North by North West - A northern NSW Odyssey by private train
From Sydney To Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Dorrigo, Armidale, Werris Creek, Binnaway, Gulgong, Mudgee - 5 Nights
- Departing from:
- Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Dorrigo, Armidale, Werris Creek, Binnaway, Gulgong, Mudgee
- 5 Nights
- Travel Dates:
- 07/09/22 to 12/09/22
- Offer Expires:
- Tour Operator:
- Railway Adventures
- Reference Code:
Price per person
Our journey begins with the boarding of our Railmotor for the trip up the coast to the popular holiday city of Port Macquarie. We introduce the legacy of the timber industry and the associated connection with narrow gauge railways at Wauchope before ascending the ranges via Bellingen to Dorrigo and along the Waterfall Way to Armidale. The New England is a land unto itself with Armidale it’s unofficial capital. Fine homesteads, churches, schools and wineries grace this wealthy city. We continue our cross country rail journey down the tablelands via the grand junction station of Werris Creek to the sleepy former railway hub of Binnaway. The Warrumbungle Ranges are on hand for us to explore, just west of Coonabarabran, with their ancient towering volcanic plugs, unique native bush, and world class observatories. Down the old Mudgee branch line is Dunedoo and then Gulgong where we settle for a couple of nights in the heart of this heritage listed Goldrush town. Enjoy side trips to historic Mudgee, and award winning wineries.
DAY 1 • Wednesday 16 March:
SYDNEY – WAUCHOPE – PORT MACQUARIE
To begin our journey, we’ll meet at Sydney’s Central Station to board our privately chartered train from The Rail Motor Society for the journey north to Wauchope, pausing at Paterson on the way for lunch.
We’ll arrive in Wauchope in the late afternoon before boarding our coach for the short trip to Port Macquarie to check in to our centrally located hotel.
Take some time to freshen up before re-grouping for a special sunset dinner cruise on the river.
Overnight: Mercure Centro, Port Macquarie (L, D)
DAY 2 • Thursday 17 March:
PORT MACQUARIE – BELLINGEN – DORRIGO – ARMIDALE
After breakfast this morning we’ll board our coach for the short trip back to Wauchope.
Here we’ll explore the local heritage park, Timbertown, which is inspired by the regions logging industry, such an integral part of its early economy. Take a short ride on their steam train reminiscent of the trains used in the forestry industry of bygone days.
The train traverses approximately 2.5kms around the park and showcases the scenic surrounds from its open carriages while you sit back and enjoy.
Following this we’ll continue our journey to the nearby town of Bellingen. Originally a timber-mill town and surrounded by lush green paddocks, bush, and waterfalls, Bellingen has developed into a relaxed and trendy destination with a number of local shops and restaurants. Take some time to wander, grab a coffee, or do some shopping in this cute town before boarding our coach once again for the short trip up the range to Dorrigo. We pause at the Rainforest Centre in the Dorrigo National Park where you can soak up the lush forest ambiance, learn about the area at the visitor centre, visit the café and take a walk on the scenic elevated canopy boardwalk. We’ll then enjoy a pub lunch in Dorrigo before embarking on a guided tour of the town.
Later on we’ll continue on our way west following the ‘Waterfall Way’ to Armidale.
Along the way we’ll stop to view the lookout at Ebor Falls before continuing further up the tablelands to Armidale arriving in time to check in and freshen up before dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Powerhouse by Rydges, Armidale (B, L, D)
DAY 3 • Friday 18 March:
ARMIDALE – WERRIS CREEK –- BINNAWAY – COONABARABRAN
Enjoy breakfast in our hotel this morning before an early visit to the Victorian homestead of Booloominbah, a grand “Gentlemen’s country estate” designed by Horbury Hunt from 1884-1888.
Now the headquarters of the University of New England, it is a veritable time capsule of how the influential and wealthy White family lived and worked in colonial times.
Following this we’ll board our railmotor once again for the scenic journey across the tablelands and down the ranges past Tamworth to the grand junction station of Werris Creek.
Here, on the platform of the unusually shaped brick and stone station, we’ll enjoy a BBQ lunch and have time to explore the excellent railway museum and the adjacent National Railway Monument.
