Brisbane to Adelaide and V.V for Free (Sort of – not including Food/Accommodation)

Not many people realise that there is a way to legally travel from Brisbane to as far away as Adelaide entirely for free, but there is a catch – you must hold a Vision Impaired Travel pass.  All states and territories issue these, however for this trip we will use the QLD issued one. NOTE: all states and territories have different requirements to be able to obtain these passes. You must also fit the medical criteria, which can vary from state to state.

NOTE: Travel passes are issued on a state by state basis – eg, if you live in NSW, then you can’t apply for a VIC travel pass etc.







ACT: Call  13 17 10 for more info and how to apply.

This would only be able to be done once per year for free in the NSW section, as NSW only offers 1 free return regional journey per year to VITP holders. Other times you would pay the normal concession fare (or use your CPE ticket if eligible).


Your journey will start (assuming you live in the Brisbane suburban area) from your home station to Roma St, before transferring to a Gold Coast train to either Helensvale or Varsity lakes, depending on how long you want to travel for and if you want to make some stops along the way before making your way to Tweed heads.

From Helensvale to Tweed heads:

Alight from your train at Helensvale and it’s just a short walk over the footbridge to the light rail platforms. G:Link tram services operate every 7 minutes between Helensvale and Broadbeach South Stations (soon to Burleigh heads once the stage 3 extension is complete). From there, transfer to the 700 bus that will take you the rest of the way to Tweed.

From Varsity Lakes Station:

Alight from the train and make your way up to the bus interchange and hop on the 760 bus that will take you to tweed heads via Burleigh heads and Palm Beach.


Now you’re probably thinking, why go all the way to tweed to catch the NSW TrainLink bus when I can just catch it from Surfers Paradise? When you book your ticket with NSW Trainlink, you have to register your travel pass details with them in order to get the free ticket, and the free ticket on NSWTrainlink services only count if the journey starts and finishes in NSW, (hence catching the coach from Tweed). For this trip to work as intended, you would need to catch one of the 2 afternoon bus departures from Tweed Heads. In this case I would recommend the 4:42pm departure as it will get you there quicker than the 3:15pm departure. The difference is that the 3:15pm departure stops at more towns along the way arriving at Casino at 6:39pm compared to the 4:42 departure which only stops at Murwillumbah and Lismore only before arriving at Casino at 6:55pm.

Once off the coach at Casino its a short stroll with your bags to luggage check-in before boarding NT34 Overnight XPT service to Sydney. NOTE: The pass will only cover trips in economy or first class seats – you will need to pay if you want a sleeper. The best seat on the train, which I would highly recommend is in car C, which also has the buffet. There are 4 accessible seats (seats 7, 9, 10 and 23) and 2 spaces for wheelchairs. These fill up extremely quickly so when you book, be sure to request these if you require (or if you want a seat to yourself without anyone cramping your personal space for the next 12 hours). NT34 departs at 7:30pm (NOTE: Times may vary due to delays).


There are two ways to do this. You can either go to Adelaide via Melbourne or Adelaide via Albury. I will cover both itineraries, however the trip via Melbourne will require a one night stopover, so you will need accommodation for the night.


Once you have arrived in Sydney (NT34 arrives at approximately 6:50 am the next morning, delays depending), your bags will be trans-shipped to ST23 daylight Melbourne XPT service. This service departs at 7:40am, stopping all intermediate stations to Melbourne, arriving at 6:30pm. From there, you will need to pick up your V/line paper ticket (if you haven’t already booked it as V/Line don’t do E-tickets) from the V/Line ticket window and also find accommodation as there are no services to Adelaide until the morning. My recommendation is the Atlantis Hotel, which is about a 5 minute walk (or a short tram ride up spencer st). Rooms are spacious, comfortable and affordable depending on time of year visiting, roughly give or take between $100-$150 for the night.

The next morning you’ll need to be up early to catch the V/Line daylink service. Depending on day of departure, this would consist of a train to Bendigo and a coach from there (Monday-Saturday only) or a coach all the way (Sunday only). Your trip details will be printed on your paper ticket. The sector involving the train will depart at around 7am, arriving in Bendigo at 8:55 and the coach connection departing half an hour later (you won’t have time to see much of Bendigo). The coach then arrives into Adelaide at 6:35pm local time (be sure to wind your watch back 30 minutes when crossing the Vic/SA border).


