Seniors Card Travel: Sydney to Port Macquarie by train for $5

Save on your Port Macquarie trip with Seniors fares!

If you’re a senior who enjoys early starts, you can travel from Sydney to Port Macquarie for just $5. That’s a whopping 87% discount compared to the regular $42.08 fare.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Grab your cards: You’ll need two cards for this journey. First, apply for a Gold Seniors Concessional Opal card if you don’t have one already. It’s easy, and you can receive it within a week or two. Click here to get started: Second, you’ll need your Seniors card, valid in any Australian state. You can apply here:

  2. Book your train: Choose a Dungog to Port Macquarie Country Pensioner Excursion ticket. This special ticket costs only $2.50, but it can only be booked 7 days in advance or less. Book online at:
    Or call NSWtrainLink on 13 22 32. 

  3. Catch the early bird: This deal is only available Monday to Friday. Start your journey with the 5:15am Opal service from Central to Newcastle Interchange, arriving at 7:50am. Find the timetable here:

  4. Connect at Newcastle: You’ll get 39 minutes to enjoy a cuppa, in the cafe near Newcastle Interchange. At Newcastle Interchange, hop on the 8:29am Opal service to Dungog, arriving at 9:50am. See the timetable here:

  5. Board the XPT: In Dungog, catch your pre-booked XPT train departing at 10:43am.

  6. Finish with a bus ride: Arrive in Wauchope at 1:47pm and transfer to a 20-minute coach ride to Port Macquarie.

Enjoy your trip! This option offers significant savings and a scenic journey for seniors who are flexible with their travel times. Remember, this deal is available only Mondays to Fridays.

The coach service will drop you off in the middle of downtown Port Macquarie. There are numerous motels and hotels you can stay at within a short walking distance from where the coach drops you off. 

Important Links

Port Macquarie accommodation – Close to the center of town
Port Macquarie Taxis
Port Macquarie Visitor Information

Center of Port Macquarie. The Town Green. Image by ScenicAviator 

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.

Central Mine Electric Power Plant, Broken Hill Dated: by 11/05/1908

A brief history of mining in Broken Hill

The history of mining in Broken Hill is a remarkable story of discovery, perseverance, and the development of one of the world’s richest mineral deposits. Here is an overview of the history of mining in Broken Hill:

  1. Discovery and Early Years:
    • In 1883, Charles Rasp, a boundary rider, discovered the rich silver-lead-zinc ore deposits in Broken Hill. Rasp and his partners formed the syndicate that eventually became the Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP).
    • The mining operations started in the late 1880s, with miners working under challenging conditions to extract the valuable minerals from the ore bodies.
  2. Growth and Expansion:
    • The early 1900s saw a rapid growth of mining activities in Broken Hill. Several mines were developed along the Line of Lode (the Line of Lode is one of the world’s largest bodies of ore, containing the silver, lead and zinc), including the famous mines like the Central, South, and North mines.
    • As mining operations expanded, more advanced machinery and techniques were introduced to increase production and efficiency.
  3. Labor Movement and Industrial Struggles:
    • The mining industry in Broken Hill saw the rise of strong labor movements and trade unions. The Amalgamated Miners’ Association (AMA) was formed to protect the rights and interests of the workers.
    • Industrial struggles and strikes occurred in the early 20th century, as miners fought for better working conditions, fair wages, and improved safety measures.
  4. Technological Advancements:
    • The mining industry in Broken Hill witnessed significant technological advancements. In the early days, mining was done manually, but over time, machinery and equipment such as mechanical hoists, drills, and ore crushers were introduced to streamline operations and increase productivity.
  5. Diversification and Legacy:
    • While silver, lead, and zinc were the primary minerals mined in Broken Hill, mining activities diversified over the years to include other minerals such as copper, gold, and iron ore.
    • The legacy of mining in Broken Hill is immense. It has contributed to the growth of the town, the development of infrastructure, and the establishment of a mining heritage that is celebrated today.


  1. “Broken Hill – A Journey Through Time” by Barbara Mullins
  2. “Broken Hill Heritage Walk” by Broken Hill City Council
  3. “Broken Hill: Its Rise, Progress, and Development” by George Dale
  4. “The Line of Lode: A History of the Mining Industry in Broken Hill” by Ronald T. Carrington

These references provide in-depth information on the history of mining in Broken Hill and offer further insights into the remarkable journey of the mining industry in the region.

Art galleries in Broken Hill

Here is a comprehensive list of art galleries in Broken Hill, along with information about each gallery and their respective website links:

  1. Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery:
    • The Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery is a prominent cultural institution in Broken Hill, showcasing a collection of over 2,000 artworks. It features works by local, national, and international artists.
    • Website: Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery
  2. Pro Hart Gallery:
    • The Pro Hart Gallery is dedicated to the renowned Australian artist Pro Hart. It displays a collection of his paintings, sculptures, and memorabilia, along with works by other local artists.
    • Website: Pro Hart Gallery
  3. Outback Arts Gallery:
    • The Outback Arts Gallery is a community-driven gallery that supports and promotes local artists and artisans in the region. It exhibits a diverse range of art forms and hosts regular exhibitions.
    • Website: Outback Arts Gallery
  4. Silver City Mint and Art Centre:
    • The Silver City Mint and Art Centre combines a gallery, museum, and a working mint. It features artworks by local artists and offers unique displays related to the history and heritage of Broken Hill.
    • Website: Silver City Mint and Art Centre
  5. Desert Equinox Art Gallery:
    • The Desert Equinox Art Gallery showcases contemporary and traditional Indigenous artwork, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and jewelry.
    • Website: Desert Equinox Art Gallery

Please note that opening hours and exhibition schedules may vary, so it’s advisable to check the websites or contact the galleries directly for the most up-to-date information.

