directions_trainRail, Tours & Packages in Sydney, Byron Bay, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour & Maitland
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Travel in 1960s style along the scenic North Coast (Oct 2023)

One departure only in 2023!

Travel through the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers regions of New South Wales discovering beautiful beaches, tranquil rivers, rainforest and mountains along the scenic and meandering North Coast Rail Line between Sydney and Casino, New South Wales.

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4 nights
  • hotelAccommodation
  • free_breakfastDaily breakfast
  • local_activitySelected entry fees
  • airport_shuttleSelected transfers
  • personSolo traveller
  • restaurantSelected meals
  • local_barSelected drinks

About this holiday

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Visit the Slim Dusty Centre in Kempsey

This exceptional, fully escorted 5 day / 4 night journey takes you along the scenic North Coast Line through the Central Coast, the Mid-North Coast and Northern Rivers regions of New South Wales. You’ll discover the beautiful Hastings River at Port Macquarie, the breathtaking hinterland rainforest and eclectic community of Byron Bay, the crystal clear creeks and uncrowded surf beaches of the Macleay Valley Coast, and the history and heritage of Maitland & Morpeth.

Unpack only once and enjoy everything that slow rail touring provides. The itinerary is designed so you only travel during daylight hours so that you won't miss any of the spectacular scenery.

Highlights include:

  • North Coast Rail Line
  • Hastings River Dolphin Spotting Cruise
  • Byron Bay Solar Train
  • Food and shopping Byron Bay style
  • Slim Dusty Museum Kempsey
  • Arakoon National Park
  • Historic Maitland & Morpeth


  • Fully escorted journey
  • 5 days / 4 nights aboard the newly restored, iconic 1960s ex-Southern Aurora Sleeping Train
  • Sleep onboard in your own cabin
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • Off-train excursions
  • ‘Aurora Explorer’ shuttle bus transfers


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Roomette (single cabin) by night

The iconic Southern Aurora operated between Sydney and Melbourne from the 1960s to the 1980s. The darling of Australian travel, the Southern Aurora was first class in its day. Today, the carriages have been lovingly restored to their original condition. This is luxury 1960’s style!

The Aurora Australis will be stabled overnight for sleeping and you may elect to sleep on the train in a twinette (twin share cabin) or a roomette (single use only). Twinette cabins have bunk beds and one member of your party will need to be able to climb a ladder up to and down from the top bunk.

  • By day, cabins feature lounge chairs for your comfort
  • By evening, beds (double bunk or single bed) hinge down over the lounge chairs as your sleeping accommodation
  • Twin cabin includes ensuite with shower, toilet, and vanity
  • Single cabin includes vanity with two shared ensuite/shower at the end of the carriage
  • USB adapter power outlets
  • Drinking water in every cabin
  • Air-conditioning
  • Shelving and hanging closet
  • All bedding
  • 30kg per person luggage allowance

Travel dates


Please note prices are subject to availability at time of booking and may change without notice.

  • Twin / Single - from $4,250 per person
  • 22-26 October 2023

Call our local travel team on 1300 414 198 to secure your place on these new rail journeys.



Please note this itinerary is subject to change without notice

Day 1 (SUN): Sydney - Port Macquarie

Your North Coast adventure starts at Central Station, Sydney. Welcome aboard the Aurora Australis where you can choose to sit in the lounge or dining cars, or your private cabin. Today we’ll spend all day on the train. We’ll travel over the spectacular Hawkesbury River, alongside Mullet Creek and through the ‘Venice of Australia’ to Brisbane Water. We skirt around Newcastle and on to Maitland in the Hunter Valley, where we turn right to join the meandering North Coast Line.

At Gloucester, the North Coast Line starts to follow the Gloucester River, continuing the enjoyment of travelling beside the water. The Gloucester River joins the Manning River and we follow it through Taree and on to Wauchope on the Hastings River, the closest station to Port Macquarie.

We’ll arrive just in time for dinner, served on board in the dining carriages.

Day 2 (MON): Port Macquarie - Casino

Enjoy breakfast on-board the Aurora Australis before boarding coaches to explore Port Macquarie.

We’ll take a scenic lunch cruise of the tranquil waters of Port Macquarie, with the possibility of seeing dolphins, turtles, osprey and sea eagles. Enjoy the tranquil rural landscapes and abundant wildlife of the Hastings River.

We’ll return to the train after lunch, as we continue down the North Coast Line. We will be travelling for around five hours through some interesting landscapes. We will be inland for a while before turning to the coast again and travelling along the water, past Sawtell and through Coffs Harbour. We then turn inland again, arriving at Casino just in time for dinner served in the dining carriages on-board the train.

We plan to stable for the night at Old Casino Railway Station which is the start of the Casino to Murwillumbah line. It ceased to operate in May 2004, and was formally closed in September 202o to facilitate the construction of a rail trail.

