Icons of Australia
From Cairns To Townsville, Longreach, Brisbane, Toowoomba, Armidale, Sydney, Melbourne, Adleaide, Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Uluru - 17 Nights

Departing from:
Townsville, Longreach, Brisbane, Toowoomba, Armidale, Sydney, Melbourne, Adleaide, Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Uluru
17 Nights
Travel Dates:
15/03/24 to 01/04/24
Offer Expires:
Tour Operator:
Railway Adventures
Reference Code:



Price per person

Package Details


Welcome to a grand tour of Australia’s three mainland eastern states, a journey encompassing many of the country’s great train journeys and captivating sites. From the tropical north in Cairns, down to Melbourne in the south, this tour will take you on an epic adventure through some of Australia’s most beautiful and iconic locations.


Day 1 • Friday 15 March:
Welcome to Cairns! Upon arrival, you will check in to our hotel, conveniently located in the heart of the city. In the evening, we’ll gather together for a celebratory welcome dinner and drinks, where you’ll have the opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers and share in the excitement of the adventure ahead. Enjoy a delicious meal and raise a glass to the start of your unforgettable journey.

For those wishing to explore more of Cairns region on day tours, pre-tour accommodation at our start point hotel in Cairns is available upon request.

Those wishing to spend more time in Cairns before the start of the tour can book the optional Atherton-Herberton Historic Railway tour or the Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation and Mossman Gorge tour. Please contact us for more information and how to book.

Overnight: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, Cairns (D)

Day 2 • Saturday 16 March:
This morning you will embark on a memorable journey aboard the ever-popular Kuranda Scenic Railway, departing from Freshwater Station in Cairns and bound for Kuranda. Immerse yourself in the charm of a bygone era, as you board the original Kuranda Scenic Railway Heritage Class carriages. These authentic timber carriages, some of which are up to 100 years old, offer a unique experience. Marvel at the spectacular scenery and capture incredible photos as you wind through the lush, World Heritage-listed rainforest. This history and geography of the region is brought to life with informative commentary, as you snake over the Great Dividing Range and descend through the Barron River Gorge to Cairns, offering awe-inspiring views at every turn.

Upon arrival in Kuranda, explore this idyllic mountain village, surrounded by the world’s oldest living tropical rainforest. Visit the Rainforestation Nature Park and join the Indigenous Pamagirri Guides for a journey to discover the Dreamtime and learn about the fascinating customs and ancient traditions that they keep alive. Enjoy lunch at Kuranda and learn how didgeridoos are made and used in local ceremonies. After a demonstration and lesson, try your hand at boomerang and spear throwing!

Board the Skyrail Gondola for a special experience that takes you down to the coastal plains, flying over the canopy of the rainforest and marvelling at the spectacular views across the ranges and out over the Coral Sea.

Later in the day, visit Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures to see some of Australia’s iconic wildlife, including koalas, kangaroos, and of course, crocodiles. During your tour, hand-feed the friendly kangaroos and enjoy a boat ride through Hartley’s Lagoon to see saltwater crocodiles in their natural habitat. Then, travel a short distance to Palm Cove, a charming beachside village centred around an esplanade lined with 500-year-old melaleuca trees. Here, you can enjoy a delicious dinner while taking in the breathtaking views of the coast.

Finally, return to Cairns after dinner, having enjoyed a full day of adventure, culture and nature.

Overnight: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, Cairns (B, L, D)

Day 3 • Sunday 17 March:
After breakfast, embark on an unforgettable adventure to the Outer Great Barrier Reef and Green Island. Our island ferry departs from the Cairns wharf, and you’ll have a full day to indulge in a variety of activities, or simply unwind at your leisure.

Green Island is a rare gem among the 300 sand (coral) cays of the Great Barrier Reef, as the only one with a rainforest ecosystem. It’s the ideal destination for exploring, relaxing and swimming. You can easily traverse the whole island, which is only 1.6kms in circumference and about 600 meters at its widest point.

