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15-20 August: Take the path less travelled on the Sunraysia, exploring Mildura, Murrayville, the Murray-Sunset and spectacular Outback Victoria

Be a part of history travelling on the first Standard Gauge passenger train to Murrayville and the Murray-Sunset as the Sunraysia proudly returns to Sunset-country on this six-day not-to-be-missed Slow Rail Journey.

Join the Sunraysia as it returns to Mildura on this epic Slow Rail Journey. Explore Outback Victoria and be a part of history travelling on the first standard gauge passenger train to venture to Mildura and Yelta. Journey from Melbourne through the green plains of southwestern Victoria, skirt the Grampians and explore the goldfields before striking north across the flat plains of the Mallee to the vast arid expanses of Outback Victoria. Spend a day immersing yourself in this spectacular region on our signature Outback Explorer tour featuring a number of bespoke activities. Sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning views from the panoramic windows of our Standard Gauge fleet on a historic journey you will not soon forget.

Fully inclusive fares from just over $400 per person per day.

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After track closures to change the gauge, slow speed restrictions while new track formations were fully upgraded, Covid shutdowns and many other delays, the Sunraysia is finally returning to Mildura before venturing along the very infrequently visited outback branch line to Murrayville and the Murray-Sunset.



Thursday 15-August

Your Slow Rail Journey will commence with an early bon-voyage breakfast held at the historic Savoy Hotel (where we will check-in guests and provide seat and accommodation allocations for the weekend) before being escorted by our friendly volunteers to the train.

Entering Melbourne's busy Southern Cross Station, you will immediately realise you are embarking on a journey like no other. Sitting on the platform - and greeting you like an old friend - is Slow Rail Journey's fleet of Standard Gauge passenger carriages that make up the Sunraysia, our heritage train perfectly juxtaposing the modernity and hustle surrounding.

Upon boarding, your Carriage Attendant or Platinum Host will greet you as you settle into your private train for our epic journey. From the moment you step onboard, you'll immediately relax into the Slow Rail Experience.

At 8:05 am the Sunraysia will wake up the station as the whistle is sounded, announcing our departure along the Standard Gauge line toward Geelong and Ararat.

After a brief stop at North Shore station on the northern outskirts of Geelong, the Sunraysia will swing west to cross the Moorabool Viaduct, leaving the populated coastal plain surrounding Port Phillip Bay, which is home to more than 80% of Victoria's population behind, running through the rural hamlets of Inverleigh, Cressy and Derrinallum toward the Grampians and Pyrenees.

After traversing the Western Standard Gauge line, which was built in 1995 to replace the Board Gauge link between Melbourne and Adelaide (providing a direct link from Melbourne to Perth, which before 1995 involved trans-shipping goods in Adelaide from Broad to Standard gauge, or running via NSW), we arrive into the township of Maroona - a rural village some 20km south of Ararat where the line from Portland and the coast joins the main Melbourne - Adelaide rail corridor. Maroona today has a population of approximately 80 but sports a hotel, general store and sporting precinct.

Departing Maroona, the Sunraysia skirts the spectacular Grampians mountain range as it goes through Ararat into the Pyrenees wine region. The Pyrenees is a place of wild and beautiful landscapes, down-to-earth locals, amazing food and wine, and a history rooted deep in the gold rush. For all its natural wonders, the Pyrenees is largely undiscovered. Still untamed and underexplored.

Mid-afternoon, the Sunraysia runs through Avoca, where the town's wide main street is a delight to explore with hotels, cafés, gift shops, galleries and collectables all housed in historic buildings dating back to the 1850s. Avoca is becoming known as an antiques and collectables centre. If you love poking around in bric-a-brac and collectable stores, you know that no vacation is complete without some time spent bargaining over some treasures. The township is surrounded by the Pyrenees Mountain Ranges, which are great for mountain bike riding, hiking, and camping, catering to all skill and fitness levels. Avoca hosts the Pyrenees Unearthed Avoca Wine Festival, held in April each year, where you can try many of the Pyrenees Wines all in one location while strolling the banks of the Avoca River.

