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Rail map of Eastern Australia

The east coast of Australia boasts the major cities of Sydney and Brisbane, the fast-growing Gold Coast region and the major industrial city of Newcastle. There are large areas of rich agricultural country through northern New South Wales and the Darling Downs region of Southern Queensland. The Central West of New South Wales stretches to the outback at Broken Hill, and then into South Australia and its Capital city Adelaide. Long distance passenger rail services operated by NSW Trainlink and Great Southern Railway link the major cities, and frequent NSW Trainlink trains link Sydney to inter-urban areas in New South Wales. Queensland Railways operate long distance trains between Brisbane and Queensland regional centres, and also fast frequent electric trains connecting Brisbane Airport, Brisbane City and the Gold Coast. Suburban train networks serve the suburbs of Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane.

Quick Journey Planner: Major towns.

➤ Full journey planner - all towns.

Brisbane to Sydney XPT trains

NSW Trainlink XPTs (Xpress Passenger Trains) connect Sydney with the NSW North Coast and Brisbane running through some of Australia's most verdant country along the way. These trains have first and economy class seats and twin-bunk sleeping berth cabins for overnight travel. An on-board cafe bar sells hot takeaway meals.

Schedule: Three trains run each way each day departing Sydney in the morning, midday and in the late afternoon. The morning train runs through the day and terminates at Casino in the late afternoon. The midday departure runs through the afternoon an terminates at Grafton in the evening. The afternoon departure from Sydney runs overnight and runs through to Brisbane where it arrives early the following morning. In the other direction there is one daily departure from Brisbane early in the morning that arrives in Sydney in the late afternoon, a departure from Casino in the late evening that runs overnight to Sydney, and a morning departure from Grafton. The Casino trains connect with buses to and from Brisbane via the Gold Coast. Advance reservations are required for all trains.

The Westlander (Brisbane to Charleville)

Queensland Railways Westlander train is the most comfortable way to travel between Brisbane and the towns of South-West Queensland. The fully air-conditioned train has seating accommodation and food is available on board.

Schedule: The Westlander departs Brisbane Roma Street station two evenings each week and travels up the range to Toowoomba, then through the night to the western towns of Roma and Charleville. On the return journey, the Westlander departs Charleville in the afternoon for the overnight trip back to Brisbane arriving Roma Street station arriving late the following morning. Co-ordinated buses connect Charleville to Cunnamulla and Quilpie. Advance reservations are essential for all travel on The Westlander.

Sydney to Hamilton line

The NSW Central Coast and the western suburbs of Newcastle are connected to Sydney by frequent electric NSW Trainlink trains from Sydney Central Station. Comfortable double-deck electric interurban trains glide you through Sydney's northern suburbs and along the scenic shores of the Hawkesbury River to the cities of Gosford and Wyong then take you Hamilton station in the suburbs of Newcastle - but from 26/12/2014 trains no longer run to downtown Newcastle. It is very easy to take a day return trip from Sydney to the Central Coast by taking the train, but we can no longer recommend travelling to Newcastle by train.

Schedule:Trains depart hourly or more frequently from Sydney Central station, then pick up at Strathfield, Hornsby, Gosford, Wyong and other smaller towns before arriving at Broadmeadow and Hamilton station. Most trains operate via Strathfield, but there are some peak hour services to Wyong that operate via Chatswood and the North Shore line instead. The journey from Sydney to Hamilton takes about two and a half hours. Reservations are not necessary - just buy your ticket at the station.

Hunter Line (Hamilton to Scone & Dungog)

Frequent local NSW Trainlink trains run between Hamilton, Maitland and Telarah. A few trains each day extend further North to Dungog, or further North-West up the Hunter Valley to Muswellbrook and Scone. These trains are air-conditioned and offer economy class seating accommodation.

Schedule:Trains between Hamilton and Maitland/Telarah depart twice hourly. Trains depart Hamilton for Scone, Dungog and return very early in the morning, then again later in the morning, around midday and in the afternoon. Since closure of the downtown Newcastle railway on 26/12/2014 it is no longer convenient to visit Newcastle from the Hunter Valley by train. When travelling from Sydney, you should change to these trains at Hamilton station. Reservations are not necessary - just buy your ticket at the station.

Northern Tablelands Xplorer

NSW Trainlink Northern Tablelands Xplorer train is the most relaxing way to travel between Sydney, Maitland, the Hunter Valley, New England and North-Western New South Wales. Xplorer trains are fully air-conditioned and offer a choice of first and economy class seating. An on-board buffet meal service is available. This is a very scenic journey that takes you through the Hawkesbury River region, then through the Central Coast of NSW, through the suburbs of Newcastle then up the beautiful Hunter Valley to the historic railway town of Werris Creek. The train divides at Werris Creek - the first section travels to the New England city of Tamworth and the elegant University city of Armidale. The other section of the train heads north-west to the cotton growing towns of Narrabri and Moree.

