Holidays by train from Sydney


With gas prices at record highs, you may be thinking about your next road trip.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t leave town for a vacation.

With ticket prices starting at just $4, traveling from Sydney by train will save you a ton of money and is often more relaxing than spending hours in a cramped car.

And if you’re traveling between April 14 and April 26, you’ll be able to travel to most of these destinations without any fares.

I spoke with travel blogger Paula Morgan, known as the “Sydney Expert”, about some of the best destinations to visit by train from Sydney.

The Classic Train Journey: The Blue Mountains

Paula and her partner Charles in the Blue Mountains.(Provided)

It’s hard to find a better train destination than the Blue Mountains, especially in this cool fall weather.

“You could spend a weekend in Leura and it will be completely different from a weekend in Blackheath.”

Getting There

The scenic train journey to Katoomba will take you just under two hours from Central Station or just over an hour from Penrith.

It costs approximately $6 each way for an adult and $3 for a child*.


There are plenty of local buses around, or if you choose central accommodation and stick to one town, you can walk to plenty of local shops, cafes and lookouts.

Where to stay

If you’re traveling with kids, Paula recommends sticking with Katoomba or Leura, which have the most transportation options and popular attractions.

But if you’ve already experienced Scenic World and the Three Sisters, Paula suggests a trip to Blackheath.

“There are some really spectacular walks that start near the Blackheath Visitor Center…and there’s a good bit of fine dining too,” she says.

Coastal Happiness: Kiama

Enjoy fish and chips on the water in the coastal town of Kiama.(Provided by: Dee Kramer Photography)

Kiama is a fantastic holiday destination to visit on your own, or if you’re feeling adventurous Paula highly recommends the coastal walk.

“It’s about 20 miles and starts near Minnamurra station and goes all the way up the coast [through] Kiama, in Gerringong [which also has a train station]],” she says.

“Most people do it over two days and stay overnight in Kiama. It ticks off all the major sights, and there are plenty of opportunities for swimming if it’s warm enough.”

Getting There

The train will take you just over two hours from Central and will cost adults about $6 and children about $3.

Travel and accommodation

If you stay in town, you will find everything you need within walking distance: a train station, cute cafes, small art galleries, beautiful beaches and my favourite: the blowhole.

A hidden gem: Brooklyn and Dangar Island

Kayaking on the Hawkesbury River.(Supplied: Destination NSW)

Brooklyn sits on the Hawkesbury River, where you’ll find cute cafes and bakeries, a river pool, a pub, and tasty fish and chip options.

Dangar Island is a short ferry ride away. This small, car-free island is totally walkable and has an all-in-one cafe and general store, a small beach, and a bowlo.

Getting There

The train to Hawkesbury River station is just an hour from Central and just over 20 minutes from Hornsby. It will cost you around $4 for adults and $2 for children, depending on the time of day and where you are boarding.

Travel and accommodation

The direct ferry from Brooklyn to Dangar Island takes 15 minutes and costs just under $10 for adults and $5 for children.

If you’re staying on Dangar Island, Paula recommends renting somewhere that offers some sort of rowboat or kayaks, as that’s the main activity in the area. Alternatively, it is possible to rent boats and kayaks in Brooklyn.

Better than you remember: Canberra

You can walk or scooter around Lake Burley Griffin from Canberra.(ABC Everyday: Sonya Gee)

Whether you like breweries, museums or hiking, Canberra is more than a six year trip.

From food festivals to art exhibitions, “there is always something going on” in Canberra, says Paula.

Getting There

The train to Canberra takes about half an hour longer than the bus, but Paula says it’s “a much nicer sight” and you can get up and walk around.

It will take you just over four hours from Central or 3.5 hours from Campbelltown. It costs around $30 one way for an adult and only $1 for a child.


Paula says scooters (for hire) are one of the easiest and most fun ways to explore Canberra, especially considering all the flat roads and wide paths.

“You can go for a ride around the lake or go to one of the attractions, leave your scooter outside, come out and jump again.”

Many local buses and trams are also available.

Where to stay

Paula recommends staying on the light rail line, which connects the suburbs to Civic. She says Braddon has great cafe and bar options and is only a six or seven minute walk from the CBD.

If you’re on a budget, she suggests Dickson, which also has a ton of tasty dining options and is just a few stops further than Braddon.

From Museum to Beach: Newcastle

Newcastle is home to both beaches and culture.(Supplied: Destination NSW)

Although Central Coast destinations like Woy Woy are beautiful, Paula says getting around without a car will be difficult.

Instead, she recommends heading to Newcastle, where you can hit the beach or one of the stunning art deco pools, check out the nightlife or take the kids to the Newcastle Museum.

Getting There

The train from Central takes about 2.5 to 3 hours and costs about $6 for adults and $3 for children.

Travel and accommodation

Staying in the Newcastle CBD or Newcastle East will put you directly on the light rail line and also give you plenty of dining options and attractions within walking distance, including swimming spots like Nobby’s Beach and the Baths of the City. ‘ocean.

Inner city suburbs like Merewether by the sea will also have access to plenty of bus options to the CBD.

Where cricket meets high tea: Bowral

You can have tea at Bowral Antiques Market.(Supplied: Destination NSW)

Whether you’re a cricket fanatic or a wine lover, the quaint town of Bowral has plenty to offer.

Paula says there are breweries and wineries in the city center so you won’t need a car, plus plenty of cute cafes to grab a tea.

Getting There

The NSW Regional Rail Link service takes 1.5 hours from Central and will cost around $16 for an adult and $1 for children.

Alternatively, you can use your Opal card on the Southern Highlands Line and get there in just over 2 hours for around $6 for an adult and $3 for children, but you will usually have to change trains at Campbelltown.

Travel and accommodation

If you stay in the city center you can walk to most local attractions, including the Cricket Museum.

Public transport options are limited if you’re staying further out, but Paula recommends using Bowral as a base for exploring surrounding towns on the rail line, like Moss Vale, which is just eight minutes away.

*All fares quoted are for off-peak travel times. For fares and timetables, go to Transport NSW.

Before going camping or bushwalking, check the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) safety messages and closures. Be aware that heavy rain and flooding can cause dangerous conditions in some areas.

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