If you feel like spending a bit of time in Sydney, then this is the option for you. After alighting from NT34, you can book your bags onto the overnight XPT service to Melbourne, which doesn’t depart until about 8:40pm, giving you a full day at your leisure to enjoy Sydney. If you haven’t been before, I highly recommend hopping on the City Circle line train or L2 line to Circular Quay, either hanging around there, the rocks etc, or even hop on a ferry to Manly – or if you want to hang around somewhere close by to Central station, then I recommend World Square shopping centre, Paddy’s Markets and Chinatown. Your vision impaired travel pass will also cover all local train, tram, bus and ferry services, but you won’t be able to open fare gates if you hold a pass not issued in NSW. For places to eat, I highly recommend City Extra at Circular Quay, which is the only 24hr restaurant in the city area. However, the prices can be a bit steep if you’re on a budget, and also Emperor’s Puff at Chinatown, which offers the cheapest desert in Sydney and possibly the country. They sell little custard cream puffs – they’re 60c each, $4 for 7 or $5 for 10. Other than that, there are plenty of other options including pubs and fast food. If you feel like staying a few days, then I can highly recommend staying at either the Meriton Suites Campbell St, Central Studio Hotel or The Ultimo – all are within walking distance to public transport, with Central Studio being closest to Central Station. I use for all my accommodation options but if you want to book with these places direct, that’s fine too. Railfans can also enjoy a trip out to Thirlmere to the NSW Rail museum – NOTE: public transport in the Southern Highlands isn’t exactly reliable, consult the trip planner on the Transport NSW website for times.

Once you’ve completed your day of sightseeing (or stay if you want to hang around longer), you’re probably feeling rather tired. Head back to Central station about 30 minutes before the train departs. You will then board ST21 departing at 8:40pm and then disembark at Albury at 4:08am (a crew member will give you a courtesy wakeup call about 15-20 minutes before arrival). Once in Albury, you will then transfer to the V/Line coach (known as the speedlink) to complete the remainder of your journey to Adelaide. This service operates daily and departs at 4:25am, arriving in Adelaide at 5:55pm local time. NOTE: I haven’t done this service as yet, but it could be a little trickier to do, as the connection between the XPT and V/Lline coach is not guaranteed, so ensure you have a backup plan in place in case you miss your connection.

Therefore, if it’s your first time doing this, I would recommend going via Melbourne in that you would have a definite connection, even if you have to stay overnight.

Now depending on how long you plan to stay in Adelaide is up to you. There’s plenty to do, along with city sights tours, train with bus connection to Victor Harbour (which will also be covered by your vision impaired travel pass), and if you’re a railfan, be sure to take a ride on either the Cockle train or Southern Encounter operated by Steamranger, or take a visit to the National Railway museum at Port Adelaide (soon to be connected by direct rail access with a new station opening soon at Port Dock). I would also recommend taking a visit to Glenelg on the tram. I will post links at the bottom of the article. I recommend staying at the Adelaide Riviera Hotel which is close to bus, light rail and train services.

After all the fun is had, the question is, how to get home. If you want to take advantage of the savings with your travel pass, you can do the journey you just did in reverse.


Your V/Line coach will depart from the Adelaide City Coach terminal at 6:35am (daily departures) arriving into Bendigo at 4:50pm, before transferring to a V/Line train departing at 5:29pm and arriving 7:40pm (Monday-Friday) or departing 5:26pm, arriving 7:24pm (Saturday-Sunday). Now to get to Sydney wouldn’t be a guaranteed connection, so if you have time and want to see the sights of Melbourne, stay a few days, there’s plenty to do. Again, staying at the Atlantis Hotel. I can’t recommend places to eat in Melbourne because there are too many to list – but if you like italian food, then head on over to Lygon St. As for attractions, there’s the Melbourne Zoo, City Circle Tram, Luna Park, and also day tours to the 12 Apostles (at own expense). Railfans can enjoy a trip on the Victorian Goldfields Railway from Castlemaine to Maldon, Puffing Billy Railway (I recommend doing the full line from Belgrave to Gembrook), Bellarine Peninsula Railway, Mornington Tourist Railway and a visit to the Newport Railway Museum – Steamrail and 707 Operations heritage rail organisations operate regular preserved steam, diesel and electric red rattler excursions as well – consult their websites for upcoming events. (websites attached at the end of the article)

When you’ve done exploring and enjoying your time in Melbourne, hop on one of 3 V/Line departures to Albury. (departing 7:07am,  12:04pm and 6:02pm arriving 10:43amm, 3:40pm and 9:38pm respectively). Then hop on the overnight XPT, departing 11:05pm, arriving into Sydney at 6:58am the next morning.


If you don’t want to spend time in Melbourne, then catch the Albury Speedlink service departing Adelaide coach terminal at 8am, arriving Albury at 10:35pm, before hopping on the overnight XPT departing at 11:05 arriving 6:58am the next morning. Again, it isn’t a guaranteed connection, but a slightly bigger window than the forward journey.