A delicious lunch awaits you at the island’s resort, and you can choose from a range of activities. Opt for a glass-bottom boat ride or venture out to the platform on the Outer Reef to experience the mesmerising beauty of the underwater world. Alternatively, you can simply unwind by the pool or take a leisurely stroll around the island.

At 5.30pm, our ferry will take you back to Cairns, where you can enjoy your evening at your leisure. With an incredible day spent in the lap of nature, you’ll be left with memories that will last a lifetime.

Overnight: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, Cairns (B, L)

Day 4 • Monday 18 March:
After breakfast, rediscover the luxury of time with a scenic rail journey along Queensland’s picturesque coast aboard the Spirit of Queensland. Relax and relish the panoramic views of the lush green landscape, sugar cane fields, dense rainforest coastline, and the cane tramways that crisscross the North Coast rail line and the Bruce and Cook Highways. The Spirit of Queensland is a modern tilt train that traverses the 1,681km journey between Brisbane and Cairns five times a week. The morning departure offers a gentle ride, and we arrive in Townsville by mid-afternoon, ready to transfer to your hotel.

After checking into your hotel, take a tour of the Army Museum of Queensland, located in the charming Jezzine Barracks. The museum has an impressive collection of objects and stories relating to the history of the Australian Army in North Queensland.

In the evening, enjoy a true-blue Australian dining experience at the Townsville RSL. The Returned Services League of Australia (RSL) is a support organisation for current and former members of the Australian Defence Force. Return to your hotel after dinner.

Overnight: Hotel Grand Chancellor Townsville (B, D)

Day 5 • Tuesday 19 March:
In the late morning, you will fly from Townsville to the outback town of Winton. On arrival, you will transfer to the North Gregory Hotel, where you can unwind and have a cold beer with the locals in the hotel’s authentic retro dining room. Nestled in the heart of the sun-scorched land, the North Gregory Hotel offers a one-stop outback adventure in style and comfort. The hotel is an attraction in itself, having played its part in many significant moments in Australia’s history.

After lunch, visit the Waltzing Matilda Centre, the world’s first museum dedicated to a song. The displays on Banjo Paterson’s iconic song Waltzing Matilda (including a fascinating high-tech analysis of the original manuscript) are highlights, but you’ll also find exhibitions on local geology, opals, dinosaurs and movies filmed in the Winton area.

After the tour, we journey the 180km to Longreach. The town, which takes its name from the “long reach” of the Thomson River, was only gazetted five years before the arrival of the railway in 1892. Situated right on the Tropic of Capricorn, Longreach has a population of just over 3,000, which is boosted by travellers who come to see the town’s fantastic museums.

Then, check into your hotel and enjoy dinner with the group.

Overnight: Albert Park Motor Inn, Longreach (B, D)

Day 6 • Wednesday 20 March:
After breakfast, we head to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame, which is the country’s premier outback heritage institution. Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the outback as you explore the museum’s vast collection of objects, including touchscreen and open displays, photographs, artworks, and audio-visual presentations. Enjoy the live ‘Outback Stockman’s Show’ which brings to life the stories of real-life stockmen and women who work on the land. Then, lunch is at leisure.

Next, we visit Qantas Founders Museum, where you can learn about the four key figures who founded Qantas and discover what life was like in Queensland in the 1920s. The history of our national airline will unfold as you experience a 1½-hour Jet Tour, exploring both 747 and 707 aircraft.

This evening, enjoy a Thompson River cruise followed by a campfire dinner under the stars. The tranquil waters of the river are the perfect setting to unwind and reflect on the day’s experiences.

Overnight: Albert Park Motor Inn, Longreach (B, D)

Day 7 • Thursday 21 March:
After a delicious breakfast, we make our way to the station to board the Spirit of the Outback for a memorable overnight journey to Brisbane. As we depart the heart of Outback Queensland, we pass through a range of ever-changing landscapes and the sleepy Central Queensland towns of Barcaldine, Alpha, and Jericho. Enjoy a chef-prepared dinner served in the train’s “Tuckerbox” dining car while admiring the Central Ranges towns of Emerald, Blackwater, and Bluff as they roll by. After dinner, relax and unwind in the “Shearers Rest” lounge car as evening descends on our southbound train. Retire to your air-conditioned, first-class sleeping berth, and let the gentle rocking motion of the train lull you into a peaceful slumber.

