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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.

Dinosaur Country

This special themed adventure from Brisbane to the Dinosaur country in the heart of the state and back to the Coral Coast at Townsville offers a variety of experiences, combining highlights from our other Queensland tours with new destinations and a swag of interesting experiences. From the striking new museums such as the wonderful ‘Age of Dinosaurs’ at Winton and the Lark Quarry, the largest dinosaur run in the world, to the story of the Great Barrier Reef and Magnetic Island and the rural and mining heritage of places like Longreach, Winton and Charters Towers. While you’ll be entranced by the unique palaeontology, you will also delight in the variety to be had on this special adventure by classic overnight sleeper train, to Australia’s inland sea and crystal coast.

Outback Queensland

Australia is indeed a lucky country to have such a captivating collection of great train journeys in one sweeping region. Fly to the Gulf of Carpentaria on board an island-hopping mail-plane. Your journey continues by train across the wide Savannah on the Gulflander. The Savannahlander takes you through the rugged outback, over the high tablelands and down through the rainforest to the coast. Enjoy time in Longreach, Winton, Mount lsa, Normanton and Karumba on the Gulf, the stunning Cobbold Gorge, the intriguing Undara Lava Tubes, and finally to the holiday hub of Cairns. Our tours are topped off by a day trip to the Port Douglas markets and a visit to Mossman Gorge and a day with the Herberton-Atherton Historic Railway in the Atherton Tableland.

The Queensland Coast by rail, road, air and sea

The route of the legendary ‘Sunlander’ is now the haunt of some of Australia’s most advanced and efficient long distance passenger trains. Soak up the best the Sunshine State has to offer on an exciting and historical tour from Brisbane through the Wide Bay and Tropical North riding on the modern ‘Spirit of Queensland’ a train with comfort, style and a schedule that allows for a hop on hop off adventure all the way to Cairns in the far North. The blend of offerings on this comprehensive adventure includes an embarrassment of riches for the traveller, with a variety of train, boat and plane travel linking a plethora of fascinating places. Our tour is inspired by the renaissance of heritage in Queensland and the relaunch of the wonderful Mary Valley Rattler, Gympie’s special steam train. In addition to iconic rail trips, you will watch majestic whales in Hervey Bay, cruise out into the Whitsundays and Magnetic Islands and dine in style at premier eateries en-route. At the end of the day your well-appointed rooms and fine restaurants will be your home away from home. Drink a toast to your health and enjoyment of this classic Queensland railway adventure

Accreditations: A14416
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