The Great South Pacific Express, Australia's own Orient-Express is the first ever train to travel the distance from Sydney to Cairns. This luxurious travelling hotel combines the highest standards of Australian engineering with opulence and comfort and the train pays tribute to Australia's early railway heritage. Walls are in solid red cedarwood and myrtle and roof panels are fitted with intricate stained glass. The train offers a unique vantage point from which to enjoy the Australian scenery and experience the World Heritage sites of the Kuranda Rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef and majestic Blue Mountains, the famous vineyards of the Hunter Valley and the nation's capital, Canberra.
When the build of the Great South Pacific Express was in its early stage with Queensland Rail (QR), it was universally agreed that no expense would be spared to replicate the same attention to detail and luxurious surroundings that are found in the original Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
The decor of the Great South Pacific Express is definitively Australian and absolutely the early 1900 era, incorporating the beauty of the old and the luxury of the new.
QR in conjunction with Venice Simplon-Orient-Express began building the Great South Pacific Express in 1996. Vince O'Rourke, then Chief Executive of QR, had a grand vision of the world's most beautiful train and researched the skills needed to make sure this facility was in keeping with the style of a train of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
Having searched nationally for the most appropriate designer to head the team, O'Rourke found Adelaide-based Denise Corcoran, whose company "Corcoran & Associates" had extensive experience with other train designs, together with expertise in the luxury arena, having completed a magnificent liner for a private client. The late Victorian/early Edwardian era was chosen as the design basis for the train simply because these decorative, ornate styles were contemporary in their time and today are timeless in their elegance.
QR archival material, together with reproductions of authentic patterns and genuine historical items, were all used to ensure the theme of the train exactly replicated this era.
The Australian theme of the train was maintained, incorporating the best Australia has to offer in terms of heritage style. With this focus on providing a largely Australian train, regions throughout the nation were scoured for the best product. Custom-made brass lights created in South Australia; fibre glass moulded showers from Ipswich; intricate marquetry artwork produced by a Canberrian craftsman and materials such as West Australian Jarrah, flamed Queensland Maple and Australian Eucalypt. To ensure world standards, some items were imported and realizing that the French and English are the boudoir specialists, the ceramatile vanity basins are imported from France and the basin and pedestal from England.
Clerestory leadlights have been incorporated throughout the train and provide uniqueness to this Australian product. Adopted from traditional Queensland Rail (QR) designs, this authentic period leadlighting is exclusively Australian. Other ceiling features throughout the train include Wunderlite Pressed Metal Ceiling Panels with hand airbrushed painted finishes. Each panel was created in Townsville and some paint contained real gold for the ultimate luxury effect.
The Dining Cars, complete with inset embroidered silk panels, a chillagoe marble topped bar and Queensland Maple furniture with mahogany inlays, are truly world class. With panelling being a feature throughout the train, the Lounge and Observation Cars also feature intricate work and boast the finest silks, marble and wood. Ensuring that the train retains an Australian flavour in all areas, the Observation Car also displays framed portraits of past Queensland Rail (QR) Commissioners.
One of the most unique areas of the Great South Pacific Express is the Observation Deck, allowing each passenger the luxury of experiencing the scenery on an open deck. Safety as well as aesthetics being key concerns, the custom-made ballustrading is of intricately handcrafted wrought iron. Obviously, comfort is paramount in the Sleeping Cars, each piece of furniture is constructed from hand-carved mahogany and all soft furnishings are fire retardant and scotch-guarded. While there are three levels of sleeping compartments - the Pullman Compartment, the State Compartment and the Commissioners' Suite - each of them has an en-suite, providing private indulgence for each guest.
With modernity always playing a role in the recognition of comfort, the GSPE contains state-of-the-art-designed features ensuring that every aspect of travel is pleasurable. From the ergonomically designed kitchen, the specially created air conditioning system catering for Australia's hottest and coldest climate, to the bogie system allowing the train to travel on any track nationwide (a first for Australia), the Great South Pacific Express offers the ultimate in comfort and luxury.
On April 23rd 1999 the Great South Pacific Express departed on its inaugural journey between Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns and has since built for itself a highly regarded reputation as providing the ultimate rail journey in the Southern Hemisphere.
Great South Pacific Express Routes
For the journey of a lifetime experience the East coast of Australia aboard the Great South Pacific Express, taking in the magnificent Blue Mountains, the nation's capital, Canberra, the vineyards of the Hunter Valley, the Great Barrier Reef, a taste of the outback and the rainforests of Kuranda. All with the luxury and style of the Orient-Express.
