North by North West – A northern NSW Odyssey by Private Train – March

From coast to inland plains, volcanic ranges and classic country towns this adventure celebrates the variety that the northern regions of NSW have to offer the Railway Adventurer. From the window of your trains and coach, an ever-changing vista of our coastal and country landscapes will be on show.

For most of the tour you will be rolled along on rarely visited country rail lines on board a comfortable classic 1960’s heritage doubleended Railmotor, the pride of the fleet at the volunteer-run Rail Motor Society at Paterson in the Hunter Valley. We will visit them along with a wonderful long list of special museums, homesteads, and observatories together with charming country cities, towns and villages.

The route we take begins with the boarding of our Railmotor for the journey 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 and restaurants before capping it off with a sunset soiree at Ruwenzori Retreat, Scott McGregor’s private mountain top hideaway. The last day takes us on the normally inaccessible freightonly line down the Goulburn, Bylong and Hunter Valleys to Sydney. Thus Completing a wonderful adventure taking you North by North West across a great chunk of country and coastal NSW.

Steam Adventure In Southern QLD Across Northern NSW

The 1880’s saw a number of Nation building events that inspire the core of this adventure across Southern Queensland and Northern NSW. In the mid 1880’s Queensland’s railway construction boom reached Warwick, which soon became one of the main railway towns in the state.

By the late 1880’s Queensland and NSW were joined by rail at Wallangarra and in 1889 Sir Henry Parkes arrived by special train to Tenterfield and marched up to the School Of Arts where he delivered his famous ‘Tenterfield Oration’, paving the way for the states to push ahead with Federation. Nation building, railway revolutions and the border lands of NSW and Queensland are pivotal themes in this exciting adventure. Queensland is blessed with one of the longest narrow-gauge rail systems in the world (3’6” – ‘Cape Narrow’), which has given the state’s trains a character of their own. From our welcome dinner at the ‘Transcontinental Hotel’ in the heart of Brisbane, the theme of a nation linked by rail will unfold.

Travel from Brisbane to Ipswich, Swanbank, Toowoomba, and Warwick, before taking the rare chance to travel by steam to the border at Goondiwindi. Further explorations around the border country and the New England by privately chartered rail-motor expand your horizons before we return by specially chartered steam train on the Great Northern Railway, the original Sydney to Brisbane line across the Granite Belt to Stanthorpe and Warwick and our final hurrah back in Toowoomba.

This rich adventure will take you on some of the rare sections of the region’s railways not normally traversed by passenger trains. All the while the unique character and history of these once busy lines will be revealed from on board our special steam hauled heritage trains. Trace the route of the border with NSW on this comprehensive tour and experience the stories of the linking of the colonies of NSW and Queensland via the Great Northern Railway.

Wings and Wheels by Private Train

The 20th century saw the creation of some classic planes, trains and automobiles, many of which are still in fine working order and on occasion are rolled out for all to enjoy. In the case of our special private train tour around south and central NSW we will have front row seats at the flying display of some of the most iconic vintage aircraft to fly in Australian skies.

Travel in style to Temora on our very own heritage train complete with streamlined diesel locos and retro restored carriages. Embark at Central Station on this special journey that will take you over 1000’s kms around the state dropping in on all manner of busy towns, sleepy villages, country pubs, gardens, and museums.

Southern Queensland By Rail, Road And Special Steam Trains

This tour of discovery on some very special railways takes you across Southern Queensland’s ranges from Brisbane to Toowoomba, then continues onto Warwick by special steam train for the historic run across the Downs and the wild Granite Belt up the range to Wallangarra. From there we turn North West and venture across the rich Darling Downs to Dalby soaking up the rural landscapes, historic homes and colonial histories.

The Bunya Mountains National Park offer a rare insight into a very special botanical site, rich with Aboriginal cultural significance and from there it’s a scenic drive down the ranges to Gympie and another great steam train journey along the Mary Valley.

The colonial delights of Maryborough, home to the creator of Mary Poppins and just up the road the seaside town of Hervey Bay is the bookend to this varied adventure. All in all, you’ll experience a grand round trip tailor made to showcase the rich characters stories and great train journeys of Queensland’s great South East.

Southern Steam Spectacular

Over two years in the making this record-breaking Australian heritage rail journey will take you behind some of the country’s oldest and finest steam locomotives and carriages. Never before has a tour featured eight steam locomotives in one journey! Our star feature will be a short run on the 130-year-old locomotive Y112, as well as several sections where two or three locomotives will haul at the same time.

Visit the small town of Wycheproof where the line runs right up the middle of the Calder Highway through town. Spend some time in Maldon, which has retained an authentic pioneer-like appearance and a well-preserved gold-mining era history. Enjoy the unique pleasure of cruising the Murray River aboard a paddle wheeler at Echuca. All with excellent guides, many meals included, and a group of like-minded fellow travellers sharing the journey!

Travel far away from the well-worn main tracks, through country Victoria, along lines that in several instances haven’t seen these locomotives in over half a century! This is your time to sit back as you enjoy sweeping views of the countryside, savouring the simple delights of travel, as it used to be.

Victoria by Train, coach and private paddle steamer! 

