Why You Should Travel By Train In Australia
Australia is a big country. It is the only country which is also a continent. In fact, it is the world’s 6th largest country.
And most of it is uninhabited with hostile and/or extreme climates.
Oh, and distances between major cities are massive. In fact it seems like the major cities are spread out equally around the coast of the country, with no two major cities being too close or convenient to each other.
Luckily Great Southern Rail links most of these cities, and crosses some pretty extreme terrains in their comfortable trains.
So why should you travel by train in Australia?
As fun as road trips are, it is difficult to escape sore butt syndrome when driving for long periods of time. And if you are road tripping in Australia, believe me, you will be driving for long periods of time. If you are travelling by train, you can stand up and walk around at your leisure – without stopping and pulling over. If you have invested in a sleeper cabin then you can even lie down flat and have a nap, and if you are in the economy carriage, well you can still get pretty much flat if you fancy a snooze.
When you travel by train in Australia, everything you need will be at your disposal. Even in the most budget of options there is still a fully functioning cafe available (selling items at surprisingly reasonable prices), showers, power points, and even lounge access if you desire it.
When you travel by train there is no need to decide on driving rotas as no one will get stuck as the driver. Everyone can just relax and enjoy the ride.
Travelling by train in Australia, is by far, without a doubt, much safer than travelling by car.
- You don’t need to worry about the driver getting overtired. Driving while drowsy is incredibly dangerous, and it’s easy to overdo it when driving on the unchanging roads of the Australian interior.
- You don’t need to worry about your car breaking down where you don’t have mobile reception or when you are far away from a nearby town.
- You don’t need to worry about running out of water and dying of dehydration in the Australian outback like explorers Burke and Wills.
- According to popular horror movie Wolf Creek, there are murderers EVERYWHERE in the Australian outback. Avoid them by taking the train.
- Same as above but replace murderers with poisonous animals.
- You don’t need to worry about killing yourself or your travel companions as a result of being stuck together in too small of an area with each other for too long. The train offers you the chance to get up and move around if your travel partner becomes unbearable.
If you still want to travel by car, make sure to check out my outback driving tips first.
The train doesn’t stop when you need to pee. It doesn’t stop for food breaks. It doesn’t stop for petrol. And it doesn’t stop when you sleep. So I need to point out why it is faster than driving?
There is no doubt about it, petrol costs in Australia are high, and they are only set to rise in the future. We were easily spending between 80 – 100 dollars per day on some of our longer driving days with our campervan – and we had one of the more fuel efficient models of van! If you have a backpacker discount card (ex. YHA, VIP, etc) you can get great concession rates on Great Southern Rail, which will make your trip likely much cheaper than if you chose to self drive.
This post made possible by Great Southern Rail. My Indian Pacific and Ghan journeys were provided complimentary by Great Southern Rail, but all opinions remain my own.