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From Sydney to Broken Hill by train

An Outback rail journey on the Sydney to Broken Hill Train

During my last Australia Trip, I have experienced some great rail journeys on bord of the Australian trains. I have been travelling from Tropical North Queensland down south to Sydney and from there into the Australian outback’s heart.

On this page, you learn about my experience from Sydney to Broken Hill by train.

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The journey takes you from Sydney through the most diverse and spectacular Australian landscapes and: from the wonderful lush hills of the Blue Mountains and vast forest hills, endless grassland plains, inhabited little villages, to the vast rugged plains of the Australian outback to finally reach Broken Hill.

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Train Service from Sydney to Broken Hill

There are two train services riding the Sydney-Broken Hill route. The Xplorer train leaves once a week, from Sydney, every Monday morning at 6.30h (check out the Australian rail site for updates) and it gets in Broken Hill in the evening, around 8.30 pm. It’s an early start and long hours to seat in the train, but I tell you it is worth every minute of this awe-inspiring rail route. It will take you across the most diverse landscape you can imagine.

The other option is to travel on the Indian Pacific Train but that train leaves late afternoon, which means you are going to miss out on most of the magnificent landscape views. From my personal experience, I would choose the Outback Xplorer for this Australia train route.

What to expect on the Outback Xplorer Train

The Outback Xplorer carriages are spacious and the seats are comfortable. In most Australian trains you can switch the front seats to face you, that’s very practical whenever you want to stretch your legs, as you can see in the picture below.

There are no female/male toilets but only the main toilets area. The food offer on board of the Xplorer is good, food in NSW is generally more expensive than on other train services in Australia. The friendly train crew can take your meal orders, and these can be collected at the counter when meals are ready. Be sure you reserve your food early as they may run out of meals quickly and be prepared to queue up at the counter.

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What you will see from the Xplorer Train

I had heard that the Sydney to Broken Hill train journey offers stunning landscape views. I have been travelling for over 15000 km by train across Australia on different routes and I must say that the rail journey from Sydney to Broken Hill is more spectacular than other trains like the Ghan train because of its diverse landscapes. That’s why I can recommend this train if you are planning to visit Broken Hill.

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The good weather…it was a sunny day, with deep blue sky… the light reflection, the different types of forests, the grassland and the Outback plains were simply amazing. One challenging aspect aboard the Outback Xplorer is taking photos from the train carriage. Especially the first 2 hours when the train goes through the Blue Mountains, the recurrent bends form a sort of serpentine, so it’s really hard to take pictures when the train is in motion. However, it was good fun running inside the carriage trying to get a good shot. And do not worry about recharging your camera, phone or laptop batteries, electrical plugs are available in each carriage on designed spots.

Travelling across the Blue Mountains

As I said, the Blue Mountains landscape is simply stunning. The train meanders through the highest peaks of forests from where you can marvel at the depth of the valley and the blue veiled horizon. The train does not slow down, unfortunately, but at some stage, despite the twisting route I finally could make a couple of good shots. Here below you can see them.

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From Lush Green Forests to vast grassland plains

The rail journey through the Blue Mountains takes approx 2 hours, then the landscape slowly changes into forest tableland with lovely hills of soft contours. It was beginning of May, with fall colours at its best, as you can see from the photo below: green, gold, red in all nuances, the light reflection pouring through the slightly cloudy sky, the huge trees covered with brown goldish to burgundy-red leaves.

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After the wonderful sights of the tableland colourful hills the landscape dramatically changes into vast grassland plains. The blue sky dotted with artistic white clouds is very beautiful, the photo quality is not so good though. I spent hours looking out of the window marvelling at this natural beauty and enjoying the warm sunlight coming through the train window glass.
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After all the twists and bends of the mountains the train was riding straight ahead for a long stretch and I could get some photos while sitting comfortably, the farm photo below is one of them, I love its colours.

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From shrubland into the rugged Australian Outback

But this is not all yet…it’s a long way to Broken Hill….over 1000km. The last part of the train journey from Sydney to Broken Hill is taking you into the magic of the Australian outback, vast outback plains, red earth and green spinifex, gum trees and the blue sky. It’s easy to become addicted and I cannot get enough of it.

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2011 was a year with heavy rain. The Outback was flooded in several areas as you can see here below.

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Enjoying lovely Outback sunsets on the way to Broken Hill

Well, there is no great Australian train journey without a beautiful sunset. Here below what I could witness during the final stretch of the train journey on the way to Broken Hill.

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The Sydney to Broken Hill train journey is beloved by the locals

When the train was approaching Broken Hill, the nice couple sitting next to me gave me a tiny piece of paper with their phone number on and offered their help whenever I had the need for information, advice and tips in Broken Hill. I found this very kind of them. Surprisingly the tiny piece of paper looked familiar to me…

I turned it and yes it was an Italian bus ticket…when I asked whether they had been there, they said: We are just returning home after 6 weeks vacation in Italy and across Europe”

After the long flight from Europe…they did not bother to take the next flight from Sydney to Broken Hill, instead, they preferred travelling on the Sydney-Broken Hill train!

They added: We always take the train from Sydney back home to Broken Hill. The train journey is very beautiful, we never miss out on such wonderful landscape views”

And I can only confirm it to you. This Sydney-Broken Hill train journey is really worthwhile. And I would dare say you do not need to take a book with you on the train, the stunning beauty of the Australian landscape will entertain you all the journey through. 🙂

More Blog Posts about Train Travel in Australia

Go to An Epic Train Experience on the Ghan

Go to  From Sydney to Perth on the Indian Pacific

Return to Travelling to Australia by train

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