Tour dates

23-26 June 2021 (Sydney to Brisbane)
26-29 June 2021 (Brisbane to Sydney)
23-29 June 2021 (Sydney-Brisbane-Sydney)
19-23 June 2022
23-27 October 2022
North Coast Rail Tour

This exceptional 4 day, 3 night journey takes you along the scenic North Coast Line through the Central Coast, the Mid-North Coast and Northern Rivers regions of New South Wales. You’ll discover the crystal clear creeks and uncrowded surf beaches of the Macleay Valley Coast, the breathtaking hinterland rainforest and eclectic community of Byron Bay, before crossing the border to the Queensland capital of Brisbane.

Inclusions for 2021

  • 4 days plus 3 nights experience aboard the newly restored, iconic 1960’s ex-Southern Aurora Sleeping Train, travelling along the scenic North Coast Rail Line,
  • Sleep onboard in your own cabin, 9 meals, off-train excursions, ‘Aurora Explorer’ shuttle bus.


Twin share………………………………………………….$2,795 per person

Single ………………………………………………………….$2,795

*2021 season prices one way ex-Sydney Central Railway Station or ex-Roma Street Station. Cancellation Policy – If we are unable to run the tour due to COVID-19, we will provide a full credit for payment made by you, for one of our later tours.

Room Options

The Experience

Travel through the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers regions of New South Wales discovering beautiful beaches, tranquil rivers, rainforest and mountains along the scenic and meandering North Coast Rail Line between Sydney and Brisbane.

Unpack only once and enjoy everything that slow rail touring provides.

Highlights include:

  • Historic Maitland & Morpeth,
  • The Slim Dusty Centre, Kempsey,
  • Arakoon National Park & South West Rocks,
  • Byron Bay,
  • Border Loop railway spiral.


Day 1: Sydney – Maitland – Paterson

Your North Coast adventure starts at Central Station, Sydney. Welcome aboard the Aurora Australis where you can choose to sit in the lounge or dining cars, or your private cabin while we travel over the spectacular Hawkesbury River, alongside Mullet Creek and through the ‘Venice of Australia’ to Brisbane Water. We skirt around Newcastle and then enjoy lunch on board as we travel to Paterson in the Hunter Valley. 

We’ll board buses to enjoy one of two options we have for you: Discover Maitland where you will spend time at the Visitor Information Centre, Maitland Regional Art Gallery, and take a walk along the Levee, a shopping precinct running parallel to the Hunter River. Or, Discover Morpeth, an historic inland river port alongside the Hunter River. A visit to Morpeth is a real journey through time. Visit the narrow laneways, walk along sandstone footpaths and into heritage buildings where you’ll discover unique shopping, artisan treasures and delightful treats.

Your ‘Aurora Explorer’ buses will return you to Paterson throughout the afternoon where we will be stabling at the Paterson Rail Motor Museum

Dinner will be served on-board the train this evening.

Subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control.

Day 2: Paterson – Kempsey

Enjoy breakfast on board as we head along the North Coast Railway line to Kempsey on the Macleay River. Your ‘Aurora Explorer’ bus will take you to the Slim Dusty Centre, an innovative museum dedicated to Australia’s iconic legend Slim Dusty where you will experience a wealth of music history and Australian culture and art, whilst enjoying lunch. We will also visit the Kempsey Museum, where you can experience Aboriginal history, boot making, timber industry, military history, natural history, dairy industry, shipping, historical vehicles to name just a few subjects touched on in the collections, displays and historic artifacts. You can also spend time in the Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery, the gallery showcases and markets works of prominent, established and emerging Aboriginal artists of the Dunghutti region and Mid North Coast area. 

Weather permitting we will also spend time in the Arakoon National Park and the South West Rocks area. National Parks in this area have the best vantage points to see whales during their annual migration (from May to November). Guests will walk through the Trial Bay Gaol, an open air museum which captures the history of the gaol.  

Your ‘Aurora Explorer’ buses will return you to Kempsey station throughout the afternoon where we will be stabling for the night.

Dinner will be served on-board the train this evening.

Subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control.

Day 3: Kempsey – Byron Bay – Casino

Enjoy breakfast on board as we keep travelling towards the Northern Rivers Region and today stop at the Casino Railway Station. The ‘Aurora Explorer’ buses will once again meet us to take you to Byron Bay, a place known for its natural attractions and eclectic community. You will have the opportunity to ride the Byron Bay Solar Train the world’s first solar train. 

Lovers of shopping and fashion are in for a treat today in Byron Bay. The ‘Aurora Explorer’ bus will take you to Habitat North Beach which is nestled in the heart of the Arts and Industry Estate, and is Byron Bay’s latest community and lifestyle hub. Of course no trip to Byron Bay is complete without a walk along Fletcher Street in the CBD. Dotted with all the best Byron Bay shops including charming boutiques, stocking luxuriant fashion labels and one-of-a-kind homeware pieces. You can also go to the beach, visit the many cafes, restaurants and bars or just wander through Byron Bay today. 

Lunch today is at your own choice and cost.

After lunch, guests will have the opportunity to join the ‘Aurora Explorer’ bus with stops including Zentveld’s Coffee and Duck Creek Macadamias where you will be taken on a guided tasting tour by the farm’s owners.  Alternatively, visit the heritage listed Cape Byron Lighthouse and maritime museum.

Your ‘Aurora Explorer’ buses will return you to the heritage listed Old Casino Railway Station throughout the afternoon where we will be stabling for the night.

Dinner will be served on-board the train this evening.

Subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control.


Enjoy your last Breakfast on board with us this morning at the Old Casino Railway Station. Today you leave the Aurora Australis and board Heritage Rail Cars heading towards the border and into Queensland. Similar to the Rail Car you travelled on yesterday in Byron Bay, these self propelled vintage trains are as cute as a button! As part of your journey today you will traverse the Border Loop Spiral and tunnels, where the railway climbs 30 metres without making any forward progress. We hope you enjoy spending time on these rail motors today as you take the last leg of your North Coast Rail Tour with us.

At Roma Street Station, Brisbane, you will board buses to transfer to Eagle Street Pier to board the Kookaburra Showboat River Cruise on the Brisbane River. While enjoying lunch, you will see the beautiful Botanic Gardens, Kangaroo Point Cliffs, the Maritime Museum, Brisbane’s Southbank precinct including the Brisbane Wheel, the iconic Story Bridge, the city’s finest modern and heritage architecture, homes of the rich and famous and many more of Brisbane’s spectacular attractions.

Concluding at Roma Street Station at 4:00pm, it’s time to say goodbye to your Vintage Rail Journeys crew as you either head home or to your next adventure in sunny Queensland.

We hope you have had a truly memorable Vintage Rail Journey!  

Subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control.

Last remaining berths for 2021Book now