Schedule: The Northern Tablelands Xplorer train departs Sydney Central Station every day mid-morning, and travels through the day before arriving at Armidale and Moree late in the afternoon. On the return trip, the trains depart early every morning, then join up at Werris Creek before arriving at Sydney Central station late in the afternoon. Advance reservations are essential for the Northern Tablelands Xplorer train.

Brisbane Airport to Brisbane & Gold Coast

Queensland Rail operates frequent, fast electric trains between Brisbane Airport, Brisbane Central, Brisbane Roma Street and Gold Coast stations. These trains whisk you quickly right from the airport to downtown with a minimum of fuss. Travellers to the Gold Coast have the choice of a number of stations - Helensvale, Nerang, Robina and Varsity Lakes - each has co-ordinated bus connections that meet trains at the station and take you to the coast and surrounding suburbs.

Schedule: Trains depart the airport regularly (every 15 to 30 minutes) for the journey to downtown Brisbane and the Gold Coast. There is no need to book in advance, just buy your ticket at any station. Standard Translink fares apply - and bus connections are included in the fare.

Gold Coast Tramway

Australia's newest tramway, Gold Coast's G:Link tram service opened in July 2014. From Gold Coast University Hospital in the North, the line runs through Southport and Surfers Paradise to Broadbeach South.

Schedule: Services run every 7 and a half minutes throughout the day on weekdays and every 10 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays. Trams run 24 hours a day on weekends. The end to end journey is 33 minutes.

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Dubbo XPT

NSW Trainlink Dubbo XPT (Xpress Passenger Train) connects Sydney with Bathurst, Orange, Wellington, Dubbo and towns in Central Western New South Wales. The XPT gives you the choice of Economy and First class accommodation, and there is an on-board buffet that sells hot meals. Sit back and relax as you depart Sydney Central station and glide through the western suburbs before climbing the stunning Blue Mountains. Your train travels the Great Western Railway following the path blazed by explorers Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson. You will call at the historic inland city of Bathurst, then further west to Orange and on to the terminus at Dubbo - the heart of Western Plains. Onward bus connections are available to Broken Hill, Bourke, Lightning Ridge and Parkes.

Schedule: The Dubbo XPT departs Sydney Central Cross Station early every morning and picks up passengers at major stations in Western Sydney and arrives in Dubbo early afternoon. It then departs Dubbo on the return journey early every afternoon and arrives back in Sydney late in the evening. Advance reservations are essential for travel on the Dubbo XPT.

Broken Hill Outback Xplorer train

NSW Trainlink Broken Hill Outback Xplorer is the most scenic way to travel from Sydney to Broken Hill - the "Silver City". Xplorer trains are comfortable and speedy. They have first and economy class seats and an on-board buffet serving hot meals and refreshments. Sit back and watch as the spectacular Blue Mountains give way to the Western Plains then the magnificent red outback as you approach Broken Hill. This trip really does showcase more varied landscapes than you would expect.

Schedule: The Broken Hill Outback Xplorer train departs only once each week - leaving Sydney Central station early every Monday morning, travelling all through the day before arriving in Broken Hill in the early evening. Then very early Tuesday morning it departs Broken Hill for the retrun journey, arriving at Sydney Central station late Tuesday evening. Advance reservations are essential for the Broken Hill Outback Xplorer train.

Indian Pacific (Sydney to Adelaide & Perth)

Great Southern Railways' Indian Pacific train is one of the great railway journeys of the world. A real dinosaur of a train, it's not speedy but it is luxurious. There are deluxe, first and economy class sleeping berths, seating, dining cars, buffets, and lounge cars. Settle in and watch some of Australia's most varied scenery roll past your window. Soon after leaving Sydney the Indian Pacific climbs the majestic Blue Mountains. As you travel further West you pass through the rolling hill and plains of the NSW Central West. Further west you get to experience your first glimpses of Australia's Outback. Then you pass through the historic Outback Mining town of Broken Hill and across the State border into South Australia and on into the elegant city of Adelaide. After arriving in Adelaide, the Indian Pacific continues its journey right across the continent to Perth.

Schedule: The Indian Pacific departs Sydney Central Station and Adelaide Parklands Terminal once weekly (or twice weekly in peak season) for the 24 hour journey. Advance reservations are essential for all travel on the Indian Pacific.