Overnight: On board the Spirit of the Outback (B, L, D)

Day 8 • Friday 22 March:
Awake to the breathtaking vista of the lush sub-tropical coastal plains, with the majestic Glass House Mountains as the centrepiece of the landscape. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the train this morning with an expected arrival at Roma Street Station in Brisbane just before midday.

Upon arrival, enjoy a delicious lunch before embarking on a tour of the historic CBD. Stroll along the Brisbane River to the iconic Story Bridge, and then wander over to South Bank’s sandy beach. We’ll then venture out of Brisbane to visit the Ipswich Workshops Rail Museum, one of Australia’s premier museums, built around the living history of one of the country’s great industrial complexes. Here you have time on your own to explore the world-class collection and tour the restoration work in progress.

In the late afternoon, we’ll arrive at the charming town of Toowoomba. After checking in, you’ll have the evening at leisure and time to take advantage of the central location of the hotel.

Overnight: Burke and Wills Hotel, Toowoomba (B, L)

Day 9 • Saturday 23 March:
It’s an early start this morning and after breakfast, we embark on a coach journey to Warwick to meet our special steam train for an unforgettable run to Wallangarra. The Southern Downs Steam Railway volunteers come together on a regular basis to work their steam trains on the freight railways of the region. Though open to regular travellers too, we will have our own dedicated heritage carriages and attendants to make the journey even more special.

Departing Warwick station at 8.00am, our train branches out onto the western line, and we travel south to Wallangarra while enjoying morning tea served on board. On arrival at Wallangarra, we indulge in a delicious BBQ lunch on the platform of the unique duel-gauge heritage station.

This afternoon, tour the excellent Railway Museum at nearby Tenterfield station, where we’ll enjoy afternoon tea. The next leg of our tour takes us south to explore parts of the old Great Northern Railway. Sadly, the line in this part of New England is closed, however much of the infrastructure remains, including grand old stations, long truss bridges, and scenic sections of this once pivotal railway.

In the mid-afternoon, we arrive in the charming town of Glen Innes. This city takes special pride in its Celtic heritage, and we take time to reflect on the amazing standing stones on the hill overlooking the town. We then continue our journey and arrive in Armidale in the late afternoon, where dinner awaits us in the hotel restaurant.

Overnight: Powerhouse Rydges Hotel, Armidale (B, L, D)

Day 10 • Sunday 24 March:
Today, after breakfast, embark on a full day of sightseeing around the charming city of Armidale. Our first stop is the grand old homestead of Booloominbah, which was designed by Horbury Hunt in the 1880s. This exceptional country mansion was originally owned by the White family and is now the head office of the University of New England.

Following this, we’ll visit the Victorian estate of Saumarez, another grand country homestead set in magnificent gardens, and a veritable time capsule of how the family lived and worked. The estate’s café provides a delightful morning tea, a precursor to a guided tour of this authentic country estate.

We’ll then continue our round trip to Uralla, enjoying a delectable lunch at McCrossin’s Mill Museum and a visit to Dangars Falls in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. On our way back to Armidale, we’ll make a short stop at the commemorative atmospheric monument at Dangarsleigh. The evening is yours to explore the many dining options in and around Armidale, including the fine restaurant in our own hotel.

Overnight: Rydges Hotel, Armidale (B, L)

Day 11 • Monday 25 March:
After breakfast, we head down to the heritage Armidale station to board the Northern Tablelands Explorer Express train for your 579km First Class journey from Armidale to Sydney.

Trains have been running on this line since the 1880s, and today’s journey will travel via the scenic tablelands down the range to the country music capital of Tamworth. Then, we will travel over the Liverpool Ranges, through the Hunter Valley and down the Central Coast Line, finally arriving in the ‘big smoke’ at Central Station Sydney at approximately 4:30pm. Upon arrival, you’ll transfer to the hotel where you can freshen up.