The only way to get from Sydney back to Tweed heads and Brisbane would be to catch NT31 Brisbane XPT to Casino, departing at 2:41pm arriving at 2:19am, where your coach to Tweed heads would depart at 2:35am arriving into Tweed at 5:48am, where you can then transfer to the 760 to Varsity Lakes station and then onto the QR train back to Brisbane, or wherever your home station is.

Of course you can always go direct and pay a small charge for crossing the borders and stay on the XPT direct, which would only work out to be about $20 or so – ask your trainlink agent when booking.

And there you have it, how to get from Brisbane to Adelaide and Vice Versa for virtually free!


XPT Timetables for North Coast Line (NT34 and NT31)

XPT TImetables for Southern LIne (ST21, 22 and 23)

V/Line Adelaide Daylink Timetable (Via Bendigo):

V/Line Adelaide Speedlink Timetable (Via Albury):

V/Line Northeast Line Timetable: (






The Ultimo (

Central Studio Hotel (

Meriton Suites Campbell St (

Atlantis Hotel Melbourne (

Adelaide Riviera (


SteamRanger (

NSW Transport Heritage (

Newport Railway Museum (

National Rail Museum Adelaide (

SteamRail Victoria (

707 Operations (

Victoria Goldfields Railway (

Puffing Billy Railway (

Bellarine Peninsula Railway (

Mornington Tourist Railway (

Sydney Tramway Museum (

Melbourne Tramway Museum (

Is it Colder in Hobart or Melbourne? Winter Temperatures Compared

While both Melbourne and Hobart experience similar average winter temperatures, there are some subtle differences to consider:

Average Winter Temperatures:

  • Melbourne: 6.5 °C (43.7 °F) to 14.2 °C (57.6 °F)
  • Hobart: 5 °C (41 °F) to 12.3 °C (54.1 °F)

As you can see, Hobart’s average temperatures are slightly cooler than Melbourne’s, especially during the night, with Hobart dipping down to 3 °C (37.4 °F) on some occasions. This is because Hobart is further south and closer to the influence of the colder Antarctic winds.

Additional factors to consider:

  • Rainfall: Melbourne generally receives more rain than Hobart during winter, which can make it feel colder and damper.
  • Sunshine: Both cities experience similar amounts of sunshine in winter, although Melbourne might have slightly more sunny days.
  • Snowfall: While both cities can experience occasional snow flurries, Hobart’s mountainous regions are more likely to see snow accumulation, offering opportunities for winter activities like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Overall, while the average temperatures are similar, Hobart has slightly cooler nights, more frequent rain, and a higher chance of experiencing snow, making it feel like a slightly colder winter destination compared to Melbourne.

Featured image of Mount Wellington. Image by Charles Haynes

Touring Tasmania by Public Transport

Tasmania needs little introduction to a mainlander. A place on everyone’s bucket list of places to visit. If you don’t own a caravan, aren’t keen on guided tours, or dealing with car rental companies, you can always opt for touring Tasmania using public transport. Apart from railway and tramway historical groups there are no passenger trains serving the island. But there are plenty of buses and coaches running services between the towns and cities. Tasmanians are friendly people and super proud of their beautiful island home, so expect to meet them firsthand as you travel around using local bus services.

Hobart Botanical Gardens. Image by Geoff Whalan

There are two ways to get to Tasmania: fly or float. You can fly directly to either Hobart or Launceston from most major cities on the mainland. If you’re not keen on air travel and would like to soak up some sea views, there’s always the Spirit of Tasmania. Fares one way Melbourne to Devonport start at just $69.

The trip I’ve laid out below starts from Devonport, travels around the island, and returns to Devonport. The trip takes in the east coast with a stop in Bicheno, then on to Hobart and then across to the west coast to Strahan, with a stop in Queenstown along the way. Then it goes north to Burnie on the Northwest coast and then from Burnie back to Devonport. If you fly into either Launceston or Hobart, start your trip from there. Map of Tasmania.

Seniors Travel Discounts
Seniors and pensioners discounts are easily available. Information on fares.
You can also apply online for a Greencard which will give you a discount of 20%.

Devonport to Launceston coach service
This service is operated by Redline and there are three services (M-F) a day from Devonport to Launceston. The full timetable is at:

Accommodation close to the centre of Launceston | Close to the centre of Devonport

Launceston to Bicheno coach service
There are two services a day from Launceston to Bicheno at 1.20pm and at 4.15pm (M-F) The full timetable can be found at:

Accommodation close to the centre of Bicheno

Bicheno to Hobart
coach service
There is a daily service that leaves Bicheno at 8.45am and gets you into Hobart at 11.45am. The timetable is at:

Accommodation close to the centre of Hobart

Hobart to Queenstown coach service
There’s a daily service from Hobart thru to Queenstown.

