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Tickets and Passes for the Long Distance Trains of Australia - How and Where to Buy Them
A guide for backpacker and budget travellers
Australian Rail Passes
Recent Changes - As of July 1st 2013 there have been some major changes to the Australian Rail Pass system. The Rail Australia Alliance partners have withdrawn all of their joint passes, including the popular Ausrail Pass. Each operator will instead offer their own rail pass as a stand-alone product. The original seven Australian rail passes (Ausrail Pass, Rail Explorer Pass, Aus Reef and Outback Pass, Trans Aus Pass, Aus Reef and Beach Pass, Backtracker Rail Pass, and Queensland Explorer Pass) have now been reduced to four: The Rail Explorer Pass, the Backtracker Rail Pass, the Queensland Explorer Pass, and the East Coast Discovery Pass. Although this has removed a lot of the flexibility that was previously available, the passes are still excellent value and will let the traveller to Australia cover huge areas of the country.
Here are the details for each pass:
Rail Explorer Pass - o-o-o Travel on The Ghan, Indian Pacific and The Overland in any direction for a three or six month period and explore Perth, Darwin, Alice Springs, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. Taking in popular destinations such as the Red Centre, the tropical north, Nullabor Plain and Broken Hill.
Backtracker Rail Pass - o The Backtracker Rail Pass takes you to the capital cities of Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra, as well as connections to over 360 locations in New South Wales and beyond. You can also travel on Australia’s NSW Trainlink network (formerly CountryLink): XPT and XPLORER trains and connecting coach services to over 360 locations in and around New South Wales.
Queensland Explorer Pass - o A Queensland Explorer Pass allows travel on the Tilt Train, The Sunlander, Spirit of the Outback, The Westlander and The Inlander. Stops of interest include Cairns, Brisbane, Townsville & Magnetic Island, the Whitsundays, Capricorn Coast, Hervey Bay & Fraser Island, Noosa & the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, Longreach and the Outback.
East Coast Discovery Pass - o Unlimited East Coast rail travel heading either north or south between two select cities from a list of: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns. You can travel on Australia’s CountryLink and Queensland Rail Travel services in one direction only, either North or South, with unlimited stopovers between the locations selected.
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