From a simple mode of transport to a luxury travel experience, train journeys have transformed in more ways than one in Australia over the years. With international currently off the cards, rail travel is set to be one of the best ways for locals to explore their own backyard in 2022.
For many years, trains were seen as an easy – and rather long – way to get from point A to B. You piled in with your family ready to head to the big city for a holiday and glanced out the window maybe once while whinging to your parents ‘are we there yet?’. But passenger services such as The Indian Pacific – which has been around since 1970 – are nowadays all about fine dining and appreciating the vast land that separates the major hubs.
Travelling from Sydney to Perth (and vice versa), the train is one of the country’s most popular rail journeys, with thousands of passengers making the trip each year. In fact, since 2004 over 375,000 tickets tickets for The Indian Pacific have been sold.
Speaking about the train’s success last year in celebration of its 50th birthday last year, Luke Walker, Journey Beyond chief operating offer, told the ABC train travel is “as popular as ever”.
“It’s one of the few transcontinental rail journeys globally,” he told the news outlet at the time. “It’s more about the food and the wine now than the travel … it’s a great way to take in our countryside from the Blue Mountains to the Nullarbor.”
Of course, the outbreak of Covid-19 threw a spanner in the works in 2020 and 2021, but this has created unprecedented demand for travel next year, with spaces filling at extraordinary speed for departures throughout 2022.
Passengers are looking forward to discovering the arid deserts and goldfields, rocky valleys and subtropical savannahs on the 4,352 kilometre journey as the train follows in the footsteps of those who have dared to venture beyond city limits – the legendary adventurers, gold rush prospectors and bush pioneers who forged their lives in Australia’s spectacular, yet unforgiving interior.
And you could join them sooner rather than later, with the Starts at 60 community riding the Indian Pacific together on three departures this Christmas, New Year and Australia Day. The romance, adventure and comfort of rail will all be yours to experience, along with fabulous dining and exclusive off-train adventures.
You could spend hours deep in conversation with your fellow travellers or lose yourself in a lifetime of thoughts as you gaze out the window watching the scenery transform. Then as night falls you can venture into your comfy cabin, which provides the perfect place to relax and recharge.
Gold Service is the most popular level aboard The Indian Pacific, with private cabin accommodation combined with all-inclusive dining, beverages and a range of fascinating off-train excursions at key stops such as the Barossa Valley, the Adelaide Hills and the Blue Mountains.
And solo travellers are far from forgotten. The Indian Pacific offers surprisingly strong value for single passengers, with dedicated sole occupancy cabins often costing less per person than the twin share rate.
As a Starts at 60 reader, you can enjoy some exclusive savings on selected Christmas and New Year departures, with up to $530 off the fare for solo cabins. Learn more here.