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Australia - Steam on Five Gauges (Ground Only)

Australia - Steam on Five Gauges (Ground Only)

New for 2020 and the trip of a lifetime for any dedicated steam enthusiasts! Our escorted rail holiday to Australia boasts six steam railways including four exclusive charters, three railway museums, a major steam festival featuring parallel running, a journey on the XPT train between Melbourne and Sydney, plus free time in both amazing cities!

15 Days From £3250 (Ground Only Fare)



Monday 6 April 2020



  • Discover the historic Victoria Goldfields Railway

  • Travel across the Creek Trestle Bridge on The Puffing Billy Railway

  • Exclusive steam charter at Bellarine Peninsula Railway

  • Explore the Steamrail Victoria Newport Workshops

  • Travel from Melbourne to Sydney on the XPT

  • Scenic train ride into the Blue Mountains

  • Ride on the steepest passenger railway in the world!

  • Private steam charter at the Illawarra Light Railway

  • Guided tour of the huge locomotive collection at the New South Wales Railway Museum

  • Travel in style with a private vintage 1920’s railmotor ride

  • Photo run-pasts and exclusive steam charter from Thirlmere to Buxton

  • Exclusive charter of the 1891 Sydney Steam Tram

  • Scenic rail route north from Sydney to Newcastle

  • Two days and two steam journeys at the incredible Maitland Steam Festival

  • Free time for sightseeing in Melbourne and Sydney




After issuing an ‘Expressions of Interest’ request the response is such that there are more Expressions of Interest than places available on the tour so we are initially retailing this tour at the Ground Only fare and will confirm the flight arrangements once they open at the end of May / early June. The air fare to travel on our group flights is anticipated not to exceed £1250. Secure your tour place now with a ‘Ground Only Fare’ deposit of £300. You are, of course, free to book your own flights to and from Australia. However, if you do so you will not be covered by Railtrail’s ATOL in relation to your flight bookings and operation. Additionally, Railtrail’s public liability insurance will only cover you for the period from arrival at our Melbourne Hotel at the start of the tour until leaving our Sydney hotel at the end of the tour. Our flight arrangements will be given to clients who need the flights from London Heathrow and then we will transfer you to our Flight package and consequently will be given an ATOL certificate to cover the whole tour.



Join the group at our hotel for the next five nights, the Holiday Inn on Flinders.


After breakfast the day is ours to relax and explore the fantastic city of Melbourne at our leisure. Options include the free "Circle Tram" tour of the city plus, the inner-city trams are also free. Our tour manager will advise on evening tram riding options and restaurant locations in the city.



Today we take the one-hour train journey from Southern Cross station to Castlemaine. Here we board the 5'3" gauge Victoria Goldfields Railway steam locomotive and enjoy a return journey across the former Goldfields to Maldon, we may even spot a kangaroo or two during the journey! The railway opened in 1884 and is the last remaining fully operational branch line that was used to develop rural Victoria in the late 19th century. When we arrive in Maldon, we have free time to explore historic former gold rush town with its classic turn of the century buildings. We enjoy lunch at leisure and can even sample some real Aussie ale at the Kangaroo Hotel...yes, it really is called that! We return to Melbourne later in the day.



This morning we travel by local train to Belgrave and a journey aboard the wonderfully preserved 2'6" gauge Puffing Billy Railway. As the turn of century steam locomotive leaves Belgrave, we cross over the historic Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge and venture into a fascinating landscape of rainforests dense with lush ferns, towering mountain ash trees overhead, panoramic rural valleys and rolling green hills. When we arrive into Lakeside Station, we enjoy free time to stretch our legs or buy some refreshments before continuing behind a different steam locomotive along the full length of the 25km line to Gembrook and return.



We travel by private coach to Queenscliff for an exclusive steam charter over the 3'6" gauge Bellarine Peninsula Railway to Drysdale and return. Afterwards we travel by road to the Williamstown Railway Museum where we have a private tour of the largest collection of Victoria Railway engines. There are more than 15 different locomotives, ranging from the diminutive F class up to the H class, the largest locomotive to operate in Victoria. We also have an exclusive visit to the nearby Steamrail Victoria Newport Workshops that date back to the 1880's and are now run by volunteers dedicated to the restoration and operation of vintage steam, diesel and electric locomotives and carriages.



Today we say goodbye to Melbourne and depart on the morning XPT train to our new destination of Sydney, where we arrive in the early evening. There is a café car so we can purchase refreshments on board during our journey. Our route takes you through the city of Wagga Wagga and features a spiral of engineering greatness, as well as a glimpse of rural Australia. When we arrive in Sydney our base for the next six nights is the stylish Rendezvous Hotel, conveniently situated just a 5-minute walk from Sydney Central station.



