Down Under Luxury: Australia Rail Extravaganza

16-day Independent Tour


The Tour

Down Under Luxury: Australia Rail Extravaganza allows you to see the amazing scope of this fabulous country and experience the joy of two cross-continent trains. The great Platinum service on board the Ghan and Indian Pacific allows you plenty of time to be pampered — but also lots of time exploring off the train.  The trains have added fantastic off-train experiences — mostly included, some are additional. You will experience Perth, on the west coast, and Darwin in the north and fantastic sites in between including rain forests, deserts and outback mining towns. This program abounds in UNESCO World Heritage sites, from Kakadu National Park to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas).  All of our Society of International Railway Travelers guests who have taken this independent journey loved it. Now it’s your turn.

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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
Arrive Sydney. Private transfer included to your hotel. Explorer the city at your leisure today as you get your bearings. Soak up Sydney’s gorgeous harbor and natural beauty.

Day 2:  Indian Pacific
Included transfer from your hotel to the train terminal. Board the Indian Pacific at Sydney Central Station this afternoon. Relax in your cabin or mingle in the Outback Explorer Lounge as you leave Sydney behind. Enjoy dinner on board as you head toward the far West toward Perth. Dinner served on board in the classic Queen Adelaide Restaurant.

Day 3: Indian Pacific
The train travels north, pausing in Broken Hill for an early off-train experience. Visit the Pro Hart Gallery and learn about one of Australia’s most iconic artists. Step back on board for breakfast, and watch the scenery change from the outback to the green and gold of South Australia. Upon arrival in Adelaide, enjoy a leisurely walking tour and a gourmet dinner in the National Wine Center. After dinner, return to the train. Meals and overnight on the train.

Day 4: Indian Pacific
Travel through salt lake country and vast Nullarbor Plain — the longest straight stretch of railway in the world. Stop at one of world’s most isolated outposts, Cook. 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. Overnight on the Indian Pacific.

Day 5: Arrive Perth
Today, take in the scenery of Avon Valley over breakfast before arriving in Perth. Transfer to Crowne Plaza Perth or similar for a one-night stay.  Discover Perth’s major attractions, including a replica of 1899 Perth Tram. Cruise Swan River to Fremantle and enjoy scenic tour of historic Port City.  Overnight Terrace Hotel, a historic hotel and a splendid example of terrace style in the late 19th century.

Day 6: Perth to Darwin
Transfer included to the airport today in a deluxe chauffeured car. Fly Perth-Darwin* today, check into Crowne Plaza Darwin.  Airport transfer included to your Darwin hotel.   Darwin is known for its relaxed outdoor lifestyle and enjoyed warm weather all year round. The sea surrounds the city. More than 50 nationalities call Darwin home.

Day 7: Kakadu National Park
Depart Darwin and journey by 4WD to World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Travel to the ancient Aboriginal rock art sites at Ubirr. Learn of the significance connected to these x-ray style paintings. You will also see the delicate Mimi paintings, believed to be older than the x-ray style art. Enjoy lunch in a bush setting before joining an Aboriginal guide for the Guluyambi cruise on the East Alligator River. As you glide along the tranquil waters, learn of the flora, fauna, Aboriginal mythology and history of the region from your guide. Continue on to the Aboriginal land of Hawk Dreaming for those staying on our Exclusive Hawk Dreaming Wilderness Camp. Overnight Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn.

Day 8: Kakadu to Darwin
This morning join your driver guide to explorer Ubirr, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There, you will climb up through the ancient Aborginal rock art galleries. These are believed to be 20,000 years old. You will join the Guluyambi Cruise on the East Alligaro River. An Aborginal guide will provide an insight into their culture, mythology, the river’s food chain, and bush survival skills. With special permission of the local people, you are able to go ashore in Arnhem Land. After your visit, return to Darwin for another overnight.  (Please note order of touring may change during the wet season.)