After passing Avoca, the Sunraysia continues into the Goldfields for the final sector of the day and goes to the Goldfields town of Maryborough. A testament to a rich past shows in the Central Goldfield’s grand buildings, historic cottages, and gracious homes. Today, many visitors come to walk in the footsteps of the prospectors of the Victorian gold rush era.

Centred in the heart of Victoria’s Golden Triangle, Maryborough is midway between Bendigo and Ballarat, making this picturesque town the perfect base to explore the goldfields of Victoria. Maryborough has a splendid cluster of heritage buildings centred on the Maryborough Civic Centre. The elegant architecture of the courthouse, Town Hall, Post Office and Old Fire Station display the fine workmanship of a bygone era.

Perhaps the most iconic building in the town is the historic Maryborough Railway Station, dating back to the 1890s. The station is reported to have the most extended platform in country Victoria. At the main entrance, admire the highly polished timber ceiling and beautiful tessellated floor.

Upon arrival in Maryborough, guests will be transferred by coach to the luxurious RACV Goldfields Resort, approximately 30 minutes from Maryborough Station, to enjoy dinner and night in a luxurious hotel room.

Set perfectly amongst the history and nature of the Goldfields, mid-way between the mineral springs of Daylesford and the historic city of Ballarat, RACV Goldfields Resort is set in beautiful bushland outside the town of Creswick.

Rooms feature fairways or forest views set amongst the sounds of the Australian bush. Dine on classic favourites and signature dishes featuring quality local produce and seasonal ingredients. Enjoy a luxurious spa treatment (additional) and unwind for the evening.

Friday 16 August

After a gourmet breakfast in the RACV Resort's dining room, guests are transferred back to the Sunraysia, which will be awaiting departure from Maryborough's historic railway station - one of the most beautiful in Australia. Departing Maryborough, the Sunraysia passes the historic town of Dunolly before continuing north through St Arnaud (where the town's spectacular silo art may be visible) to Donald, where a brief stop is made. Donald is a country town with a lively spirit. Situated on Lake Buloke and close to several famous granite outcrops, the town is also known for the Lions' Train Park, which is a railfan heaven adjacent to the station.

A short onward journey takes us to Woomelang, the hidden jewel of the Mallee, which hosts not just the best pub for miles around but also eight mini-silos painted by the same street artists whose work features on the famous Mallee Silo Art Trail.

Continuing north, relax as the flat Mallee plains make way for the arid landscapes of the outback as the Sunraysia continues north through towns the trains' famous namesake sped through in the middle of the night - Lascelles, Speed. Tempy and more.

Mid-afternoon, the Sunraysia will make a stop in Ouyen - a small country town located 441km from Melbourne by road; the Ouyen township is in the heart of the Victorian Mallee and surrounded by a beautiful array of national parks: Wyperfeld, Hattah-Kulkyne and Murray Sunset National Parks. All three parks have an abundance of drought-resistant wildflowers (as many as 100 varieties), unique wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, with access tracks throughout. Built to serve the dryland grazing surrounding it, Ouyen proudly supports an array of community clubs within the town, including a thriving Football and netball Club, Lawn Bowls, Lawn Tennis Courts, a Golf Course and a Swimming Pool.

Departing north, the train skirts the spectacular Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, which lies in typical Mallee country with extensive low scrub and open native pine woodland. Superbly adapted birds, animals and vegetation thrive in the poor, sandy soils and searing summers.

The freshwater Hattah Lakes is seasonally filled by creeks connected to the Murray, providing food and shelter for waterbirds and fish. These lakes can remain full for up to ten years without flooding, but flooding generally occurs once every two years.

Continuing north along the Calder Highway, take in the spectacular views as we go through Red Cliffs to the historic city of Mildura - at the crossroads of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia and where the Sunraysia will make its historic return.

After transferring to your accommodation for the next two nights and settling in enjoy a gastronomic experience that features the best of Australia's food bowl before retiring for some well-earned rest.

