Until recently, no train existed that covered the length of the eastern seaboard. Now there is Great South Pacific Express, Australia's own Orient-Express and the first ever train to go the distance from Sydney - with its incomparable harbor - travelling northwards via sun-baked wine country and thundering rivers to Brisbane, locked in permanent summer. And onwards to Cairns, the meeting place of two designated World Heritage sites.
Whether you experience the GSPE for all or part of the route, you will have traveled aboard the only train of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
Travel on the GSPE allows you to plan an itinerary as varied and informal as Australia itself. From Brisbane's sparkling beaches to the tropical paradise of one of the seventy-four Whitsunday Islands, your trip includes everything from an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef to a cable car ride over the tree tops of a tropical rainforest.
Journeys of Distinction can design your holiday to take you even further , both across Australia and beyond.
In a country in which the railway was responsible for opening up so much uncharted territory, this luxurious travelling hotel combines the highest standards of Australian engineering with opulence and comfort.
Air-conditioned throughout, Great South Pacific Express pays tribute to Australia's early railway heritage. Walls are in solid red cedarwood and myrtle, roof panels are fitted with intricate stained glass which reflects the light, creating richness and atmosphere.
Your en-suite compartment is cool and luxurious with plenty of room to stretch out and relax. A steward is on hand twenty-four hours a day.
Long-distance rail travel has its own kind of heady romance. Add to this the sight, sounds, even the scents of an awe-inspiring landscape and you will begin to understand why Great South Pacific Express is the only way to discover Australia.
You can smell the fresh morning air as you wander out onto the Observation Platform. Listen to the sounds of rushing waterfalls, the calls of tropical birds and exotic animals carried on the breeze as the train travels onward and the landscape unfolds. Back inside, sink into a soft chair in one of the train's airy lounges. Explore the smart boutique. Prepare for evening and civilized pleasure of good conversation in the Bar Car. There, a piano plays as the train moves on through the velvet night and you sip a smooth cocktail, prepared flawlessly by the barman. The Dining Car awaits with its white linen, sparkling crystal and heavy silverware. The menu is as fresh and inspiring as the landscape itself. The wines - pure Australian nectar.
Sydney, Ayers Rock, Brisbane, Great Barrier Reef 9 days
- Featuring 2 nights on Great South Pacific Express -
Arrive in Sydney where you are met and transferred to your hotel. Observatory Hotel/Regent Sydney
Today, choose one of the following private sightseeing excursions: Sydney orientation with Harbour cruise; Sydney gardens and galleries; the Hunter Valley wine region. Observatory Hotel/Regent Sydney (B,L)
Board a flight to Ayers Rock this morning, transferring to your hotel on arrival. Sails in the Desert Hotel (B)
This afternoon, a visit to Ayers Rock ends at the "Sunset Strip" scenic viewpoint. Sails in the Desert Hotel (B)
After a visit to Ayers Rock, visit the Aboriginal Cultural Center. Later, fly to Brisbane and check into your resort hotel. Stamford Plaza (B)
Board Great South Pacific Express this morning to travel northward toward the Great Barrier Reef. Great South Pacific Express (B, L, D)
After breakfast, you begin your Great Barrier Reef experience: an excursion by seaplane or helicopter to the Outer Reef where you learn about this unique ecosystem and enjoy a midday picnic lunch. Great South Pacific Express (B, L, D)
Enjoy breakfast in your compartment en route to Kuranda. Disembark at Kuranda to an Aboriginal welcome before a thrilling Skyrail cable car ride. Continue on to Cairns and transfer to your hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure. Sheraton Port Douglas (B)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport, to board a homebound flight. (B)