As in Europe, but unlike the United States, train travel is common in Australia. It is a faster and more economical way for urban and suburban commuters to travel to and from work and is arguably the most comfortable and interesting way to travel the great distances between Australia’s major cities. In Sydney, the CountryLink railway system provides long distance services between Melbourne and Sydney. The new XTP line makes travel faster and more comfortable than ever before.
The journey from Sydney to Melbourne aboard the XPT CountryLink train takes a total of only around 9 hours. The train makes a total of 16 stops, but skips some of the smaller stations unless a passenger requests a pickup or stopover. You can travel economy class or first class: either way, you will have a comfortable seat in an air-conditioned coach and have access to the dining car. If you’ve travelled the route before or are under time constraints, there is a sleeper service that includes all bed linen and toiletries and even a complimentary buffet breakfast. An ideal way to take a round-trip journey is to travel by day the first time and take in all the sights and by night on your return trip.
What You’ll See Along the Way
The CountryLink XTP from Sydney to Melbourne is an ideal way to see a broad cross-section of the Australian countryside. From Sydney, the first leg of your journey takes you from Sydney’s Central Station through Strathfield and Campbell until you reach your first scheduled stop in the Southern Highlands town of Moss Vale. If you want to make the most of your journey and take your time, consider arranging an on-again-off-again train trip and spending a day and night in this beautiful historic town before moving on when the train passes through the next day.
About halfway through your journey, the train will stop briefly in Cootamundra, another historic town. In cricket-mad Australia, Cootamundra is known as the birthplace of Sir Donald Bradman. The cottage this sporting legend was born in has been lovingly restored and today is a museum housing cricket memorabilia from Bradman’s career and exhibits that give visitors an overview of Australia’s cricket history. Also in Cootamundra is the still-in-the-making Captain’s Walk, which when completed will include bronze sculptures of all 41 of Australia’s cricket captains. A charming country town with a rich and proud history, consider an overnight stopover in a Cootamunda accommodation to break up your train journey.
Less than an hour after crossing the border into Victoria in Albury, you will stop in Wangaratta, a beautiful town on the northern edge of the Alpine Way, the main road that traverses the Great Dividing Range and the Snowy Mountains. From here, you’re only a few hours away from all the urban attractions of Melbourne, so why not consider lingering for a few days and exploring the Snowy Mountains from Wangaratta?
The best way to take advantage of the train system in Australia is to plan ahead and make arrangements to break up your trip along the way. You can book all your Australia accommodations ahead of time to coincide with your arrival dates, thus ensuring you have a comfortable place to stay and a hospitable local to make you feel at home.
Rob writes about visiting and travelling in Australia. If planning a vacation in Australia check out our range of Sydney Accommodation and after your train trip from Sydney to Melbourne relax in one of our Melbourne Accommodation options.