Day 3 (TUE):Casino - Byron Bay - Kempsey

Enjoy breakfast on board the Aurora Australis at Old Casino Railway Station. You will then board our ‘Aurora Explorer’ coaches to take you to Byron Bay, a place known for its natural attractions and eclectic community.

While at Byron Bay, you have the option of visiting Zentveld’s Coffee Plantation and Roastery which will see you walking through the plantation and seeing the coffee being grown, watching as the team roast the beans and taste testing their Australian coffee creations. You’ll also visit Duck Creek Macadamia Nuts, who have built a reputation as a producer of Australia’s finest macadamia products. Alternatively, visit Cape Byron Lighthouse and Maritime Museum.

You will then ride the Byron Bay Solar Train, the world’s first solar train, from North Beach into Byron Bay. Lunch today is at your own choice and cost.

Your ‘Aurora Explorer’ buses will return you to Casino Railway Station and we will then travel south to Kempsey Railway Yard where we will be stabling for the night.

Dinner will be served on-board the train this evening.

Day 4 (WED): Kempsey - Paterson

After enjoying breakfast, we will board coaches to enjoy a scenic drive to the Arakoon National Park and the South West Rocks area. National Parks in this region have the best vantage points to see whales during their annual migration (from May to November). Guests will walk through the Trial Bay Gaol, an open air museum which captures the history of the area.

Alternatively, visit the Kempsey Museum, where you can experience Aboriginal history, boot making, timber industry, military history, natural history, dairy industry, shipping, historical vehicles to name just a few subjects touched on in the collections, displays and historical artefacts. You can also spend time in the Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery, which showcases and markets work of prominent, established and emerging Aboriginal artists of the Dunghutti region and mid-North Coast area.

We will then visit the Slim Dusty  Centre, an innovative museum dedicated to Australia’s iconic legend Slim Dusty where you will experience a wealth of music history, Australian culture and art. You will also enjoy lunch at the Slim Dusty Centre.

Your Aurora Explorer coaches will return you to the Kempsey Railway Station where we will continue along the North Coast Railway Line to The Rail Motor Society, Paterson where we will be stabling for the night.

Dinner will be served on-board the train this evening.

Day 5 (THU): Paterson - Maitland - Sydney

Enjoy breakfast on-board the Aurora Australis at The Rail Motor Society, Paterson.

Today we have two options for you: Discover Maitland where you will spend time at the 1870 built Grossman House, restored by the National Trust in the 1960’s and the Maitland Regional Art Gallery.

Or, discover Morpeth, an historic inland river port alongside the Hunter River. A visit to Morpeth is a real journey through time. Visit the narrow laneways, walk along sandstone footpaths and into heritage buildings where you’ll discover unique shopping, artisan treasures and delightful treats.

At Maitland we will board the train for the last time, enjoying lunch as we travel back past Brisbane Water and the Hawkesbury River, concluding your railway journey at Central Station, Sydney at approximately 6:30pm.

You will have had a truly memorable Vintage Rail Journey.



Fully Escorted:

Your rail holiday will be led by a professional, trained Tour Manager, assisted by onboard crew to ensure you will enjoy a trouble free adventure.

Joining and Departing the Tour:

The Rail Tour commences/ends at either Sydney Central Railway Station (northbound journey) or Roma Street Station, Brisbane (southbound journey).

Fitness & Mobility:

The tour requires a reasonable level of fitness and a good level of mobility. Heritage trains are not designed to accommodate wheelchair bound or walker reliant passengers. If booking a twinette room, one member of your party will need to be able to climb a ladder up to and down from the top bunk. You will need to be able to embark and disembark trains, coaches and other methods of transportation without assistance, handle your own luggage, walk moderate distances, stand comfortably and climb steps and stairs.


As a guide, the space for luggage in the Twinette (twin share) cabins is 98cm length x 24cm width x 59cm height. There is also hanging space available in the cabin. In the Roomette (single) cabins, the luggage can be placed on the luggage racks above your footrest. Slim or soft luggage can be stowed under your seat. If this rail tour is part of a longer tour, you will be able to store larger items in our luggage van.

Wine and Alcoholic Drinks:

Water, soft drinks and juices are included. The bar on the Aurora Australis is licensed to sell alcoholic drinks and are an additional cost.

Couldn't find an answer to your question? Ask us!

Fine print


Travel at 60 and supplier booking conditions apply. Full payment is required once booking has been confirmed.

Please note: the above itinerary is subject to change due to circumstances beyond the suppliers control.

Deposit / Final Payment - A 10% non refundable deposit is required at time of confirmation with the balance due at least 95 days prior to departure. If the booking is made within the 95 day period, full payment will be required at time of confirmation.

Supplier Cancellation Policy – If the tour is cancelled due to COVID-19 or the guest is subject to State Government 'stay at home orders', you will be provided a full credit for a later departure. We do not provide future travel credits where guests choose not to travel due to 'quarantine on return' or 'self-isolate' requirements.