Vintage Rail Journeys presents North Coast Rail Tour

Dates: 26 - 29 June, 2021

Price: From $2795 (twin or solo - click here to tour solo cabins)

Total of 15 cabins only - exclusive and limited to Burnie Brae Travel Connections 

Travel on board a private train of newly restored 1960s ex-Southern Aurora sleeping carriages

This exceptional 4 day, 3 night journey takes you along the scenic North Coast Line through the Northern Rivers, the Mid-North Coast and Central Coast regions of New South Wales. You’ll discover the breathtaking hinterland rainforest and eclectic community of Byron Bay, and the crystal clear creeks and uncrowded surf beaches of the Macleay Valley Coast. Unpack only once and enjoy everything that slow rail touring provides. The itinerary is designed so that we only travel during daylight hours. We don’t want you to miss any of the spectacular scenery.

Highlights include:

·         Heritage Railmotors;

·         Food and shopping Byron Bay style;

·         Byron Bay Solar Train;

·        North Coast Rail Line; 

·        Arakoon National Park; 

·        Kempsey Museum; 

·        A 'Riverboat Postman' cruise on the Hawkesbury River


Day 1: Roma Street - Casino

Your Northern Rivers adventure starts at Roma Street Station at 10:00am. Today you will board 1950’s design Heritage Railmotors 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 railmotors as you take the first leg of your North Coast Rail Tour with us. Due to the limited capacity of the Heritage Railmotors, there will be an early and late departure from Roma Street. The early departure will enjoy a light lunch on board 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. Dinner will be served on-board the Aurora Australis this evening. The late departure will enjoy a guided tour (including lunch) in the Queensland Capital, Brisbane, before boarding the Heritage Railmotors travelling to Casino, with a light dinner served on board. You will then be welcomed aboard the Aurora Australis where you can choose to sit in the lounge carriages, or your private cabin. This evening we will be stabled at the heritage listed Old Casino Railway Station for the night.

Day 2: Casino - Byron Bay - Kempsey 

Enjoy breakfast on board the Aurora Australis at Old Casino Railway Station. You will then board our ‘Aurora Explorer’ 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 ‘Aurora Explorer’ 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 ‘Aurora Explorer’ 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 and bars or just wander through Byron Bay today. Lunch today is at your own choice and cost. Your ‘Aurora Explorer’ buses will return you to Old Casino Railway Station and we head down the North Coast Railway line to Kempsey Railway Station where we will be stabling for the night.

Day 3: Kempsey - Paterson

After breakfast on board 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. We 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 artifacts. You can also spend time in the DunghuttiNgaku 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 ‘Aurora Explorer’ buses will return you to Kempsey station where we will continue along the North Coast Railway line to the Paterson Rail Motor Museum where we will be stabling for the night.

Day 4: Paterson - Sydney Central

Enjoy breakfast on board this morning as we 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. We 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 still to this day delivers mail and other essentials to the river-accessonly residents on behalf of Australia Post. After our cruise we will board the train for the last time, concluding your rail journey at Central Station at approximately 4:00pm.

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