We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Travel In Australia

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
2 posts
11 reviews
Save Topic
Travel In Australia

We are thinking about a vacation in 2015 and wondered if train travel might be the best way to travel throughout Australia. We see there is a 3 month pass. Any advice?

I have read the forum on climate. Were were thinking about end of February through March but it sounds like April- May might be better? We like to snorkel so what are the best places and months for this activity?

Oz
Level Contributor
12,514 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Travel In Australia

Hi,

Unless you are true train buffs and have to experience the "Ghan" or Indian Pacific it is much easier, quicker and cheaper to fly between centres and either hire a car and DIY or do tours.

In cities like Sydney or Melbourne public transport is easier than a car as traffic and parking are problematic.

Cheers,

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
Level Contributor
25,418 posts
65 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Travel In Australia

I agree with OZ.

Unless you'd consider catching a train from say Vancouver to Montreal as the ideal holiday - stopping off at every town along the way, dont do it.

With LCC fares advanced purchased from as little as $49, so much easier flying and making the most of your destination. Then if you need to, catch a bus to nearby destinations from the city.

Edited: 04 October 2013, 00:46
Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin
Level Contributor
4,502 posts
50 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Travel In Australia

Another vote here for flying - less time travelling means more time for doing fun stuff

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
216 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Travel In Australia

Flying is the best, quickest way around Australia unless you have months to spend. If you like snorkelling then cairns and surrounds would be the best spot. Plenty of day trips out to the great barrier reef. The further north in Australia you go, the hotter/more humid and possibly more torrential rain in Jan/feb. I would say coming from Vancouver, May might be better if you want to see Qld or NT. Try to avoid easter hols/anzac day in April if you dont want crowds.

Quainton, United...
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
8,217 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Travel In Australia

Flying isn't the best way because you see nothing from 35,000 feet - and for speed and cheapness you'll find viewing Australia on Google Maps from your own home even quicker and cheaper than flying and about as soulless! ;0)

There are some wonderful relaxing rail journeys around Australia, and you get a feel for the vastness of the continent which you don't get if you jet everywhere in a rush (and frankly, when I went there from the UK, 24 hours cooped up inside a plane to get to Oz in the first place was quite enough until it was time to come home again!)

A good place to start is www.railaustralia.com.au/whichRailJourney.php which has route map and info for all routes and trains.

The Ghan from Adelaide to Alice Springs and the Indian Pacific from Sydney to Adelaide to Perth being the most famous, see www.greatsouthernrail.com.au. I've done both and loved them - they're basically cruise liners on land, with sleepers, lounge-bar, restaurant.

More purely transport-orientated trains link Sydney with Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane, you can book these online at www.nswtrainlink.info - A couple of friends and I used the overnight Sydney to Melbourne XPT train in the comfy sleeping-car which was great fun, saved a hotel bill and was pretty time-effective too, and we came back by day just to see what real ground-level Victoria and NSW were like outsde the cities and sights.

Queensland also has some handy train routes linking Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns, see www.queenslandrailtravel.com.au

I'm not sure I'd recommend a rail pass, as you need reservations and have to pay the upgrade to sleepers anyway and it may be better to simply book the trains you want online in advance at the cheapest prices unless you're sure a pass will save money and can buy from an agency which also makes all your reservations at the same time.

Hervey Bay...
Level Contributor
3,750 posts
400 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Travel In Australia

I wouldn't recommend catching long distance trains for the whole 3 months. However, a train such as the Ghan is a once in a life time experience which I highly recommend.

Australia can get pretty hot in February and its also the wet season in northern Queensland so it may make for some unbearable days of high temperatures and high humidity. Similarly, if you are considering visiting the Northern Territory and in particular Ayers Rock it is most likely to be 40+ degrees C.

I'd come in March/April. You can still go to the GBR then and do all sorts of activities plus the kids are back at school so its a bit cheaper (unless you come during the Easter school holidays).

Nova Scotia
Destination Expert
for Nova Scotia
Level Contributor
11,567 posts
167 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Travel In Australia

It was 39 in Yulara (Uluru) on Sept. 23 the day we left. I would not go in later spring or summer.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
612 posts
68 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Travel In Australia

Particularly in the eastern states; Queensland, NSW, Victoria; by careful use of the timetables a rail pass can be worthwhile. Use the website links in the post by The Man in Seat61.

The rail pass is for seats only. Meals, First class & sleeping compartments cost extra. Overnight travel is only recommended in sleeping compartments.

The longer trips on the Ghan & Indian Pacific should be taken in Gold class and these are expensive but worthwhile.

You certainly do not see anything at 36,000ft in an aircraft.

South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
Level Contributor
27,027 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Travel In Australia

But, to be fair, one doesn't see anything in an overnight sleeper either. :)

Darwin, Australia
Destination Expert
for Darwin
Level Contributor
4,502 posts
50 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Travel In Australia

While it's true you don't see anything from a plane, it is often a faster trip giving you more time to see and do things at your destination.

I have had some great train journeys in other countries so understand that viewpoint.

So it depends on whether your priority is to see more of the countryside between destinations (if the train is during the day), or have more the destination. It's really a matter of personal choice.