Sydney to Moree Explorer train at Moree station

Brisbane or Gold Coast to Moree to soak in the artesian spa baths

Moree is famous for its artesian spa baths and well worth a visit. If you’ve not yet visited these baths just be warned they’re very addictive. Visit once and I guarantee you’ll be planning your next visit before you say goodbye to Moree and head back home.

The good thing about visiting Moree for the baths by train or coach is that the Moree Railway station and coach stop is more or less across the road from the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre. Furthermore, there are numerous small motels close by the Aquatic Centre, all within walking distance.

One of the first sights you’ll see when you arrive is people in their swimsuits ducking across the street between their motel rooms and the aquatic centre. There’s also the Victoria Hotel across from the baths that has accommodation and serve excellent meals. Other popular motels close to the baths are the popular Maria Motel and the Molika Springs Motel both of which we’ve stayed at and can recommend. If you’re looking for a chain motel the Econo Lodge Moree Spa Motor is a little further up the road – 350 m from the hot baths and a 3-minute walk from the railway station and coach stop.

There are also numerous cafes and restaurants close by. If you want Coles or Woolworths, it’s a ten to fifteen-minute walk into town. Or call Moree Taxis on (02) 6752 2753

How to get from Brisbane to Glen Innes, Inverell or Moree

There’s a coach that leaves Brisbane for Moree every Monday and Friday at 10:45 and arrives in Moree at 17:45. The senior’s fare is $88. The coach runs via Warwick and Goondiwindi. Bookings and more details at

For travellers looking for an alternative route using their Seniors card, you can travel from Brisbane to Moree by train from Roma Street. For Seniors card holders the fare is $53.61. The train (Sydney bound XPT) departs Roma Street at 05:55 and reaches Grafton City at 09:53 where you change for a coach to Moree via Glen Innes and Inverell. The coach arrives at Moree station at 16:05. The coach service from Grafton to Moree only runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Here’s a link to the timetable:

Tweed Heads to Glen Innes, Inverell or Moree

If you’re travelling from the Gold Coast to Glen Innes, Inverell or Moree, there’s a NSWTrainLink coach that departs Tweed Heads at 05:15 for Casino. At Casino, you’ll change for a train to Grafton. Arriving in Grafton at 09:53, you’ll then change for a NSWTrainlink coach to Moree via Glen Innes and Inverell, arriving in Moree at 16:05. Note that the Grafton to Moree coach only runs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Here’s the timetable

The cost for Seniors card holders from Tweed Heads to Moree is $2.50 if you book seven (7) days or less prior to your departure.

Surfers Paradise or Burleigh Heads to Glen Innes, Inverell or Moree

There is also a daily NSWTrainLink coach service from Surfers Paradise, stopping at Burleigh Heads and Palm Beach through to Casino to meet with the train to Grafton and coach to Moree. This coach departs Surfers Paradise at 05:00 and Burleigh Heads at 05:20, daily.

The regular Seniors Card holders fare from Surfers Paradise to Moree is $51.30. But, if you caught a local Surfside bus down to Tweed Heads and booked less than seven (7) days prior to your departure from Tweed Heads on a (CPE) Country Pensioner Excursion fare to Moree, you’d only pay $2.50. Here’s the timetable at:

Moree, Inverell or Glen Innes to Brisbane

For your return trip to Brisbane or the Gold Coast go to


Book online at or call NSWTrainLink on 131 500.

Happy travelling.

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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

Visit Bellingen by train/bus

Bellingen is one of those delightful little towns on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales which lies in the too hard basket for many people who love to travel using public transport. It’s a little off the beaten track.

Here’s how to get there using the train and a local bus – just like the locals do. First of all, try to pick a time to visit which coincides with a market weekend.  The town comes alive on market day, the main street fills with people and the cafe scene is alive and colourful. The market is a delight, a showcase of local handicrafts and produce.

The market is held on the third Saturday of each month. Here’s a link to the Bellingen Markets website

If you’re travelling from Sydney book a seat on the XPT that departs Sydney at 07:08 to the town of Urunga. Here’s the train timetable for the NSW North Coast line. Here’s the NSWTrainlink booking form to book online. You can also call NSWTrainlink on 13 22 32 to make a booking.

So that you can meet the bus number 358 Urunga to Bellingen bus at Urunga, you’ll need to travel on a weekday. There is a very limited bus service on the weekend and no services on Sunday. The service is run by Busways. You can download their timetable for the Macksville to Bellingen service here.

If you catch the 07:08 from Sydney you’ll arrive at Urunga at 15:32. The bus to Bellingen leaves from the street at the front of the station at 15:46. There is no official bus stop, you just hail the bus when you see it coming. If the train is late and you miss the 15:46 bus service there is another bus service to Bellingen leaving Urunga at 18:02.

There’s Urunga railway station in the background. Wait here under the tree for Busways #358 service to Bellingen

From Urunga station, it’s only a few minutes walk into Urunga town. In town, the bus leaves from the bus stop with a shelter in front of the Urunga Public School, in Bowra St. Here’s a map of Urunga.

Street scene in Urunga N.S.W.

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