September 7, 2020 | 5 minute read
In my opinion, train travel is one of the best ways to getaway for the weekend, and it’s easily the most underrated form of travel out there. There are many reasons to consider riding the rails – the big ones for me are saying 'goodbye' to road rage and 'hello' to a pleasant few hours just watching the world speed by, on the way to somewhere fabulous. From your seat, you can crack open a packed lunch or duck down to the food carriage and pick up a tasty bite, then sit back with a good book and enjoy the ride.
No, trains can’t get you everywhere, but from Sydney, NSW RailLink can get you to the major regional hubs across the state within a couple of hours. And most destinations have tour buses to take you to the major attractions outside of town. So, leave the car in the garage and let’s ride the rails this weekend.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
NSW TrainLink Intercity trains travel from Sydney to the Blue Mountains at least every hour. There are also express services with limited stops until Katoomba. You can travel using your Opal card, and when you get there you'll find public buses operate from Katoomba to Echo Point, or there is the hop on, hop off Blue Mountains Explorer Bus from Katoomba Station to the major attractions from Scenic World to Leura. Local taxis and bus services will also get you to all the key locations and attractions.
Hunter Line train services run between Newcastle and the Hunter Valley towns of Maitland and Singleton. You can travel there using your Opal card. The Armidale XPLORER and the Moree XPLORER also run daily from Sydney and stop at Maitland, Singletown, Muswellbrook, Aberdeen and Scone.
From Maitland and Singleton, there are a number of train and bus services and private tours running within the Hunter Valley that will help you explore the region further.
A real highlight of the area is the Abercrombie Caves, an amazing underground world. You’ll enter these limestone caves through the Archway, which is the largest natural arch in the southern hemisphere!
To get there you take the ‘Bathurst Bullet’ or the Dubbo XPT, both run daily from Sydney. NSW TrainLink services also operate from Sydney to Lithgow with coach connections to Bathurst . Bathurst has a local bus network, and taxis are available 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Time your visit between May and November and you can try your luck spotting the humpback whales on their annual migration along the coast. Wollongong is located on Sydney South Coast Line. Sydney Trains operate commuter trains at regular intervals to Wollongong.
It's also home to the Bradman Museum. For the seasoned highlander, try Mittagong, Moss Vale or Bundanoon and discover the charm of the region with tiny historic villages surrounded by rolling green hills. The Southern Highlands Line is an Intercity rail service operated by NSW TrainLink that services the Macarthur, Southern Highlands and Southern Tablelands regions of New South Wales.