Seniors Card Travel: Sydney to Canberra for $5

The regular service by train from Sydney to Canberra is by the NSW TrainLink Explorer service. The standard full price one way fare for adults is $52.00. The one way fare for Seniors card holders is $26.00.

I’ve used this service on numerous occasions and have found the comfort and service aboard the train to be very good. Even the hot meals served from the buffet have been imaginative and prepared with some love. Furthermore, the meals are less than $10.00. A glass of wine is $7.50. Light beer is $6.50.

But there is a cheaper way for Seniors Card holders. Here’s how; Sydney to Canberra for just $5.

Before leaving home call NSW TrainLink on 13 22 32 and make a booking using your Seniors card on the Goulburn to Canberra service that departs Goulburn at 20.29 (M-F). Your Goulburn to Canberra ticket will cost $2.50. Click here for the full NSW TrainLink Sydney to Canberra timetable

There’s a NSW TrainLink booking office at Central station, but don’t think you can walk in there and buy a ticket from Goulburn to Canberra for $2.50 – you can’t. You’ll be told that these tickets can only be bought online or over the phone. They’ll then offer you the half price tickets. Even a “know it all” like me got caught here. When I was offered the half price fare, I declined. I then went out of the office and called 13 22 32 on my mobile phone and made the booking on the same train for $2.50. Lesson learned.

Sydney to Goulburn

Once you’ve got the Goulburn to Canberra ticket covered, head to Central station to catch the Central to Goulburn Opal service which departs Central at 16.01. Click here for the full Sydney to Goulburn timetable

Since this is an Opal service, just tap on as usual and take a seat on the train. Sit back for a ride through the beautiful Southern Highlands. Find yourself a seat on the left side of the train to avoid the afternoon sun.

The service arrives in Goulburn at 19:13.

Goulburn to Canberra

The Canberra train departs Goulburn at 20:29. Since you’ve arrived at 19:13, this gives you an hour and sixteen minutes to duck uptown for a bite to eat. There are numerous takeaways and restaurants along the main drag, a couple of minutes walk from the station. Our favourite is the Paragon Cafe. It’s a Goulburn institution with half price pizza on Tuesday nights and half price schnitzels on Wednesday night. Keep an eye on the time, as it’s 5-minute walk back to the station for the 20:29 departure.

Arrival in Canberra is at 22.03. Last time I arrived on this train there were plenty of taxis on the station rank. Since Murphy’s Law says there won’t be any when you arrive, you can call (02) 6280 0077 or visit their website ACT Cabs.

Posted in Seniors Card Travel.


  1. What about the other direction. Cooma to Goulburn then Sydney. If I book online Goulburn to Sydney with my OPAL, do I have to get off the train to swap ticket types?

    • You can’t book on a train that accepts Opal cards. You’ll need to book online or by phone with NSWTrainLink to get from Cooma to Goulburn. Once you get to Goulburn you need to get off the train and catch a SydneyTrain which accepts your Opal card.

  2. I would take the 4.01pm train from Sydney to Goulburn, stay overnight, and do the trip into Canberra the next day. Total fare $5.00 as you have said. I would travel all the way back to Sydney for half fare, rather than spending another night in Goulburn.

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