Our train journey continues in the afternoon with our trusty railmotor branching off onto the normally freight only cross-country line heading west to the sleepy village of Binnaway.
Here we pause to explore this once bustling railway junction before taking the short drive to Coonabarabran to check in to our motel and relax, later enjoying dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Country Gardens Motel, Coonabarabran (B, L, D)
DAY 4 • Saturday 19 March:
COONABARABRAN – BINNAWAY – GULGONG
Coonabarabran is widely recognised as the stargazing capital of Australia, with its pristine air, high altitude, and low humidity.
This morning we’ll take a guided tour of the nearby Siding Spring Observatory where we’ll view the largest optical telescope in Australia, the Anglo-Australian Telescope, learn about the history of the site and the Siding Spring Mountain, as well as the incredible Warrumbungle National Park.
Enjoy lunch here before heading to Binnaway once again for a quick stop.
Later on we’ll re-board our train and travel south to Gulgong, our home for the next two nights.
Check in to our motel in town and enjoy some time to relax, freshen up or explore the town before dinner at the delightful Larsen’s restaurant in an old stone heritage building across the road.
Overnight: Ten Dollar Town Motel or similar, Gulgong (B, L, D)
DAY 5 • Sunday 20 March:
After a hearty breakfast we gather to begin a series of adventures.
First up are a couple of short tours, one of the history and heritage of Gulgong and another of the surrounding wine growing area.
You’ll have some time for a wander and a coffee break in Mudgee nearby before heading out to one of Mudgee’s premier winery restaurants, Lowes and the one hatted Zin House restaurant where we have a wine tasting lunch in the pavilion. Following this you’ll have a choice of two excursions: one to Gulgong, the home of a rich collection of museums and gold rush heritage buildings including the new Gulgong Holtermann photographic museum and the vast Gulgong Pioneer’s Museum.
The other excursion will take you to a selection of Mudgee’s wineries to enjoy relaxed tastings and hear from the winemakers. In the late afternoon we’ll take a short excursion north to Cooks Gap on the Great Dividing Range for a sunset soiree reception at Scott McGregor’s private and unique railway themed retreat, Ruwenzori.
Perched high on the mountains overlooking the valleys below, Ruwenzori is a collection of vintage railway carriages, restored in the Orient-express style, set amongst themed gardens and memorabilia.
Featured in many travel articles and TV shows, it is a place that he loves to share with special friends.
Here, on top of the mountain, you’ll enjoy a Mudgee sunset with canapes and local beer and wine before heading back to your motel for an evening at leisure, or perhaps a nightcap at the lovely ‘Rusty Owl’ wine bar.
Overnight: Ten Dollar Town Motel or similar, Gulgong (B, L, D)
DAY 6 • Monday 21 March:
GULGONG – SYDNEY
Today it’s up early to make the most of one of the most unique rail experiences in the state, a rare opportunity to ride the Sandy Hollow railway down the Bylong and Hunter Valleys on the normally freight only line.
Departing Gulgong we head east through fields, bush and the wooded hills of the Great Divide before we strike the first of the vast coal mines that are the reason for the lines reconstruction.
We pass the towns of Sandy Hollow and Denman before pulling in for an early pub lunch at Muswellbrook, next door to the railway station.
We’ll continue onto Paterson where we take a break to view the collection and associated museum that is home to the train we are riding. The last stage of the journey is the run down the main North Line across the mighty Hawkesbury River and into Sydney in the early evening, stopping at Hornsby for anyone who may wish to alight before pulling into Central and the end of our adventure. (B, L)
- Price includes
5 nights’ accommodation in quality hotels
All excursions and entrance fees to attractions, as listed in the itinerary
All meals included
Breakfast daily, 6 lunches and 5 dinners
Chartered coach, with luggage transport throughout the tour
Comprehensive sightseeing with your hosts and local guides
Drinks included with welcome and farewell dinners
- Price does not include
All other personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, laundry services, camera fees where applicable
Excursions/entrances listed as optional in the itinerary
Meals and services not mentioned in itinerary