Accommodation close to the centre of Queenstown

Queenstown to Strahan coach service

Accommodation close to the center of Strahan

Strahan, Macquarie Harbour, Tasmania. Image by Arthur Chapman

Strahan to Burnie coach service

Accommodation close to the center of Burnie

Burnie to Devonport coach service
There is an hourly service from Burnie through to Devonport and Launceston

Accommodation close to the center of Devonport


Hobart to Cygnet and the Huon Valley
There are numerous services to Huonville and a couple of services to Cygnet each day.

Accommodation close to the center of Huonville

Huonville, TAS, Mountain Peak in the Hartz Mountains National Park, Tasmania.

Hobart to Launceston coach service
There are also regular services between Hobart to Launceston, taking you down through the middle of the island. A fast inland trip.

Regular passenger services ceased in Tasmania in the late 1970’s. However, numerous Railway Historical Groups keep the spirit of rail travel alive, offering the chance to experience a historic steam train or tram ride. The scene above is from the West Coast Wilderness Railway. More>>
Image by Andrew Phelps

Brisbane to Sydney by Train: Why Coffs Harbour Makes the Perfect Midpoint Break

The 14-hour train journey from Brisbane to Sydney can feel endless. Enter Coffs Harbour, the perfect mid-point stopover with convenient lodgings, a charming atmosphere and everything within a short walking distance.

Convenient Comfort:

The Coffs Harbour train station boasts the Caribbean Motel, just a quick 5-minute walk from the station. I can personally vouch for this clean and comfortable option, ideal for a refreshing break. Since you’ll be arriving just after 11.00, if your room isn’t ready, leave your bags with reception and explore!

Culinary Delights:

Across the street, a plethora of restaurants and eateries awaits. There’s also a pub on the corner, The Pier Hotel which also offers meals and accommodation. Craving seafood? Stroll 10 minutes to the Coffs Harbour Fishermen’s Co-operative for delicious fish & chips and a cafe. Alternatively, the Coffs Harbour Yacht Club, which you’ll pass while walking to the Fishermans Coop, offers an excellent lunch and dinner menu.

Scenic Sights:

No Coffs Harbour visit is complete without a walk along the iconic jetty. Enjoy the picturesque scenery after indulging in fish & chips or a yacht club meal.

Next Stop, Sydney:

Two train options connect you to Sydney the next morning. The first departs at 6:26 AM, arriving in Sydney at 3:44 PM. If you prefer a later start, the original Brisbane-Sydney XPT departs Coffs Harbour at 11:05 AM, reaching Sydney at 8:12 PM.

Embrace the Break:

By breaking up your journey in Coffs Harbour, you escape train fatigue, explore a beautiful town, and recharge for the final leg of your trip. So, ditch the long train tunnel and embrace the Coffs Harbour oasis!

I hope this is helpful!

To book go to or call NSWTrainklink 13 22 32. It maybe best that you call to book and advise the agent at NSWTrainlink that you want a ticket from Brisbane to Sydney with a break of journey at Coffs Harbour.

Other accommodation close to the Coffs Harbour Railway Station and Coffs Harbour Jetty

Happy traveling.

Muttonbird Island, with the Coffs Hartbour Jetty beach in the foreground. Image by Dale

Breaking the Sydney-Melbourne Train Journey: Why Albury Is a Perfect Pit Stop

The 11-hour Sydney-Melbourne train ride often induces groans. Cramped seats, even with the recommended aisle strolls and coffee escapes, the journey can feel like an eternity. But there’s a magic spell to break this monotony – a mid-point pit stop in the city of Albury.

Right across from the station, you’ll find the convenient, clean, safe and comfortable Winsor Park Motor Inn. I speak from personal experience – its clean rooms and welcoming atmosphere have made it my preferred refuge for breaking up the journey.

Albury’s vibrant main street awaits just a short stroll away, packed with cafes, shops, and local character. If you haven’t graced this city with your presence, prepare to be pleasantly surprised!

Now, let’s tailor your break. Depart Sydney on the Sydney to Melbourne 7:40 AM XPT and arrive in Albury at 3:10 PM – the perfect time to check into your motel and explore downtown.