This evening, enjoy an idyllic evening dinner cruise around the world-famous Sydney Harbour. Savour a delectable 3-course meal paired with fine wines while admiring the stunning views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. The breathtaking harbour is widely acclaimed as the finest in the world, making for a truly remarkable experience.

Overnight: Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Sydney (B, D)

Day 12 • Tuesday 26 March:
Take the Sydney Light Rail from your hotel to Circular Quay where you’ll embark on a walking tour to the historic “Rocks” area. The Rocks hold a unique place in Sydney’s colonial history as the birthplace of European Australia. As we continue our walk to Circular Quay, a hub of activity at the heart of Sydney’s waterfront, you’ll see the world-famous Sydney Opera House and the beautiful Sydney Harbour up close.

We continue our walk through parkland to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair for spectacular views of the harbour. Then, we’ll board our coach for a visit to Australia’s most famous beach – Bondi Beach. Here, you will dine at the elegant Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, where you will enjoy extraordinary views of the crescent of golden sand that is this iconic Beach.

Return to your hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy the rest of your evening at leisure.

Overnight: Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Sydney (B, D)

Day 13 • Wednesday 27 March:
Begin your day with an early breakfast before travelling on the light rail and an urban train from Central Station, through the stunning Blue Mountains to the vibrant village of Katoomba. Here you will explore Katoomba at your own pace before walking out to the edge at Echo Point to see the majestic Three Sisters.

Next, we’ll travel to Scenic World and jump aboard the Scenic Railway, the world’s steepest passenger train, which descends 310 meters into the forest on a 52-degree rail incline. At the base, there’s a web of hiking trails which wind through the lush Jamison Valley rainforest. Take the train’s return trip and travel on the Scenic Skyway, gliding between clifftops 270 metres above the valley floor for spectacular views of the Blue Mountains.

We’ll then journey one hour west for a privately chartered steam train on the Zig Zag Railway, offering a chance to relive the magical era of steam trains. Along the way, you will be treated to views of grand sandstone viaducts as well as the remarkable scenery of the Blue Mountains. The sights, sounds, and smells of a steam locomotive will accompany you and your fellow passengers over the Great Lithgow Zig Zag.

On our way back to Sydney, we’ll pause at the elegant 120-year-old art deco-style hotel at The Hydro Majestic Hotel Blue Mountains, where High Tea awaits you served in the majestic Wintergarden with panoramic views overlooking the Megalong Valley. After a full and fun-filled day, we return to Sydney where your evening is free.

Overnight: Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Sydney (B, L)

Day 14 • Thursday 28 March:
After breakfast, travel south to the New South Wales Railway Museum at Thirlmere, where the icons of the state’s collection are housed on the site of the original Great Southern Railway. Here you will explore Australia’s largest collection of heritage rolling stock. Whether it’s the stunning Royal Carriage or the Rail Pay Bus – used for transporting employees’ wages all over the state’s rail system, every corner has something interesting to see.

From the museum, you’ll enjoy a railmotor journey to Buxton on our local loop-line, travelling through the Wollondilly escarpment and reaching the historical Buxton station. After alighting at the station, you’ll return to Thirlmere Museum via the railmotor. After lunch, we’ll head to Sydney’s west to experience the country’s unique wildlife up close at Featherdale Wildlife Park, home to the world’s largest collection of Australian wildlife. Here, you will have a personal encounter with a koala and hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies. You will also come face-to-face with emus, penguins, wombats, and a saltwater crocodile, Max.

In the late afternoon, we’ll return to your hotel, where you’ll have the rest of your evening free to explore the city or relax at your leisure.

Overnight: Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Sydney (B, L)

Day 15 • Friday 29 March:
After an early breakfast, we’ll depart the hotel for Central Station to board the XPT train for Melbourne. The Sydney–Melbourne line is a 953km standard gauge railway corridor that runs between the two largest cities in Australia. Freight and passenger services have operated along the route since the 1880s.

