Australia: The Sunlander and The Indian Pacific Travel Guide


The Indian Pacific stretches across the entire Australian continent, from cosmopolitan Sydney all the way to beautiful Perth.

The Sunlander

The Sunlander offers thrice-weekly service. The train departs Brisbane on Sundays at 9:00 a.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:25 p.m. The train departs Cairns and heads southbound to Brisbane on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 9:15 a.m. In either direction, the train takes 31 hours, but there are plenty of places of interest to stop at along the way in order to break up the journey.

Onboard the train, there are several different types of service. For a first-class experience, travellers should choose the Queenslander Class. Queenslander Class offers its own exclusive fine dining and lounge car, as well as luxurious little touches like robes, slippers, and turndown service. Besides Queenslander Class, guests on The Sunlander can choose from a regular class of service offering a single berth, a twin berth, or a triple berth. All berths contain a reading light, a pillow, a blanket, a top and bottom sheet, a washbasin with a vanity mirror, and a power source.

There's also the possibility of purchasing an economy seat on The Sunlander. This is the cheapest way to experience The Sunlander, but isn't recommended for travellers who want to sleep on the train, as it's basically the equivalent of an economy class seat on an airplane. Those in a single, twin, or triple berth, as well as those in an economy seat, have access to the general dining and lounge cars on The Sunlander. The food on the train is very good, but can be a bit expensive, so it's best to also bring some snacks and drinks onboard.

The Indian Pacific

Named after the two oceans it links, The Indian Pacific is an epic rail journey. The journey takes three nights in either direction, and service runs once a week in both directions year-round, and twice a week in September and October. The Indian Pacific departs Sydney on Wednesdays at 2:55 p.m. year-round, and adds a departure on Saturdays at 2:55 p.m. in September and October. The Indian Pacific departs Perth on Sundays at 11:55 a.m. year-round, and adds a departure on Wednesdays at 11:55 a.m. in September and October. The Indian Pacific makes a stop in Adelaide in both directions.

Onboard The Indian Pacific are three different levels of service. The most economical way of traveling on The Indian Pacific is Red Service. Red Service fares offer travellers a choice of sleeping in a twin sleeper cabin or a Day/Nighter Seat. Red Service travellers also have access to the Red Service Diner, where they can purchase food or drinks and take in the scenery from the panoramic windows. Travellers who choose Red Service would be advised to bring some snacks and drinks with them onto the train.

The next level of service is Gold Service. Gold Service sets a high standard for train travel, and allows travellers to have a truly comfortable, memorable trip on The Indian Pacific. Gold Service includes a twin sleeper cabin with private en-suite facilities, complimentary meals in the dining car, complimentary tea and coffee, a complimentary toiletry kit, in-cabin music, and much more. Travellers will also be greeted onboard with a Welcome Reception, which includes a free glass of champagne, beer, wine, or a soft drink.

For the highest standard of service, travellers should choose Platinum Service. Platinum Service is the epitome of excellence and luxury onboard The Indian Pacific. Travellers will stay in the Platinum Service Cabin, where there's plenty of room for lounging and sleeping, as well as an en-suite bath complete with full-sized shower. Platinum Service also includes on-call Cabin Steward Service, allowing travellers to eat in their cabin whenever they want. The on-call Cabin Steward Service is also there so that Platinum Service travellers can access help whenever they need it, for whatever reason. For travellers who don't feel like eating in their cabin, there's the Queen Adelaide Restaurant Car. Also included in Platinum Service are complimentary meals, complimentary nightcap and turndown service, complimentary tea and coffee, and a complimentary welcome drink and appetiser served in the cabin upon arrival.

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