Need to be in Melbourne early the next morning? The 4:08 AM XPT from Albury takes you straight to Southern Cross by 7:30 AM. Find the full Sydney-Melbourne XPT timetable here:

But maybe you’re on a leisurely holiday or making that epic, once-in-a-lifetime journey. Victoria’s Vline offers a range of Albury-Melbourne options for a more relaxed pace. The first train departs at 6:54 AM, reaching Southern Cross by 10:27 AM, while the 12:51 PM service arrives at 2:33 PM. Explore the complete timetable and more Vline details here: (Click on “Melbourne to Albury/Wodonga via Seymour, Benalla and Wangaratta”).

And if you’d like to continue to Melbourne on the XPT, the 3:10 PM service from Albury whisks you into Southern Cross by 6:30 PM.

So, ditch the seat-time blues and embrace the Albury advantage. Break up your journey, recharge your spirit, and discover a delightful detour on your Sydney-Melbourne rail adventure. While numerous motels line Albury station, the Winsor Park Motor Inn has earned my personal recommendation for a comfortable and convenient stay.

To book (online) the Sydney to Albury leg of the journey go to or call NSWTrainklink 13 22 32

More info about VLine booking info, timetables an contact go to:

Or call VLine on 1800 800 007

Happy travels.

Image by Wei Zhang from Pixabay

Sydney to Adelaide by train and coach

Here are five ways of travelling overland by public transport between Sydney and Adelaide. I’ve started with the most expensive – The Indian Pacific – which kicks off with a one-way fare of $639.  The most economical is FireFly Express which does the Sydney – Melbourne – Adelaide run for a moderate sum of $70.00.

1. The Indian Pacific

This is the most expensive way to get there. But of course, it’s also the most luxurious. The trip takes two days and one night aboard this luxury train. The fares start from around $639 one way, with 3 meals included.  The Indian Pacific leaves Sydney every Wednesday. If you’ve never been on a trip on a luxury train before, here’s your chance.

For further information

2. NSWTrainLink to Broken Hill then a coach to Adelaide

There is a NSW TrainLink train that starts from Sydney (Central) Mondays only at 06:18 and arrives in Broken Hill at 19:40 (EST). This service does not connect with the Broken Hill to Adelaide coach. At the time of writing, I couldn’t find any published timetable for this Broken Hill to Adelaide coach service. The only information I could obtain was found on the Trip Planner page for a service that departs Broken Hill on Mondays and Fridays.  The last service I could find departs Broken Hill for Adelaide on Monday 20th June 2022.  After that there were no further services listed. The best suggestion would be to call NSW TrainLink on 13 22 32.

Here’s the NSW TrainLink Sydney to Broken Hill timetable

There’s also a train service that departs Sydney (Central) daily at 07:19 to Dubbo. This daily train service connects with the daily NSWTrainlink coach service through to Broken Hill arriving at 23:15 (EST).

Here’s the timetable

You can make bookings online at or call 13 22 32.

Note: When searching the NSWTrainLink bookings site, be aware that the coach for Adelaide leaves the Broken Hill Town Coach Stop (not Broken Hill railway station) and arrives at Adelaide Central Bus Station.

Last time I checked, the adult fare was listed as $63.91. The Pensioner/Senior Concession Card fare came up as $44.39.

3. NSW TrainLink train from Sydney to Melbourne then the Overland train from Melbourne to Adelaide

The Overland train departs Melbourne for Adelaide at 08:05  and arrives in Adelaide at 18:00 twice a week. If you’re travelling from Sydney, you’d need to book your seat on the Overland first then decide when to leave Sydney for Melbourne on the twice-daily XPT  train service. You’ll probably need to overnight in Melbourne. If you were to catch the evening XPT from Sydney to Melbourne, it arrives in Melbourne at 07:30. The Overland leaves for Adelaide at 08:05. That leaves you only 35 minutes to change trains! 

An economy full adult fare, called the Red Standard, on the Overlander from Melbourne to Adelaide started at $114/pp.

An economy full adult fare aboard the XPT train from Sydney to Melbourne started at $117.23/pp.

The Sydney to Melbourne timetable is at

Make a booking for the Sydney to Melbourne XPT train at or call 13 22 32

For more info on the Overlander and bookings at or call 1800 703 357.

If you’re a Qantas Frequent Flyer member you can earn points when booking or pay for your booking with points at Journey Beyond Rail

4. NSWTrainLink Sydney to Albury then VLink coach from Albury to Adelaide.

This trip is a good option. The trip involves catching the evening train, the Sydney – Melbourne XPT, as far as Albury where you’ll change for a coach to Adelaide. The train leaves Sydney at 20:42 M-F, and arrives in Albury at 04:08. The Adelaide bound coach leaves Albury M-F at 04:25 and arrives in Adelaide at 17:55. That’s a long trip! A total of around 20 hours of travel time.