Originally, a change of trains was required at the border due to the different gauges each state employed. However, it wasn’t until 1962, with the opening of the standard gauge line in Victoria, that through services were possible between Melbourne and Sydney. Your journey, in First Class seats will take approximately 11 hours and traverse the scenic tablelands and slopes of rural eastern Australia. There’s an on board buffet for refreshments and meals and you’ll pass through cities and towns including Goulburn, Cootamundra, Junee and Albury.

As we approach Victoria’s vibrant capital city, Melbourne, you’ll see the bustling city come into view. Your hotel is directly opposite the station, making it easy to check-in and settle in for the night. The rest of your evening is free to explore the city or relax at your leisure.

Overnight: The Batman Hill on Collins, Melbourne (B)

Day 16 • Saturday 30 March:
After breakfast, we walk to Southern Cross Station, Australia’s oldest train station. From there, we will board a metro train to Belgrave, which is the starting point for the legendary Puffing Billy railway. This heritage railway, which was built in the early 1900s, served the local community and timber industry at a low cost. However, it was gradually shut down in the 1950s. But thanks to the passion of dedicated volunteers and rail enthusiasts, the line and rolling stock were restored, and it has since become one of Victoria’s most popular tourist attractions. You will experience a steam-hauled journey along the narrow-gauge line, which is full of character and history. Your excursion ticket includes the option to visit the new Lakeside Centre.

Returning to Melbourne, we take a short, guided walking tour of the city centre, where we will visit some of the popular landmarks, including Federation Square, The Yarra River, St Patrick’s Cathedral, The Block Arcade, AC/DC Lane, Hosier Lane, Degraves Street, and Hardware Lane.

After the walking tour, you can relax at one of the many bars, cafes and restaurants that Melbourne has to offer, as your evening is free. Melbourne is an easy city to navigate, so you could also take a historic tram to St Kilda beach and pier for dinner.

Overnight: The Batman Hill on Collins, Melbourne (B, L)

Day 17 • Sunday 31 March:
Today we head out of Melbourne, travelling north by regional express train to the quaint goldfield town of Castlemaine. Upon arrival, we visit Buda House, a classic, beautifully preserved Goldfields Villa set amidst eight acres of tranquil gardens. After exploring the historic house, return to the railway station for an 11.30am departure of our steam train on the Victorian Goldfields Railway. This vintage train chugs along the old branch line to Maldon, an iconic gold rush town awarded the ‘most intact townscape’ by the National Trust. Your first-class ticket allows you to ride in the wonderful parlour cars with access to the bar for some refreshments along the way. Enjoy lunch in Maldon at leisure before returning to Castlemaine on the steam train.

We return to Melbourne by regional express train and later in the evening regroup for a celebratory farewell dinner with your tour leader and fellow travellers.

Overnight: The Batman Hill on Collins, Melbourne (B, D)

Day 18 • Monday 1 April:
Melbourne – DEPART
After a delightful trip filled with memorable experiences, it is time to bid farewell. Enjoy a relaxed breakfast before transferring to the airport for your onward journey or homeward bound flight. (B)

Optional Extension from Melbourne, Adelaide, Ayers Rock and Alice Springs
Day 1 • Monday 1 April:
After breakfast, transfer to the Southern Cross Railway Station to catch The Overland train from Melbourne to Adelaide, South Australia.

This iconic train journey has been a favourite for over 135 years, offering a unique and romantic experience while travelling between these two cities. You will travel in the Premium Red category which provides extra comfort and style, and includes in-seat dining, a trolley service, and more leg room. This will make your journey even more enjoyable, with an all-inclusive breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, coffee, soft drinks, and juice. Arrive in South Australia’s capital, Adelaide, and check in to our centrally located hotel.

The rest of your evening is at leisure.

Overnight: Adina Apartment Hotel Treasury, Adelaide (L)

Day 2 • Tuesday 2 April:
This morning, set out on a tour of Adelaide’s top attractions, and enjoy the leafy surrounds of Adelaide’s North Terrace and Botanic Gardens. Top it off with visits to landmarks such as the Adelaide Oval Precinct, St Peter’s Cathedral and the Rundle Mall.

