 meters to the floor of the valley. After hopping off the cableway, you’ll board the Scenic Railway which is the steepest passenger railway in the world.

If the Scenic Skyway and Cableway is not for you, there is an expert guided tour on offer which will take you through the forest and enjoy the views from multiple lookouts on the 3km trail. Be mindful that there are varying elevations and uneven ground on this trail. Enclosed shoes are required for this activity.

Returning from your chosen tour is a short walk to the Echo Point Lookout which sits on the edge of the Katoomba escarpment and lunch is spent with a view before reboarding a private charter to carry you to your destination, Sydney.

Sydney to Perth journey

The journey from Sydney to Perth takes three days and four nights and departs every Wednesday at 2.20 pm, arriving in Perth on Saturday at 1 pm. There arefewer stopovers, which are Broken Hill, Adelaide, Cook and Rawlinna.

Day 1

Travelers depart Sydney Central Station at 2.20 pm and wind through the famous Blue Mountains with refreshments on offer and the first on-train meal is served at dinnertime. The journey takes approximately 15 and a half hours until the first stopover is reached the next morning.

Day 2

Morning

The train arrives at 6 am for the Broken Hill morning stopover before continuing via Two Wells toward Adelaide.

There are several options for off-train activities in Broken Hill for example, you can visit the Miner’s Memorial which stands over the town, representing over 800 miners who lost their lives working in Broken Hill.

You can pay a visit to the Living Desert, a miraculous art display designed by international artists representing the unlikely art hub that is Broken Hill. This desert is a beautiful, permanent installation which guests can view the 12 sandstone works as they sit on a hill in the Living Desert Reserve, a 180-hectare flora and fauna sanctuary. This activity is great for those interested in photography as the view of the New South Wales outback is said to be breathtaking.

You could also visit the Regional art gallery which happens to be the oldest regional art gallery in NSW. The gallery produces a program of locally designed exhibitions each year and a selection from these works becomes part of the permanent display in the upstairs gallery.

Explore the main drag on foot with Shelita Buffet, the local Drag sensation as she provides entertaining insight into the mining history, iconic town buildings and art that comprise the eclectic Broken Hill.

A final point of interest is the iconic corner store, the Bells Milk Bar, a confectionery since 1892 and established in the late 1930s. There you can take a step back in time and try the vanilla malt and lime green soda which were regular requests in the 1950s.

Afternoon

After exploring Broken Hill you will arrive in Adelaide at 3.40pm.

If a short trip to sip some wine at one of the world’s premier wine regions sounds right, you can hop off at Two Wells and take a coach to the Barossa Valley for a tasting if that takes your fancy.

Alternatively, there are three other locations you can go to while in Adelaide and its surrounds. Each of these excursions is located approximately 40 minutes by coach from Adelaide’s centre.

The Mclaren Vale Region cellar door experience, boasts a prolific wine region with 30 kilometres of vine growing along the coast. At the Coriole Vineyards (founded in 1967) guests can taste their Shiraz wines which were planted immediately after the Second World War.  The cellar door experience includes a tasting of Coriole’s own olives and a wonderful selection of cow and goat’s milk cheeses. Dinner will then be served at the Star of Greece Restaurant, a staple of fine dining in the Fleurieu Peninsula for more than 20 years.

Hahndorf, is a village offering a piece of Germany in Australia’s south and only a short 40 minutes from Adelaide. Here, you can visit Udder Delights for a cheese and Grunthal Cider tasting whilst hearing about the history of the establishment. After the cheese, you can head on down to the Ambleside distillers to taste the Gin on a guided tour. After these excursions, you will conclude the day at the Haus (a German Restaurant) for dinner before returning to the train via coach.

There is also the opportunity to visit the South Australian Museum and the Central Markets after dark during the afternoon in central Adelaide if you prefer to continue from Two Wells straight to the city and skip the McLaren region and Hahndorf. These tours have a separate exclusive dinner from touring in the outskirts of Adelaide.

After a culturally rich day in South Australia, the train departs Adelaide at 9.20 pm.

Day 3

After a full day of activity in Adelaide, there is a short afternoon stopover along the Nullarbor Plain in Cook.

Veering north-west and away from the Eyre highway, there will be an outback dinner offered at Rawlinna, home to one of Australia’s biggest sheep stations in jackaroo country and five hours journey (by car) to the nearest big town, Kalgoorlie. The Rawlinna Station is home to 80,000 sheep sprawled across two and a half million acres and takes eight hours to muster by airplane.

During winter, Platinum and Gold guests are invited to enjoy drinks and canapes served around a bonfire in the outback, similarly, in the summer (October – March) all are invited to enjoy dinner under the stars as a final celebration before the journey’s end the next day.

Day 4

You will have your final breakfast on the Indian Pacific, before arriving at the East Perth terminal at 1 pm on Saturday.


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