Blue Mountains line

The Blue Mountains are connected to Sydney by frequent electric NSW Trainlink trains from Sydney Central Station. Sydney's double-deck electric interurban trains glide you through Sydney's western suburbs then they climb the impressive Blue Mountains to the historic mountain honeymoon resort town of Katoomba and the coal mining city of Lithgow. This is not only a busy commuter line, it is one of the world's most spectacularly scenic railways. It is very easy to take a day return trip from Sydney to Katoomba or any Blue Mountains town by taking the train.

Schedule:Trains depart hourly or more frequently from Sydney Central station, then pick up at Strathfield, Parramatta, Blacktown and Penrith, then stop all stations to Valley Heights, Katoomba, Mount Victoria or Lithgow. Early each morning one train departs Bathurst for the journey to Sydney. This train departs Sydney for the return journey to Bathurst late each afternoon. The journey from Sydney to Katoomba takes about two hours, from Sydney to Lithgow takes about three hours and to Bathurst a little under four hours. Reservations are not necessary - just buy your ticket at the station.

South Coast and Illawarra line

Wollongong, the Illawarra and NSW South Coast are connected to Sydney by frequent NSW Trainlink electric trains from Sydney Central Station. Sydney's double-deck electric interurban trains glide you through Sydney's southern suburbs then over the Illawarra escarp before hugging the cliff-face all the way to Wollongong. There are spectacular ocean views for much of the journey. After Wollongong, trains continue either to the industrial city of Port Kembla, or they continue further South through lush dairy country to Kiama. Change trains at Kiama to continue further South to the terminus at Bomaderry (Nowra). Some trains continue beyond Sydney Central station through to Bondi Junction. The South Coast Line is ideal for day return trips from Sydney.

Schedule:Trains depart hourly or more frequently from Sydney Central station and travel to Wollongong, Port Kembla, Dapto or Kiama. Shuttle trains operate between Kiama and Bomaderry connecting with electric trains to and from Sydney. The journey from Sydney to Wollongong takes about 90 minutes, Port Kembla about 110 minutes and Kiama about 145 minutes. The shuttle from Kiama to Bomaderry takes about 25 minutes. Reservations are not necessary - just buy your ticket at the station.

Southern Highlands line

NSW Trainlink run regular trains from Sydney to the NSW Southern Highlands line towns of Picton, Bowral, Moss Vale and Goulburn. Comfortable "Endeavour" class diesel trains operate regular services from Cambelltown to Moss Vale stopping all stations. To travel from Sydney you must catch an electric train destined for Cambelltown then change there to the connecting Endeavour train. A couple of trains each day run right through from Sydney Central station, and a few trains daily operate beyond Moss Vale all the way to Goulburn.

Schedule:Electric trains depart regularly from Sydney Central station for the 80 minute journey to Campbelltown. Then change at Campbelltown for trains to Moss Vale and Goulburn. Through trains from Sydney Central depart late morning and mid afternoon. Through trains to Sydney Central arrive in the morning peak and in the late morning. The journey from Sydney to Moss Vale takes about two and a half hours, and from Sydney to Goulburn takes about three hours. Reservations are not necessary - just buy your ticket at the station.

Opal Card

The Opal card is an easy, convenient way of paying for your travel on public transport in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and surrounding areas.

Opal has now been implemented for Sydney Light Rail, many buses, Sydney and Newcastle Ferries, all Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink Intercity trains in the yellow shaded Opal region on the map above.

With an Opal card you can enjoy travel all day for no more than $15 per day for Adults.

You can order an Opal Card online, and it will be mailed to you. If you want to start using your Opal card right away there is also the option to pick up an unregistered Opal card from more than 1,500 retailers.

Go Card

Go card is TransLink's South East Queensland electronic ticket. It allows you to travel seamlessly on all TransLink bus, train, ferry and tram services in the Go card yellow shaded region on the map above.

Visitors to South East Queensland can use go card to easily explore the region.

It's easy to use - simply touch on at the beginning and touch off at the end of each trip onboard your bus or ferry or at your train or tram station. Your go card will automatically calculate and deduct one overall fare. Go card is easy to top-up at your choice of any 7-Eleven store, a retailer near you or register today for online or phone top-ups


Metrocard is the most convenient way to travel on Adelaide trains, trams and buses.

Metrocard is easy to buy, use and recharge. You can buy Metrocards at ticket vending machines and Metrocard agents around Adelaide.

There is a small cost to buy a metrocard. Your card is then reusable and yours to look after. Metrocards are not refundable. When you buy your metrocard you will need to add a starting balance of $5.