Saturday 17 August

Today, join the first train to operate along the remote outback branch line from Ouyen to Murrayville and explore the spectacular Murray-Sunset National Park. We intend to offer two options today - a return journey from Mildura to Murrayville by train, or the option to travel through the spectacular Murray Sunset on a specially designed tour to join the train in Murrayville for the return journey.

The Murray-Sunset, home to the famous Pink Lakes, is a remote and unspoilt corner of northwestern Victoria that draws photographers worldwide.

As we explore this fascinating region, we will enjoy some of the finest sunsets in the world and look out for spectacular birdlife, such as Malleefowl, Regent Parrot, Red-lored Whistler, and Mallee emu-wren.

After retracing our steps from Mildura along the fringe of the Hattah-Kulkayne National Park to Ouyen, we take the path less travelled, venturing west where few trains operate along Victroia's most remote branch line - the 109km link between the outback town and Murrayville, located deep in the Murray Sunset close the South Australian border.

The railway from Ouyen to Murrayville was originally opened in 1912 before being continued a short distance across the South Australian Border to Pinaroo in 1915. Today, the line serves the region's grain and livestock industries and was converted to Standard Gauge as part of Victoria's Big Build along with the line to Mildura. At its heyday, the line connected Pinaroo with a South Australian line to Tailem Bend, providing a second link between Melbourne and Adelaide - albeit via the very scenic route! The link to South Australia was severed by a gauge change when the branch from Victoria was standardised, and the line between Pinaroo and Tailem Bend closed in 2015.

Murrayville, the furthest Victorian town from Melbourne, has a population of 280 and is the hub of a vibrant agricultural industry, including cereal crops, sheep and cattle; other industries are potato farming and other small crops. Irrigation is only supplied to the potato farms by an underground basin of high-quality water.

After lunch in Murrayville, reboard the Sunraysia for a second run along the branch to Ouyen, enjoying the region's namesake Mallee sunset as the Sunraysia speeds east.

A highlight of the journey will be a stop in Walpeup, where guests will disembark to enjoy a glass of bubbly with Julian Clavijo & Camilo Delgardo's tribute to Harold Thomas Bell - perhaps the region's most celebrated war hero who lied about his age to enlist and went on to many feats of bravery - looming above.

Enjoy dinner in a quintessential Mallee pub in Ouyen before returning to Mildura for a night of well-deserved rest.

Sunday 17-August

Guests will enjoy Slow Rail Journey's flagship Outback Explorer touring program today.

Mildura is a vibrant regional city full of contrast. From the Murray River to the outback, there is something for everyone. While we can only sample the tip of the iceberg of this fascinating region's attractions, we hope your brief stay whets the appetite for a longer journey to the region.

Mildura is famous for its rich river history - and there is no better way to experience it than onboard a privately chartered paddle steamer cruise aboard one of the region's most historic boats - once the lifeblood of the area surrounding the Murray.

Image thanks to Hawkeye Photography

Enjoy a second gastronomic experience in Mildura before retiring for the evening and the Sunraysia's journey south.

Further details regarding our Mildura touring options will be provided closer to our departure.

Monday 18 August

Welcome back on board the Sunraysia!

After being picked up and valeted back to Mildura Station, it is time to relax into the rhythm of slow rail travel as we retrace our steps south through Hattah and Ouyen toward Mallee and its many attractions. Settle in next to a panoramic window as we depart Mildura. Chat with newfound friends, read a good book or stare at the majesty of this spectacular state out the window as the Sunraysia speeds south.

Mid-morning, the, Sunraysia will stop in the small town of Lascelles, where guests will be invited to step from the train for an off-train experience marvelling at the spectacular silo artwork which looms above the town.

In Lascelles, Renowned Melbourne Street Artist “Rone” has painted the images of a local couple, Geoff and Merrilyn Horman, on the defunct wheat silos that tower above the town.

The town has a population of only 48 people on a good day, but Rone selected the Hormans above all others. They are a humble couple who are both wise and knowing and who have nurtured the town with their vast farming experience and longstanding connection to the area.

