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

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.

North Coast Rail Tour

This journey takes you along the scenic North Coast Line through the Central Coast, the Mid-North Coast and Northern Rivers regions of New South Wales. You'll discover the beautiful Hastings River at Port Macquarie, the breathtaking hinterland rainforest and eclectic community of Byron Bay, the crystal clear creeks and the uncrowded surf beaches of the Mackay Valley Coast, and the history and heritage of Maitland & Morpeth.

Unpack Only once and enjoy everything that slow rail touring provides.

The Borderlands Steam Adventure

The 1880’s saw a number of Nation building events that inspire the core of this adventure across Southern Queensland and Northern NSW. Queensland’s railway construction boom reached Warwick in 1871 and quickly became one of the main railway towns in the state.

By the late 1880’s Queensland and NSW were joined by rail further south from Warwick at the border town of Wallangarra, and not long after, 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, 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 railmotor 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.

Mudgee Weekend Escape  – Anzac Day

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.

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 Wine & Heritage Long Weekend Escape

Mudgee, a charming and popular heritage town nestled in the hills of the Central West Tablelands, is a community that’s lost its train. There are existing lines north and south of the valley, but the ‘missing link’ of about 70 kilometres, with Mudgee in the middle, has not seen a train for twenty years. On this special adventure, we will bridge that gap with a fun filled round trip arriving in Mudgee by the Great Northern and Sandy Hollow Railways and returning by the Great Western Line and the existing operational section of the Mudgee branch line. This tour offers an opportunity to experience a grand loop with a couple of days in Mudgee in the middle to explore and indulge the senses, or if the desire takes you, you can ride our vintage rail motor on a full day run across the lines of the Central West through Dubbo, Orange, Bathurst to the town of Wallerawang. From there on the last day we’ll all meet with our train at the village of Rylstone for the scenic journey down the Capertee Valley and the Blue Mountains back to Sydney.

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.

Accreditations: A14416
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