Sample Schedule - ceased operation until further notice
2 Night - Brisbane-Cairns
3 Night - Cairns-Brisbane
4 Night - Sydney-Brisbane
3 Night - Brisbane-Sydney
8 Night - Sydney-Brisbane-Cairns
This luxurious travelling hotel combines the highest standards of Australian engineering with opulence and comfort. Up to 21 carriages long, the air-conditioned maroon and cream carriages offer the opportunity to relive the romance of a bygone era. The service is personal and unobtrusive with a steward in every carriage to attend your needs, 24 hours a day. The Dining Cars offer an ever-changing menu of gourmet dishes prepared by international chefs and accompanied by fine wines and the Lounge Car, with its resident pianist, provides a special opportunity to relax and meet fellow travellers. The Great South Pacific Express accommodates 100 passengers in 50 air-conditioned compartments, all furnished with meticulous attention to detail and complete with crisp linen, soft towels and compartment service, available 24 hours a day.
The popular Observation Car, located at the rear of the train, offers a unique vantage point from which to enjoy the beautiful Australian scenery as it glides by. Enjoy an early morning coffee on the Observation Deck and smell the fresh morning air as you listen to the sounds of rushing waterfalls and the calls of tropical birds and exotic animals. Seated in the Observation Car you are able to experience the exotic trees and plants around you as they glide by.
The Observation Lounge, the interior section of the carriage, has a bar and lounge area decorated in subtropical colonial style and furnished with comfortable wicker chairs. Another of the other many pleasures of your journey is meeting your fellow passengers and the Observation Car, perhaps the most popular carriage on board, provides a perfect opportunity to relax and socialise.
At the end of a day of discovery, retire to the Piano Bar for an evening in the company of your fellow travellers.
As the tropical sun sets, it's time to prepare for evening. Either side of dinner, the Lounge becomes the focus of attention as our resident pianist welcomes guests for an unforgettable evening. Relax with your fellow passengers and enjoy a cocktail or a choice of some of Australia's finest wines. The baby grand piano here provides a focal point for meeting fellow travellers.
The Lounge is beautifully decorated in the turn of the century style with Queensland birds and fauna depicted in the marquetry and fabric panels. Open throughout the day and late into the night, our resident pianist plays a variety of music during the journey on the baby grand piano.
Retire for the night in your cabin.
On board the Great South Pacific Express your air-conditioned compartment is furnished with meticulous attention to detail and complete with crisp linen and soft towels. A steward is on hand 24 hours a day. There are three types of accommodation on board the Great South Pacific Express: Commissioners Suite, State Compartments and Pullman Compartments. Each compartment has an en-suite shower and WC, wardrobe, hairdryer, bathrobes, ottoman and safe. Sockets are only suitable for Australian standard plugs, an adaptor is required for all other plugs.
The GSPE has two Commissioners Suites which are 13.1 square metres. Each suite consists of a double bed, sitting area with two arm chairs, table, complimentary mini bar, two wardrobes and a large en-suite with vanity unit.
The GSPE has 29 State Compartments which are 7.4 square metres.
Daytime seating converts to two single beds at night.
The GSPE has 19 Pullman Compartments which are 5.5 square metres.
Daytime seating converts to upper and lower bunks at night.
Whether travelling as a group of friends or as an organized party our hotels, trains and cruises are happy to make special arrangements to suit your individual needs.
We are delighted to welcome groups travelling together, whether on business, or for pleasure. Whatever your requirements, organizing a special event with The Great South Pacific Express couldnt be easier: simply contact one of our highly experienced representatives, who will give you all the advice and assistance you need, or explore the facilities of your preferred venue.
A Rewarding Experience
Clients, colleagues or friends... if you want them to enjoy an experience to remember, take them on a voyage aboard Australia's most famous train. Whatever the occasion, a voyage aboard The Great South Pacific Express is the ideal way to celebrate. With a minimum of 15 guests you can travel on the full Sydney-Brisbane-Cairns journey, or any sector of the trip. Make their experience truly unique by customizing it with special arrangements.
Wining and Dining
Dining on board the Great South Pacific Express is an experience in itself. An ever-changing menu of gourmet dishes are prepared on board by our team of chefs and accompanied by excellent wines served in the finest crystal. Menus reflect modern Australian cuisine while the service equals that found in the world's finest restaurants.
Lunch and dinner is served in one of the two beautifully decorated Dining Cars, built to reflect 19th century grandeur. Table d'hote meals are included in the fare, while an A la carte menu and 24-hour compartment service is available additionally.
Each day, breakfast and afternoon tea will be delivered to you in your compartment. For those passengers wishing to rise early to take advantage of the beautiful scenery, tea and coffee will be served for you in the Observation Car from 6.30am.
The Maitre D' will come to your cabin to take your lunch and dinner reservations.
Make your trip truly unique by providing a spectacular send off, a champagne welcome, or choose one of our unique events to entertain your guests on board.
For further information please do contact our User Friendly Experts today.