Their family has lived in the area for four generations. Geoff and Merrilyn were born in the district and married in Lascelles in 1967. Together with their two sons and now their families, they have continued the family tradition of wheat farming and strong community involvement.

Continuing south, the Sunraysia makes a very short journey to Woomelang, where a lunch stop will once again be made.

Back onboard the Sunraysia, relax as we make our way south through Birchip, Donald, and St Arnaud toward Maryborough, our stopping point for the evening.

Arriving in Maryborough, board coaches for the short drive to the luxurious RACV resort - your luxury oasis for the evening. Relax in the resort's exquisite facilities after a long day on the road!

After settling into your overnight accommodation, join your fellow passengers and crew for a final dinner of the tour - a chance to solidify new friendships and relive some of the life-long memories you will have made over the past several days.

Tuesday 19-August

All good things must come to an end, and today, our epic slow rail adventure onboard the Sunraysia concludes with a scenic journey back through the Pyrenees, along the flanks of the Grampians and across the western plains toward Geelong and Melbourne.

The Standard Gauge railway line between Ararat and Maryborough is rarely used by passenger trains - ours is the first to operate along since standardisation. While high-speed Velocity trains operated on the Broad Gauge network speed between Maryborough and Melbourne in approximately two hours via Ballarat, our leisurely 7-hour slow rail experience sees us loop the west of the state. We spend the morning travelling 87km west to Ararat before setting the course south to Maroona and Cressy and finally east through Geelong to Melbourne!

Joining Ararat's main Western Standard Gauge line, the Sunraysia speeds toward Melbourne across one of the state's most productive wheat and canola growing regions.

It's not long before the open vistas outside are once again replaced with Melbourne's suburbs, and all too soon, the train arrives back into the modern world at Southern Cross Station, right on time.


Platinum Class onboard the Sunraysia

Please note: The Sunraysia will be operating as a Platinum Class Only Train.

Enjoy a premium epic adventure while staying in the best hotels in the region. Travelling in spacious carriages and attending premium events.


Enjoy the absolute best experience the regions we visit can offer - an unparalleled level of comfort travelling in dedicated carriages with spacious seating and staying in the highest quality upgraded accommodation available.

Travel in exclusive carriages with each guest seated in a forward-facing seat or a spacious booth seat arranged perfectly around a picture window. Each group has a guaranteed window seat.

Accommodation will be in the following hotels en route:

The Goldfields (Two nights): RACV Goldfields Resort

Sitting on 150 acres in Victorian Spa Country, RACV Goldfields Resort features various wellness facilities, rooms, and suites with luxurious spa baths. It also has an impressive 18-hole championship golf course on site.

The resort has health and wellness facilities, ideal for guests seeking a relaxing break or business travellers who need to unwind. Swim in the pool, enjoy a post-journey game of tennis, or work out in the gym before spending a peaceful afternoon in the spa.

Mildura: (Three nights):

Guests will be accommodated at The Mercure Mildura Hotel or the Mildrua Grand Hotel Mercure Hotel Mildura offers contemporary accommodation near the famous Murray River. It features an outdoor swimming pool. Free parking is available here.

Rooms at Hotel Mercure have modern furnishings, which include air conditioning. Guests can stream entertainment such as Netflix via the flat-screen TV. Each room also has ironing facilities and bathroom amenities in the en suite bathroom.

The hotel features a large outdoor pool area with sun loungers and shaded seating along the side.

Mercure Hotel is 250 meters away from the shopping venues of Langtree Avenue.

The Quality Hotel Mildura Grand. The Quality Hotel Mildura Grand offers sophisticated Mildura accommodation in a historic building and is located in the heart of Mildura, opposite the beautiful Murray River. Mildura is a modern and vibrant town centrally located between Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Whether planning a holiday to Mildura itself or simply passing through, the Quality Hotel Mildura Grand offers a very convenient and relaxing place to stay.


Route Map



Our train will feature two locomotives from our heritage diesel fleet.

Image Credits:

Hawkeye Photography - image with the red cliffs overlooking the river

Vast Depth Photography - image of the bridge with the town in the background


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