Unfortunately, you can’t book from Sydney to Adelaide in a single booking using the NSWTrainLink bookings page (at the time of writing this article). The only way is to book with NSWTrainLink from Sydney to Albury, then direct with VLine for the Albury to Adelaide section of the trip.

Here’s the NSWTrainLink Sydney to Albury timetable.

Here’s the NSWTrainLink bookings page. or call on 13 22 32.

Here’s the timetable from Albury to Adelaide.

Here’s the link to the VLine bookings page. or call 1800 800 007.

The fares from Sydney to Albury at the time of writing were full fare $73.87 and $51.13 concession.

The fares from Albury to Adelaide at the time of writing were full fare $68.40 and $34.20 concession.

This brings the total cost from Sydney to Adelaide via Albury to $142.27 full fare and $85.33 concession.

5. Sydney to Adelaide by coach using Firefly Express

Firefly Express run coaches between Sydney and Melbourne and also between Melbourne and Adelaide. They are, as I write this article, offering the best price for a budget traveller of $35.00 for Sydney to Melbourne and $35.00 for Melbourne to Adelaide. And yes, you can also travel from Sydney to Melbourne overnight and meet another coach in Melbourne headed for Adelaide.

For full details, go to:

Please be aware that fares and departure times mentioned in this article are liable to change.

Bon Voyage.

Photo by <a href="">Syed Hadi Naqvi</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>
Morning view of Seacliff beach Adelaide. Photo by Syed Hadi Naqvi on Unsplash

Summer holiday in Wilcannia

Few people take their summer holidays in Wilcannia.

“It’s too hot!” Everyone told us before we departed. I tried to book the trip in spring but the train was full and so was the accommodation we were planning to stay at. So summertime (January 2021) it had to be.

As history goes, I’d first passed through Wilcannia on a hitchhiking trip back in January 1997. As the truck I’d hitched a lift with crossed the Darling River into Wilcannia from the east, the truck driver pointed out the old lift bridge that allowed the paddle steamers to pass. As we entered the town I was taken by the sight of the beautiful old stone buildings in the dry and dusty landscape.

For the next 23 years, Wilcannia, was on my bucket list of places I wanted to return to for a closer inspection. A vivid picture of those beautiful old buildings was burnt into the back of my mind.

Raining in Broken Hill NSW
It rarely rains in Broken Hill – except when I go there.

My partner and I had travelled to Broken by train twice before. The first time we travelled straight through. But 13 hours in the same seat is a little too long for me, so the next time we broke the journey at Bathurst and stayed at the Victoria Hotel, across the street from Bathurst railway station. This time we decided to break the journey at Parkes.

Sydney to Parkes

Since the weekly NSW TrainLink train service Sydney to Broken Hill departs Sydney Mondays only, we departed Sydney on a Sunday using our Gold Opal cards aboard the 12:24 Opal service to Lithgow and alighted at Blackheath for lunch. After lunch at the Ivanhoe Hotel, we boarded the 18:38 Opal service from Blackheath to Lithgow. Blue Mountains line timetable.

At Lithgow we joined the NSWTrainlink coach which departed at 17:25  to Parkes. Here’s a link to the NSW TrainLink Western Line timetable

The cost for this section of the journey using our Seniors cards was $23.64. Bookings are required through NSW TrainLink

Arrival at Parkes was at 21:40. We’d booked a night at the Henry Parkes Motor Inn just a few minutes’ walk from the coach stop at the Parkes railway station. The motel is beautifully maintained and spotlessly clean – 5/5. 

The next morning (Monday) the motel owners minded our bags while we headed out to explore the town on foot in the hot but dry air. A pleasant change from the humidity of Sydney.

We walked through town up as far as the Tourist Information Offce, about 3km out of town. On return we picked up our bags and headed down for lunch at the newly renovated Railway Hotel, just a few minute’s walk from Parkes railway station.

Although Parkes station only sees two trains a week, it is well maintained and has staff. 

Parkes to Broken Hill

Our train to Broken Hill arrived and departed on time at 12:48.  The train left Sydney at 06:18 the same morning. Click here for the timetable.

The Seniors card fare is just $2.50 for this section of the journey from Parkes to Broken Hill. This fare was a (CPE) Country Pensioner Excursion fare, available to all Seniors card holders. You’ll need to book beforehand at the NSW TrainLink booking site.

The first major stop after leaving Parkes was Ivanhoe where all the passengers were allowed off the train to stretch their legs.

Arrival at Broken Hill was about an hour late caused by speed restrictions due to the chance of the summer heat buckling the track.

