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.
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.
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.
Please note prices are subject to availability at time of booking and may change without notice.
Call our local travel team on 1300 414 198 to secure your place on these new rail journeys.
Please note these itineraries is subject to change without notice
SYDNEY TO BRISBANE:
Day 1 (SUN): Sydney - Port Macquarie
Your North Coast adventure departs Sydney’s Central Station. Welcome aboard the Aurora Australis, where you can choose to sit in the lounge or dining cars, or your private cabin while you 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.
At Gloucester, the North Coast Line starts to follow the Gloucester River, continuing the enjoyment of travelling beside the water. TheGloucester River joins the Manning River and we follow it through Taree and on to Wauchopeon the Hastings River, the closest station to PortMacquarie.We’ll arrive just in time for dinner, served onboard 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 on the HastingsRiver.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 more interesting landscapes. We will be inland for a while before turning to the coast again and travelling along the water, past Sawtell and through CoffsHarbour. We then head 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 CasinoRailway Station which is the start of the Casino to Murwillumbah line. It ceased to operate inMay 2004, and was formally closed inSeptember 2020 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 tasting 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’ coaches will return you to Casino Railway Station and we will then travel south to Kempsey Railway Yard where we will stabling for the night.Dinner will be served on-board the train this evening.
Day 4 (WED): Kempsey - Paterson
Enjoy breakfast on-board Aurora Australisat the Kempsey Railway Yard.We will then board coaches to enjoy ascenic drive to the Arakoon National Parkand the South West Rocks Area. NationalParks in this area have the best vantage pointsto see whales during their annual migration(from May to November). Guests will walkthrough the Trial Bay Gaol, an open airmuseum 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 subjectstouched on in the collections, displays andhistoric artifacts. You can also spend timein the Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal ArtGallery, which showcases and markets work ofprominent, established and emerging Aboriginalartists of the Dunghutti region and mid-NorthCoast area.
BRISBANE TO SYDNEY:
Day 1 (Sat): Roma Street Station- Casino
Your Northern Rivers adventure starts at Roma Street Station at 10:00am. Today you will board 1950’s design Heritage Rail Cars heading towards the border and into New South Wales to join the Aurora Australis in Casino.
These self propelled vintage trains are as cute as a button! As part of your journey today you will traverse the Border Loop Spiral and tunnels, where the railway descends 30 metres without making any forward progress. We hope you enjoy spending time on these rail cars as you take the first leg of your North Coast Rail Tour.
Due to the limited capacity of the Heritage Rail Cars, there will be an early and late departure from Roma Street. The early departure will enjoy a light lunch onboard the train, and then spend the afternoon exploring the vibrant regional centre of Lismore, home to one of NSW’s most artistic communities, full of performers, painters, poets and musicians.
The late departure will enjoy a guided tour (including lunch) in the Queensland Capital, Brisbane, before boarding the Heritage Rail Cars travelling to Casino. You will then be welcomed aboard the Aurora Australis, where you can choose to sit in the lounge or dining cars, or your private cabin. Dinner will be served onboard the train this evening. This evening we will be stabled at the heritage listed Old Casino Railway Station for the night.
Day 2 (Sun): Casino - Byron Bay - Kempsey
Enjoy breakfast onboard the Aurora Australis at Old Casino Railway Station. You will then board buses to take you to Byron Bay, a place known for its natural attractions and eclectic community. All guests will have the opportunity to ride the Byron Bay Solar Train (bus timetable provided on the day), the world’s first solar train.
While at Byron Bay, join the bus with stops including The Farm, an 86-acre working biological farm in Ewingsdale; Stone and Wood Brewery who are local, independent and inspired by the idea of the ‘village brewery’. Lovers of shopping and fashion are in for a treat today in Byron Bay. The bus will take you to Habitat North Beach which is nestled in the heart of the Arts and Industry Estate, and is Byron Bay’s latest community and lifestyle hub. Of course, no trip to Byron Bay is complete without a walk along Fletcher Street in the CBD. Dotted with all the best Byron Bay shops including charming boutiques, stocking luxuriant fashion labels and one-of-a-kind homeware pieces. You can also go to the beach, visit the many cafes, restaurants andbars or just wander through Byron Bay today.
Lunch today is at your own choice and cost. Your buses will return you to Old Casino Railway Station and you will head down the North Coast Railway Line to Kempsey Railway Station where we will be stabling for the night. Dinner will be served onboard the train this evening.
Day 3 (Mon): Kempsey - Paterson
After breakfast onboard at the Kempsey Railway Station, the ‘Aurora Explorer‘ bus will take you into the mid north coast town of Kempsey, sitting by the Macleay River. We will 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 and Australian culture and art.
You will also 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 historic artefacts. You can also spend time in the Dunghutti Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery, the gallery showcases and markets works of prominent, established and emerging Aboriginal artists of the Dunghutti region and Mid North Coast area.We will also spend time in the Arakoon National Park and the South West Rocks area. National Parks in this area 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 gaol. Lunch today is at your own choice and cost. Your buses will return you to Kempsey station where you will continue along the North Coast Railway Line to the Paterson Rail Motor Museum where you will be stabling for the night. Dinner will be served on-board the train this evening.
Day 4 (Tue): Paterson - Sydney (Sydney Central)
Enjoy breakfast onboard this morning as you travel through the lower Hunter Valley, skirt around Newcastle, through the ‘Venice of Australia’ to Brisbane Water, alongside Mullet Creek to the spectacular Hawkesbury River. You will depart the train at the Hawkesbury Station for a lunch cruise with the Riverboat Postman. The Riverboat Postman started its run in 1910 and to this day still delivers mail and other essentials to the river-access only residents on behalf of Australia Post. After the cruise you will board the train for the last time, concluding your rail journey at Central Station at approximately 4:00pm.You will have had a truly memorable journey!
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.
Travel at 60 and supplier booking conditions apply. Full payment is required once booking has been confirmed. Advertised price is correct as at 17 August 2021
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.