After exploring the city, we’ll drive out to the world-famous Barossa Valley, Australia’s best-known red wine region, for a delicious lunch and a chance to sample some of the region’s best wines. Stop at the stunning Menglers Hill Lookout before returning to Adelaide through the picturesque Adelaide Hills.

Next, tour the National Railway Museum in Port Adelaide to learn about the rich history of Australian Railways. Return to Adelaide and finish the day with a tram ride along the vibrant Jetty Road to Glenelg Beach for a seafood dinner by the ocean.

Return to the hotel after dinner for a relaxing evening.

Overnight: Adina Apartment Hotel Treasury, Adelaide (B, L, D)

Day 3 • Wednesday 3 April:
This morning, transfer to Adelaide airport for your morning flight over the desert outback to Alice Springs. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and enjoy lunch.

Later, delight in charming Alice Springs, where you’ll tour the Royal Flying Doctor Service, ANZAC Hill, Old Telegraph Station and the fascinating School of the Air, which provides education to children living in remote areas of Australia. The highlight of today is the Old Ghan Heritage Railway and Museum which contains narrow gauge equipment and rail carriages, plus memorabilia from the original Central Australian Ghan Railway. Afterward, return to the hotel for a meal in the hotel restaurant.

Overnight: Mercure Alice Springs Resort, Alice Springs (B, D)

Day 4 • Thursday 4 April:
After an early breakfast, we’ll travel through the rugged outback from Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock).

Along the way, you’ll stop at the junction town of Ghan. The town is named in recognition of the important role the Afghans and their camels played in opening up Central Australia. We’ll also make a stop at the Mount Conner Lookout and at Curtin Springs Station for lunch. Arriving at the Desert Gardens Hotel in the mid-afternoon, we’ll check-in and freshen up before enjoying the Field of Light Dinner experience at the resort.

The Field of Light was created by acclaimed artist Bruce Munro, who was inspired by Uluru. This illuminated installation reflects the spiritual energy Munro felt during a visit to Australia’s Red Desert. Observe the radiant display and watch a magical sunset at this iconic Australian landmark, before returning to your hotel.

Overnight: Desert Gardens Hotel, Yulara (B, L, D)

Day 5 • Friday 5 April:
Your hotel is situated in the township of Yulara, which is outside Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and about a 10-minute drive from the entry station. Most of the town is made up of Ayers Rock Resort, an Aboriginal-owned enterprise that provides accommodation, restaurants and other essential services to people visiting the park. There are shops, several art galleries, conference facilities, an outside pool and a fantastic day spa.

This morning, you will embark on a day journey to see both Uluru and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). Your experienced guide will provide in-depth guide commentary on the history and culture of the country’s most famous rock formations. Enjoy a BBQ lunch and connect with nature during a Mala Walk, hike to the Mutitjulu Waterhole to see Aboriginal rock art, visit the Walpa Gorge, the waterfalls of Kantju Gorge, and the Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

In the late afternoon, take part in an Uluru sunset experience and star tour. Watch as the setting sun illuminates Uluru’s red monolith, while sipping wine or beer and then sit down for a traditional Australian BBQ dinner. After dinner, your guide will take you on a star tour before dropping you off at your hotel for a restful evening.

Overnight: Desert Gardens Hotel, Yulara (B, L, D)


  • 1 night of accommodation on the overnight train (Spirit of the Outback)
  • 16 nights of comfortable accommodation in 3 or 4-star hotels
  • 17 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners
  • Comprehensive sightseeing with expert local guides and your experienced and knowledgeable host
  • Economy class flight from Townsville to Winton (luggage included)
  • Excursion/entrance fees, except those listed as optional in the itinerary
  • Welcome and farewell dinners with complimentary drinks
Price does not include
  • All other personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, laundry services, camera fees where applicable
  • Drinks with meals (except for welcome and farewell dinners)
  • Excursions/entrances listed as optional in the itinerary
  • Transport to Cairns for the start of the tour and transport from Melbourne at the end of the tour
  • Travel insurance



Travel Enquiry

Your Details
Travel Details
  • DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • DD slash MM slash YYYY
  • Add Ages of Children, Dietary Requirements, etc
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.