This morning we enjoy a two hour train ride to Katoomba in the stunning Blue Mountains for a visit to Scenic World. Here we can journey on the Scenic Railway that has been operating since 1945 and discover the thrill of riding on the steepest passenger railway in the world! This unforgettable experience offers glass-roofed carriages with expansive views of the rainforest and descends 310 metres through a cliff-side tunnel. During our day we can also enjoy a stroll along the elevated 2.4 km Walkway, travel on the Cableway and view the rainforest canopy through the glass floor of the Scenic Skyway, the largest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere with 360° views of the Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters and Jamison Valley.



After breakfast we take another scenic local train ride south along the coast to Albion Park for a private steam charter on the 2ft gauge Illawarra Light Railway. We visit the volunteer operated light railway working museum founded in 1972 and during our guided tour we view the steam and diesel collection that were used on industrial and sugar cane lines. We enjoy lunch before we return to Sydney.

B, L

DAY 10

A fascinating and unique rail experience awaits us today! Firstly, we travel by rail to via Campbeltown to Picton where we have a private vintage 1920's railmotor ride from the main line station over the branch to the New South Wales Railway Museum at Thirlmere. After a guided tour of the huge collection of 38 steam locomotives, we view the operating roundhouse and enjoy a group lunch. We then enjoy an exclusive steam charter over the 14 km old main line to Buxton and return with a photo run-by included. We are part of a very elite club today as this line only sees steam four or five times a year! Following our very memorable day we return, in style by vintage railmotor to Picton before boarding our return train back to Sydney Central.

B, L

DAY 11

Today we enjoy a day at leisure to explore the many famous attractions stunning Sydney has to offer. Using our included "Opal" transport pass we can travel on the local trains, tramway and ferries from Circular Quay with great views of the famous Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Why not visit the Tramway Museum at Loftus (entrance payable locally). Your tour guide will advise you on the multitude of attractions available for you to visit in this amazing city.


DAY 12

This morning we travel by local train to Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum located on the site of a 1914 railway roundhouse. The museum exhibits the fascinating history of the main western line and is also home to the Steam Tramway & Preservation Society. During our visit we have lunch and enjoy an exclusive charter of the 1891 Sydney Steam Tram.

B, L

DAY 13

Today we bid farewell to Sydney and continue our great Australian rail journey. We experience another scenic rail route as we make the 3-hour journey heading north from Sydney to Newcastle. Our base for the next three nights is the Ibis Hotel Newcastle, located a 10-minute walk from the Interchange station.


DAYS 14-15

We enjoy two full days at the incredible Maitland Steam Festival featuring mainline steam with two or three engines in action over three different routes, the Great Train Race with steam trains chasing each other, traction engine rally, stationary engines, street market and coach trips to the nearby Hunter Valley steam railway. During the steam festival we have tickets included for a steam ride each day, including one of the race trains.


DAY 16

Following our fortnight of amazing Australian steam adventures, we depart mid-morning by rail to Sydney, connecting onwards by train to Sydney Airport for the late afternoon Singapore Airlines flight via Singapore. If you have booked our Ground Only you will not be part of the group.

Please note: Optional unescorted tour extensions by rail from Sydney to Brisbane, Queensland or on the famous 'Indian-Pacific' train to Perth are available on request.


B=Breakfast, L=Lunch


Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders

The Holiday Inn Melbourne on Flinders is ideally located just 200m away from Southern Cross Station and within the Free Tram Zone and has a great selection of dining options and attractions close by. The hotel offers great facilities including restaurant, bar, outdoor heated pool and gym. The comfortable bedrooms have pillow top beds, TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, iron & ironing board, hairdryer, tea & coffee making facilities, in-room safe and air-conditioning.


Rendezvous Studio Hotel Sydney Central

The Rendezvous Studio Hotel combines contemporary style with an excellent city centre location, sitting opposite Railway Square and Central Station. The hotel is within close walking distance of Darling Harbour, Surry Hills and Chinatown, all of Sydney’s iconic attractions are within easy reach. The hotel has a bar and restaurant. All bedrooms are well equipped with safety deposit box, free Wi-Fi, hairdryer, iron & ironing board, TV, air-conditioning and tea & coffee making facilities.


Ibis Hotel Newcastle

Located in Newcastle West, the Ibis hotel is situated within two miles of Merewether Beach and Newcastle Beach. The hotel is conveniently located approximately 10 minutes walk from Newcastle Interchange Station. All bedrooms are equipped with air conditioning, TV, fridge and tea & coffee making facilities. Please note Wi-Fi is chargeable at the Ibis Hotel. The hotel has a restaurant and bar.



From London Heathrow Airport:

Standard Economy seats on Singapore Airlines and standard rail travel


Upgraded flight seats on Singapore Airlines

On Request

Fare joining Melbourne & leaving Sydney (Ground Only Fare)


Single Traveller Supplement



Return flights from London Heathrow to Australia with Singapore Airlines - for those booking the Flight Inclusive Package only*


14 nights hotel accommodation with private facilities


Breakfast each day plus 3 lunches


All excursions and admissions as detailed

Services of experienced Railtrail Tour Manager


Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Melbourne/Sydney Melbourne/Sydney

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