Aurora Australis

Vintage Rail Journeys

Experience Australia’s newest regional train holidays aboard Aurora Australis by Vintage Rail Journeys. Encounter breathtaking scenery, regional towns steeped in history and old world charm aboard a boutique vintage Australian train on rail holidays like no other.

Enjoy the old-fashioned service coupled with style and that exclusive feel on board a newly restored vintage rail fleet of 1960’s ex-Southern Aurora sleeping carriages, returned to their original condition by Vintage Rail Journeys, ready to transport you back in time. These vintage rail tours are a celebration of Australia’s railway history, diverse outback landscapes, regional history, rich culture and the people that helped make Australia what it is today. Get away from the big cities and explore country New South Wales and beyond.

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The iconic Southern Aurora began traversing the tracks between Sydney and Melbourne in 1962 and quickly became a roaring success being the first train on the revamped passenger line to offer a luxury overnight service with First Class sleeping carriages. This meant it was no longer necessary to change trains at the border station of Albury from Victorian broad-gauge to NSW standard-gauge trains for both passengers and freight and provided daily departures in each direction.

There continued to be a high demand for berths until late in 1964 when jet aircraft were introduced between Melbourne and Sydney, therefore enticing many passengers to be lured by the excitement and speed of a new way to travel by plane. The progressive decline in demand continued throughout the 1970’s until 1986 when the Southern Aurora amalgamated with the then Spirit of Progress to form both the Melbourne Express and Sydney Express.

These services remained until 1993 when it was then replaced by the XPT. Rail preservation groups kept most of the Southern Aurora carriages until 2017 when they were purchased by Vintage Rail Journeys and ready for a complete restoration and subsequent return to service as the Aurora Australis.

The Aurora Australis by Vintage Rail Journeys boasts both Roomette (single use) and Twinette Cabins (2 to a cabin) that convert from day sitting lounge chairs to a night time bedding configuration with the Twinettes offering a lower and upper bunk for sleeping arrangements. Roomettes are located in the single compartment carriage offering a panoramic window to view all of the beautiful passing scenery plus a handy vanity to freshen up.

Shared ensuite and shower facilities are located at the end of each carriage and are serviced after every use. Twinettes feature seating for up to three people and a private ensuite with a shower, toilet and vanity with uplifting Kudos Spa amenities. Both cabin types are serviced daily with an evening turn down service. The vintage rail stops at night for added comfort while sleeping and you travel on rail lines not used for passenger service.

Further features include air conditioning, USB adapter power outlets, drinking water in every cabin, shelving and hanging closet, all bedding, a 30kg per person luggage allowance and access to a convenient galley in each carriage for self-service morning and afternoon tea and homemade biscuits.

The Aurora Australis by Vintage Rail Journeys offers an all-inclusive on board two-course dining experience with alcoholic beverages available at an additional cost to purchase for the tour duration. The Dining restaurant features a regionally inspired menu freshly prepared by on board chefs and in support of local producers where possible.

Each table is set as seating for four* with consideration given to your preferred seating time and seating with travel companions. The Vintage Rail Journeys Lounge Car has a specially developed bar menu for each tour and is perfect for a pre or post dinner drink and chat with your fellow travellers or perhaps to make lifelong friends.

The resident wine expert behind the bar can offer formal or informal wine tastings and help make your experience the best it can be. You can be involved in the enjoyable on board entertainment in the form of a quiz or scheduled experiences or perhaps just enjoy a book as the rugged countryside scenes go by.

On board the vintage rail it’s the little things that make this experience even better. A daily newsletter outlining the upcoming day’s events is a welcome added extra including visiting destination facts and information, handy reminders, advice and tips plus a convenient map (if applicable).

Each itinerary also gives you unique daily encounters during the exclusive Off-Train Experiences that give such a fantastic insight into the destination and its history with highlights including the Blue Mountain Villages, a ‘Riverboat Postman’ cruise on the Hawkesbury River, historic Goulburn and Emeri De Bortoli’s Private Garden.

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