Day 9: Boarding The Ghan
Enjoy your included transfer from the hotel to the train station. Board the legendary Ghan this morning. Enjoy lunch on board, relax in your cabin. Arrive Katherine early afternoon and take a leisurely cruise on the Katherine River or meet the traditional owners of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge, the Jawoyn people. You can choose to take a scenic helicopter flight (additional cost). Dinner served on board tonight.

Day 10: The Ghan to Alice Springs
This morning on board, wake up to a magical experience: the wonders of the Red Center. Breakfast is served, then take an off-train excursion to explore Alice. (You can choose to take a helicopter excursion, additional expense.) Dine in Alice this evening beneath a canopy of stars at an authentic Outback Bush Barbecue. Arrive Alice Springs.

Day 11: On board the Ghan
After breakfast, arrive in Manguri and disembark for a tour to Coober Pedy. This is the sun-scorched opal mining capital of the world. More than half of the residents live underground. Venture into the town’s underground tunnels and caves and have a gourmet lunch underground. Return to the Ghan and relax before dining in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant this evening.

Day 12: Arrive Adelaide
This morning, you will love the dramatic change in the landscape. It changes form the rich ocher tones of the outback to the beautiful green of South Australia. Breakfast is served in the restaurant before arriving Adelaide. Your transfer is included to your hotel. Overnight one night in the Playford Adelaide. Includes full breakfast. This boutique hotel in the heart of Adelaide is a great location. Explore this South Australian city at your leisure.

Day 13: Ayers Rock
This morning, meet your limousine driver for your transfer to the Adelaide Airport. *Flight on your own arrangements. Our driver will meet you at the Ayers Rock Airport with a sign with your name on it — and take you to the magical land of Uluru, the true Aborginal name for what many people call Ayers Rock. It rises 348 meters high and is one of the country’s most recognized natural landmarks. It dates back 500 million years.  Overnight tonight at the Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock. Breakfast is included daily. Tonight, we arrange for you the Sounds of Silence Dinner — one of the most memorable experiences IRT has had in Australia. In front is Uluru. Behind are the domes of Kata Tjuta and a most spectacular sunset. Sparkling wine, canapes, and a barbecue buffet are all included.  Stargazing the southern night sky is a memorable experience.

Day 14: Uluru Sunrise, Kata Tjuta
Watch the first light of the new day at Uluru as you enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and have an Outback picnic breakfast. You will visit the Mutitjulu Waterhole and drive around the base of the Uluru before returning to the resort.  In the afternoon, you will travel to the western section of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and the immense 36 rock domes of Kata Tjuta. Enjoy a guided walk into Walpa (Olga) Gorge. Marvel at the sheer walls that flank you as you enter the gorge. Learn of the domes’ formation and of the wildlife of the region.

Day 15: Ayers Rock
Today is at leisure and time to do some independent exploring — or just relax. Overnight Sails of the Desert.

Day 16: Sydney and your onward travels
Today, you’ll transfer to the Ayers Rock Airport for your flight to Sydney to connect in time for your international flight home.

*Sightseeing tours are included with Gold and Platinum service; internal flights not included in the pricing.

2018 Dates:

Departs early April 2018 to late October 2018.

2019 Dates:

Departs March 2019. Future dates tba.

The Prices

2018 Pricing
18-day tour: Sydney-Perth; Darwin-Adelaide
Double with Platinum service on Ghan & Indian Pacific
on request


Tour priced in Australian dollars. For approximate exchange rates, visit

*Off-train tours included with Gold and Platinum service only; flights not included in the pricing.

IRT recommends Platinum service for the top class of service. Prices we offer here assume Platinum service. Gold service is available — but our guests who have traveled in Gold missed all the many little extras not offered in this class. Highly recommend you upgrade to Platinum.

Reminder that you must have an electronic visa to enter Australia. This can be organized with your airline. Also, this journey can be done from early April 2018 to late October 2018 and March 2019.

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 train from Sydney to Perth, with meals included on board
The Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide
Experience Platinum service on The Ghan  — IRT’s top recommendation
Kakadu National Park
Kata Tjuta and Uluru
All accommodations, taxes, breakfast daily and all transfers included
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)