If you are going to Australia and have looked for great things to do, a “rail journey” (translated train ride) is something that may have come up, and rightly so. An Australian rail journey is something that one should really try to experience while in Australia (unless riding on a train makes you bored or sick). Besides, Australia is big, and getting around by train is a great way to experience it and not miss anything. There are various rail journeys that you can take and get a wonderful view of Australia. It just depends on how you want to view it.
If you would like to see all of Australia (literally), Great Southern Rail offers you the Ghan. The trip begins in Adelaide and ends in Darwin; you explore Australia from the north to the south through the center of the continent. In the middle of the trip, you can leave the rail in Alice Springs and spend a few hours to a few days exploring more of Australia with Whistle Stop and Optional Tours. You will tour the northern town of Katherine and Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge), after which your rail journey continues until it ends in Darwin.
You can enjoy the trail in a traditional way or in a carriage. You can ride in the $9,600 Governor’s Lounge, which is supplied with 2 televisions, 2 mini-bar fridges and tea and coffee making facilities and private charters can be arranged in between Adelaide and Darwin. This is a one-way fare.
You can also ride in the elite Chairman’s Cottage, which is the best Great Southern Rail has to offer. It accommodates eight guests; there are two double bedrooms sharing a 2-way bathroom and two twin cabins with adjacent bathroom facilities. It comes equipped with a lounge which has a CD and DVD player, a private dining room and a fully equipped kitchen. Guests can dine in either the Queen Adelaide Restaurant or within their carriage (you must pay an additional surcharge if in-carriage catering is required). Of course, if you would like to dine in the privacy of the Chairman’s Car dining room, you will have your meals prepared by your own chef (which costs extra). The Chairman’s Car will run you $17, 520.00 one way. There are other carriages that you can take, as well; just go to the website and ask for a brochure and they’ll email you one.
Currently (through April 1, 2012), you can ride the rail the traditional way and have Red, Gold, or Platinum service. The services/pricing go like this:
Red Service: One-way adult for a sleeper cabin is $1,428. One-way child is $876.00.
This includes a twin-bed share cabin that have two lounge chairs by day that turn into two single level twin beds at night. It has a washbasin, and showers and toilets are located at the end of each carriage. You have full access to the Red Service Diner, where you can ear or have a cocktail.
Gold Service: One-way adult is $2,048. One-way child is $1,422. This includes a hideaway compact toilet, a washbasin and shower. It features a comfortable lounge chair and footrest by day, and single level sleeping by night. Showers and toilets are located at either end of the Gold Service Carriage. You have an in-car sound system that provides music and you have the Lounge Car for entertainment.
Platinum Service: One-way adult is $3,108. There is no pricing available for a child. This includes a full size shower, a vanity with cupboard space, and mirror and toilet facilities. By day you can roam about your cabin, and by night you can convert the cabin into two double or twin beds.
Another great rail journey that Great Southern offers you is the Overland. This time your ticket will take you from Adelaide to Melbourne (and vice-versa, of course). It, too, has Red, Gold and Platinum Service available.
Red Service: One-way adult: $97.00. One-way child: $50.00. You will have comfortable reclining seats with access to the Café Carriage, where meals are available for purchase. (Note: On this trip, there is a Red Service Premium service, which is $144.00 one-way adult and $97.00 one-way child. You get everything the Red service offers, plus complementary orange juice and priority luggage handling.
The Rail Australia is an alliance between all of Australia’s rail operators. It was formed to make it simple for you to find out everything you need to know in one easy place. If you would like to peruse all rail journeys that Australia has to offer, you need only go to their website.
Australia is a wonderful place to explore, and to do it by rail is to do it right.
This guest post article was written and provided by Erica Gustafson who is an avid Australia traveler, freelance writer and digital media consultant for Expedia. When traveling to Australia she enjoys staying at the Vibe hotel Sydney.