By Lesley Brown
Heritage Express offers a trip back in time with day, weekend and week-long journeys on old steam and vintage trains. All the train engines and carriages have been carefully restored and are staffed by friendly volunteers. My recent trip, a three-day food & wine weekend, saw us travelling round the central highlands and up through the Blue Mountains on the restored Southern Aurora.
The restaurant quality meals on board, including a degustation Sunday luncheon, were carefully prepared by Bern the Chef and her crew, whilst the volunteers looked after us during meal service.
Original sleeping carriages offer two styles of sleeping/sitting cabins – both enjoy bunk beds, but while the single have a toilet and wash basin with a shared shower at the end of the carriage, the twinette cabins boast an ensuite with private shower, washbasin and toilet.
Our off-train excursions included a visit to the fascinating CSIRO Parkes telescope and a delicious dinner at Borrodell On The Mount Winery in the pretty town of Orange. We also enjoyed many picturesque photo stops en-route such as the Summit Tank Lookout on the edge of the Illawarra Escarpment, and the quaint villages of Stockinbal, Forbes, and Kandos. Great weather also helped to make it a very memorable weekend break.
Train journeys leave and return from Sydney Central Station, so are very convenient, and passengers can chose to journey down the beautiful NSW coast, venture through the hills outside Sydney, or travel as far afield as the Clare Valley in South Australia. There are Rail/Sail journeys which take you down the coast on a steam train and back up on the ocean-going catamaran Ocean Dreaming, or if you feel like saddling up for a little excitement, the Southern Aurora is off on a four-day rail escape to the Melbourne Cup – now that’s how to arrive in style!
So, if you are looking for a great family day out or want to showcase Australia’s off-the-beaten-track gems to an overseas visitor, do yourself a favour and journey back in time on one of these amazing steam train trips. It’ll definitely be a trip worth remembering.
Office: Australian Technology Park Eveleigh NSW 2015
Phone: 1300 11 55 99 or +61 2 9209 4646
9.00 am – 4.00 pm Monday – Friday
For more visit www.heritageexpress.com.au