As a traveller, you really only get to appreciate the size of Australia when you’ve been overseas.
When you become aware of the fact that you can get from the centre of London to Paris by train in 2hrs. 15 mins. or fly from Berlin to Budapest in 1hr. 30mins for example, you soon realise how we take (very) long journeys for granted in our part of the world.
To get around intrastate in Australia where air services are limited and distances are often vast, train travel with connecting coaches makes most sense.
In our most densely populated State, the deep network of rail and road connections in NSW can transport you to a whopping 365 different places stretching out to Broken Hill, Moree and Griffith with coaches going beyond those limits and interconnecting the network.
And with NSW TrainLink, you can even go right through to Melbourne or Brisbane.
With travel opportunities of that scale and convenience, visiting friends and family or taking short breaks by train – and not driving for hours on end to reach your destination – seems the obvious choice for hassle-free travel. Flying is of course an option to some regional centres but this can be cost prohibitive with unsuitable schedules and the choice of destinations is limited.
The regional rail network in NSW is categorised by six territories with the outer limits being:
- NORTH – Brisbane
- NORTH WEST – Moree and Armidale
- WEST – Dubbo
- OUTBACK – Broken Hill
- SOUTH WEST – Griffith
- SOUTH – Canberra and Melbourne
To download a PDF of the complete network and the destinations serviced, click here.
When NSW TrainLink coaches are added to the main rail destinations, there’s barely anywhere in the State you can’t reach.
Here are some examples of how the coach connections expand the network’s reach to all corners with many, many locations in between.
- NORTH – Byron and the Gold Coast
- NORTH WEST – Lightning Ridge and Bourke
- SOUTH WEST – Mildura
- SOUTH– Snowys and Eden
For those looking for a little R&R, there are some key leisure destinations that attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.
Customers heading north and arriving in the classic timber town of Wauchope can enjoy a connecting coach to historic Port Macquarie. Showcased by its magnificent coastline, reaching the former penal settlement is a 7hr30 journey from Sydney’s Central Station followed by a short coach trip.
Two hours further up the line, popular Coffs Harbour services the wider Coffs Coast region including day-trip favourites like Bellingen, Dorrigo, Woolgoolga, Urunga and Nambucca for example.
Right in the heart of cattle country, Casino is the gateway to the far north east of the State with direct access to Lismore en-route to the many coastal communities leading up to the Gold Coast just over the Queensland border. Or, if you’re travelling to Brisbane, stay on board passing through Kyogle on your way to Roma St Station as the next and final stop.
Heading North West, the standout leisure trip is to Australia’s home of country music, Tamworth. It’s known as the ‘capital’ of the New England and The Armidale XPLORER runs daily from Sydney stopping at Tamworth.
If it’s the music festival you’re after, it’s held over 10 days every January spread among more than 60 venues.
It might not be a music epicentre but Moree is a regional capital in its own right boasting the luxurious by-products of being hailed ‘Australia’s Artesian Spa Capital’.
The town’s art deco influence and beautiful parks make for an enjoyable and indulgent visit on the daily Moree XPLORER.
The western region is of course dominated by the folkloric Broken Hill. Read our story about train travel and things do in the remote outback post here.
In Dubbo, it’s hard to go passed the Taronga Western Plains Zoo as the peak attraction. The daily XPT from Sydney gets you to Dubbo in about 6hrs 30mins. and from there, you’ll find a comprehensive bus service running six days a week, plenty of taxis and options for bike, bus and car hire.
The Zoo is the drawcard but don’t miss the Old Dubbo gaol or Dundullimal, Australia’s oldest timber-slab homestead.
Finally, on the south network that ultimately terminates in Melbourne, the highlight of the leisure destinations is of course, our national capital.
Increasingly known for its high quality food experiences and the fabulous annual Floriade, Canberra also boasts a long list of must-see attractions that include Parliament House, the National Museum of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, the National Library and the National Art Gallery.
The Canberra XPLORER runs at least twice a day from Sydney and arriving in less than 4hrs 30mins, it sure beats driving!
For all enquiries about travel on NSW regional services, visit NSW TrainLink or call 13 22 32.