We then spent two nights across the street from the Broken Hill railway station at the Comfort Inn – a one-minute walk from the station. It’s the perfect place to stay in Broken Hill if you arrive by coach or train. Rates are reasonable, and if you join the Choice Hotels Customer Loyalty program before booking, you’ll get a discount on the prices shown.

Broken Hill to Wilcannia

Departure from Broken Hill to Wilcannia was aboard the Community coach service which departs from the Broken Hill post office 5 days a week at 14:30. The fare for Seniors cardholders is $2.50. Arrival at Wilcannia is at 17:30. (Wilcannia time) Note that Broken Hill is on (CST) Central Standard Time, while Wilcannia is in on (EST) Eastern Standard Time.

In Wilcannia we were booked into Warrawong On The Darling. The bus driver went out of his way to help all his passengers aboard his bus (about 10) by dropping them off at their final destinations. Warrawong On The Darling is about 3 km out of town and he drove us out there. Now, how’s that for country hospitality! It was a great place to stay, the only negative is the distance from town. But for any senior, the twenty-five-minute walk each way to town is a lot more fun than an hour in the gym!

It was a joy to walk across the old lift bridge, over the Darling River into Wilcannia. I’ll admit I was somewhat disappointed as there were not as many of the old buildings still standing as there were when I visited 23 years earlier. The police station, post office, courthouse, hospital, and council buildings were all still there and in perfect condition. Other buildings were in a state of disrepair. I was told that the original stone the buildings were built from had the tendency to crumble. It was a very enjoyable walk around town. We stopped to talk with the locals who were friendly and informative. One local was out taking his beautiful French bulldog for a walk. We finished our walk with a drink at the Wilcannia Golf Club.

Wilcannia to Nyngan

After two nights in Wilcannia we departed Wilcannia for Nyngan aboard the NSW TrainLink, Broken Hill to Dubbo coach service which leaves Wilcannia, daily at 06:15. The trip included a refreshment stop in Cobar and arrived at Nyngan at 11:25. The Seniors fare is just $2.50. You’ll need to make a booking on the NSW Trainlink Regional trains and coaches booking page.

In Nyngan we stayed at the Outback Motor Inn which was very clean and comfortable. On arrival I requested a room overlooking the railway. The people at reception looked a little perplexed at my strange request. I then told them I was a train enthusiast like Michael Portillo and instantly a smile of recognition came over their faces. They gave us the perfect room.

We’d just entered our room and dropped our bags when an empty ore train heading through to Cobar blew its horn. I opened the curtains for a great view of the train and ran for my camera.

Nyngan to Millthorpe

Next morning we caught the same coach service we’d arrived on through to Dubbo. This coach departed Nyngan at 11:25. At Dubbo, we changed for the Dubbo to Sydney XPT train through to Millthorpe, an historic village between Orange and Blayney. This was again a CPE fare of just $2.50 for the entire journey from Nyngan to Millthorpe. You’ll need to make a booking on the NSW Trainlink Regional trains and coaches booking page. Click here for the timetable.

Millthorpe has cobbled streets, gift and antiques shops, art galleries, a museum, restaurants, cafes and two hotels. We stayed the night at the Millthorpe Motel and dined at the Tonic Restaurant. This really blew the budget, but worth every cent. It was a nice change from the kangaroo burgers and wombat stew we’d been living on further west. Just kidding :).

Millthorpe to Sydney

Next day was Sunday. We spent the morning drinking coffee, eating cakes and exploring the antique and craft shops – as you do in Millthorpe. Later that same day (Sunday) we boarded the 13:50 NSW TrainLink coach through to Lithgow. This coach service connected with an Opal service into to Sydney. Click here for the timetable. The cost for this section of the trip from Millthorpe to Lithgow was $9.80 for Seniors card holders. Bookings are required.

Millthorpe N.S.W

Don’t forget to check carefully all the timetables and have your bookings in place before leaving. We’re not responsible for any changes.

Bon Voyage.

Below is a breakdown of fares paid on the journey.

Sydney to Lithgow$2.50Opal
Lithgow to Parkes23.64NSWTrainLink
half fare
Parkes to Broken Hill$2.50NSW TrainLink
CPE fare
Broken Hill to Wilcannia$2.50Wilcannia
Tourism Assoc.
Wilcannia to Nyngan$2.50NSW TrainLink
CPE fare
Nyngan to Millthorpe$2.50NSW TrainLink
CPE fare
Millthorpe to Lithgow$9.80NSWTrainLink
half fare
Lithgow to Sydney$2.50Opal

FAQ Train travel – Brisbane to Melbourne

1. Who provides the rail service between Melbourne – Sydney – Brisbane?

The rail service is provided by Transport NSW.  Their site provides timetables, fares, and bookings online.