The dawn of the railway age in Victoria was perfectly timed, coming hot on the heels of the greatest gold rush in Australia’s history. The windfall from mining royalties was crucial in funding the construction of the country’s first main line railways. These branched out in the 1850s and ‘60s to reach the ‘Pot of Gold’, the Murray River, at Echuca in 1864. Here, the riverboat trade was also booming and the coming of the railway added another spoke to this already busy hub. Our special short adventure celebrates this golden age of rail and river transport in the colony of Victoria. It culminates in a kind of re-enactment of the famous ‘meeting of the whistles’ at the Port of Echuca, where steam train and steamboat connected in a hail of whistles echoing over the town and river – the sound that once reminded one and all of the prosperity and enterprise of their great state. Join us on a journey that showcases not only Victoria’s culturally rich cities and towns, but also its unique natural beauty, iconic gold-rush history, sublime local gastronomy and character-filled railways. We begin our journey by experiencing the efficient, modern regional rail service before embarking on steam-powered transport that takes us back in time, and then on to the state’s northern border. Here we experience the mighty Murray aboard the quaint PS Emmylou paddle steamer, where we enjoy a lunch cruise on this iconic vessel. Our next departure point is Bendigo staying in the grand old Shamrock Hotel and exploring the city at length. We visit Maryborough’s grand station which is also a monument to another age and then settle into Ballarat for a few nights to explore the region, including a visit to Daylesford for a private charter of the charming DERM Railway and time at Sovereign Hill to explore and view the recently revamped light and sound show. Victoria’s natural beauty is on show at the Grampians National Park and rides on The Overland, Puffing Billy and Australia’s premier rail restaurant the ‘Q Train’ cap off a mighty trip around The Garden State in the height of autumn.

The Central West Explorer – November

New South Wales is blessed with a number of interesting ‘cross country’ railways, linking the main lines radiating out from Sydney, allowing trains to follow a circular path in different regions of the state. One of these is the ‘Sandy Hollow line’, started in 1937, and completed, in part, in 1985. This normally freight-only line is open to special trains from time to time and on this occasion our privately chartered nifty little Rail Motor has specific accreditation to traverse this scenic run. The interesting route of this cross-country link has allowed us to create a special Railway Adventure looping around the captivating highlights of the Central West of NSW. Here is a region rich with history; appealing characters, great scenery, fine food, wine and places to stay. There are museums to fossils and folk history, legendary images and colonial incarceration and, not to be missed, Australia’s newest railway museum in Bathurst. There’s quaint Gold Rush era villages and bustling regional hubs, snaking rivers, cavernous coal mines, pristine bushland, canyons, ranges, and some of the finest farms, vineyards, grazing country, studs and native bush that you’re likely to see anywhere in the country. Sometimes along comes the right train, at the right time, in the right place and here it is; a tour hosted by a central west local, on your own hop on hop off private train on a loop around the heart of NSW, enjoying the best of the regions food, wine, entertainment, and accommodation. Join me, Scott McGregor on this very special short escape to one of Australia’s most appealing and intriguing regions.

Mudgee Weekend Escape  – October

With a well-known and much-revered train at our disposal, the retrorestored Capertee Valley Explorer (also known as East Coast Heritage Rail), made up of vintage heritage carriages, with lounge and bar services. We’ll roll over the Blue Mountains, skirting the magnificent Capertee Valley to the rural idyll of Rylstone with a couple of stops and a sit-down lunch on board in the trains dining cars. Upon arrival in the charming village of Rylstone, you’ll be transferred in comfortable coaches to the historic food and wine lovers’ paradise of Mudgee, where the fun begins. Staying in the best accommodation available, your weekend kicks off with an evening at one of Mudgee’s favourite establishments for a fun evening of wine, food and music. The next day is devoted to exploring the region with tours of Mudgee, either at the heritage Gold Rush town of Gulgong or tastings more wines at the finest wineries of the Cudgegong Valley. We cap off the day with a sunset cocktail reception at Scott’s private Rail-themed retreat, Ruwenzori Your return to Sydney by private train on the Monday completes a very special adventure to one of NSW’s most appealing regional centres.

NSW Outback by rail, road and river

Outback NSW is stocked full of historic sights, astounding mining, rural and Aboriginal history, and some extraordinary natural wonders offering a wealth of variety in one vast package. This magnificent journey takes you across the entire length of the state and down to the Riverina in a giant loop made possible by the once-a-week train services linking Sydney with Broken Hill, and separately, with Griffith with Sydney.

Top of the list is the hugely important Lake Mungo World Heritage site – not always accessible and tightly monitored – we are lucky enough to have our guide on hand to illuminate the significance of this amazing site and tell the story of the incredible discoveries made there. The Menindee Lakes, Broken Hill and the wild country around Pooncarie are all highlights of this Outback adventure, however it’s the excursions at each end of the tour that set the scene. First, on the Central Tablelands at Bathurst, Parkes and Millthorpe and then a week later in Griffith in the rich heart of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area where our rural history and culture are on full display, confirming the fact that Australia is indeed a lucky country blessed with a rich agricultural heritage and an inspiring rural, mining and aboriginal legacy.

Take the train over the mountains to the wide-open plains, past the Darling River and back via the Murrumbidgee through Hay to our final hurrah in the wine and food bowl of Griffith, before taking the epic rail journey halfway across the state via the Great Southern Railway back to Sydney. Let Robert, and the characters you’ll meet along the way, be your hosts for a great Australian rail and road journey like no other, in the wonderful, timeless, colourful NSW Outback.

Tasmania by Rail, Road and River

Our tour circumnavigates Australia’s ‘holiday state’ and brings together a wonderful collection of iconic sights, scenery and interesting encounters. Imagine yourself riding in the balcony coach of a hard-working steam train up the wild West Coast mountains or revelling in the sublime beauty of Cradle Mountain Lake. Along the way, you’ll enjoy the hospitality of warm and welcoming locals, gourmet foods and wines, quality accommodation and unique side trips on rail, road and river. All of this in the company of your experienced and knowledgeable host, who’ll share with you the unique flavours and bring to life the stories of this fascinating island.

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