2. Can I catch a train from Melbourne through to Brisbane without having to change trains in Sydney?

No, unfortunately. Such a service has been contemplated for the last 100 years or more. Maybe one day it will happen. For the time being, you need to catch a CountryLink train to Sydney. Then change for another CountryLink train to Brisbane.

3. Can I take a battery-powered short wave/FM radio on the train?

Good question. Yes, you certainly can. Unlike airplanes, trains don’t have sensitive navigation equipment that radios can interfere with. Also, suggest you take some earphones. The reception in many places is not very good.

4. Can I take my mobile phone and use it on board?

Yes, you can. You can have radios, mobile phones, CD players, etc on and work from the time you board the train right to the end of your journey. The good thing is that you don’t have to turn them off every time the train arrives and leaves a station.

5. Is there an ATM machine on board the train?.

No there isn’t, but Visa and Mastercard, credit, and debt cards are accepted onboard. Take some cash with you if you prefer to use cash.

6. Is there a Movie screen and TV onboard.

Not on the trains between Sydney and Melbourne. This helps to keep the old fashioned romantic feel of rail travel. You’ll be able to experience travel just like your baby boomer parents did. Back in those days before the internet, mobile phones, etc, people actually sat around on trains and talked to one another – amazing!

7.With no TV or movies, I’d expect CountryLink to provide some magazines like the airlines do. Am I right?

Country Link does have its own in house magazine like the airlines do. Apart from that, you might be lucky to find an old copy of Time magazine that some other passenger has left behind. It has always been a tradition in rail travel to buy yourself a magazine at the station before departure.

8. I’ve just recently immigrated to Australia. Can I get a vegetarian meal like I do on the airplanes?

Yes. You’ll need to inform CountryLink 48 hours before departure.

9. What sort of food does the snack bar sell?

Good Aussie tucker. Pies, scones, Cherry Ripes, cups ‘a’ tea, etc. They also provide cooked lunches and dinners.

10. Can I get an alcoholic beverage onboard?

Yes, you can. Beer and wine are available. The beer may be watered down to stop you from getting drunk. Only light beer is sold on certain trains.

11. Do trains have sleeping accommodation?


12. Is there a shower on board.

Yes. For sleeping class passengers only.

13. Is there anywhere on the train I can smoke.

Certainly not. Smoking is banned on all trains in Australia.

14. Does the train make a stop occasionally so that I can get out, stretch my legs and have a smoke?

Yes. But to keep to the timetable, stops are short-lived. You’ll know when a smoking stop is approaching as half the carriage will jump out of their seats and head for the door.

15. Can I get a through train from Sydney to Cairns.

No. You need to change trains in Brisbane and catch another train, run by a different company in a different state.

The Brisbane to Cairns trains are run by TravelTrain which is a part of QR

16. Why doesn’t Australia have one company and one gauge to cover the whole country like Amtrak. Wouldn’t that be simpler?

That’s a good idea.

Around Australia by public transport

Yes! It’s possible to travel around Australia by public transport. There are numerous ways to do the trip by using trains and coach services and numerous routes you can take.

Sydney – Darwin – Broome

We’ll start the trip by heading north from Sydney up to Darwin and over to Broome in W.A. using Greyhound coaches. Greyhound offers travel passes starting from $329 for a 15-day pass to $1,699 for a 365-day pass. Full details of these passes are at Whimit Travel Passes

You can also do part of the journey by train, from Sydney to Mt. Isa, then Greyhound coach the rest of the way thru to Broome.

May I suggest starting the journey by taking the XPT (train) from Sydney to Brisbane. Here’s the link to the NSWTrainlink Brisbane to Sydney timetable. I’d suggest getting a sleeper.

From Brisbane join the Spirit of Queensland train to Townsville. Here’s more info and timetables

From Townsville, you’ll head west to Mt. Isa. You can do this on the train called the Inlander. More information on the Inlander can be found here.

Once you’ve arrived in Mt. Isa it’s Greyhound coaches through to Alice Springs, Darwin and Broome.

Broome, Western Australia.

Broome to Perth

From Broome, there’s a coach service to Perth provided by Integrity Coachlines. Full details and fares are available at their website.

Perth – Adelaide

The only train service from Perth to Adelaide is the Indian Pacific. There are NO coach services unfortunealey. The one way fare from Perth to Adelaide starts at $1,279. Check their website at

Adelaide to Melbourne

There’s the Overland train from Adelaide to Melbourne. Full details here.

There’s also a coach service from Adelaide to Melbourne provided by VLine

Melbourne to Sydney

The Melbourne to Sydney XPT (train) runs 7 days a week. Further info from the TransportNSW website

Bon Voyage!