Paula Joye: 'I travelled from Brisbane to Adelaide on a luxury train. Here's my very honest review.'

Journey Beyond
Thanks to our brand partner, Journey Beyond

Mamamia Must-Go is your insider guide on what to see, do and eat at popular holiday destinations. It's where you'll find honest recommendations from the women who've been there. This week, journalist and author Paula Joye shares her train holiday recommendations.

There's something to be said for taking things slow. 

And that includes shifting the pace on travel – something author, journalist and stylist Paula Joye experienced recently when she boarded the Great Southern to explore the east coast of Australia by train. 

"Train travel, by its very nature, pulls you back in time," Paula shared of her recent trip from Brisbane to Adelaide, which took place over four days and three nights on Journey Beyond's newest route.

"It's a leaning into gentler times, and there's something really romantic about it, even down to the click-clack of the train, which is very soothing. 

"There's no television on board, no WiFi in the cabins (although you can get connected in the lounge car!), and a lot of the time you're completely out of reception because you're in remote parts of Australia – and there's something very nice about that."

Even the cabin accommodation helps ease guests into that whimsical atmosphere, said Paula.

Image: Instagram/@paulajoye.


"The sleeper cabins look exactly how you would imagine when you read about them in novels – a very classic, Anna Karenina vibe. The Gold Twins are the perfect size for two, and there's an air of romance to them. Every night while you're at dinner, the train crew put the doonas on and turn the beds down."

The Great Southern experience takes guests on a journey along the rugged coastline, by idyllic beaches, through forested peaks, beautiful rolling hills and bustling capital cities, offering up a particularly unique perspective on the country that just isn't achievable with other forms of travel.

"The vistas, as you roll along, are gorgeous," said Paula. "You can see the change in the landscape and the flora and fauna as you move into different states. You can see how each state has a very different colour and different light. It's very cool seeing Australia from a train.


"One of my favourite things was when we were going around bends and could actually see the front or back of the train – that's really unique.

One big point of difference with a train holiday, added Paula, is that you just don't have to worry, stress, plan or... even really think. You just get on board, unpack and relax into your all-inclusive holiday as you travel through four different, remarkable Australian landscapes – without the hassle of catching flights, booking hotels, googling restaurants.


And the train crew really know how to take care of their guests, said Paula.

"The crew on board have really good energy, and they work really hard. I always felt like there was someone around if I needed anything. They really make all the guests feel special."

And then there's the food...

"There's a big emphasis on food on the train," explained Paula about the all-inclusive journey. "They have the Queen Adelaide restaurant on board, where every day, it's a different menu. There is so much food and the quality is top tier." 

Oh, and yes, for those wondering – 'all-inclusive' means your drinks are sorted, too.

Pure luxury! Image: Instagram/@paulajoye.


When you're not eating world-class food, reading a book, playing a board game in the lounge and watching the incredible Aussie landscape roll by (as if that doesn't sound good enough!), guests can make the most of each stop, by exploring the local area and enjoy incredible off-train experiences.

First up? A beachside dinner in beautiful Coffs Harbour, followed by the different options to pick from that are included in the trip during the Hunter Valley region stop on Day Two, and Greater Melbourne on Day Three.


"There were stops along the way, and activities you can choose in each place based on your interests," explained Paula. "So for instance, in the Hunter Valley, we had the choice to go to a nearby winery, we could go out on a catamaran and see dolphins, or we could go and do sand-boarding in the Stockton dunes – which was what we chose. It was a really, really cool thing to do!

The staff and I at the iconic sand dunes at Stockton. Image: Instagram/@paulajoye.


"In Melbourne, we could go to the Old Melbourne Gaol, the National Art Gallery, go to a winery in Geelong, or up the Melbourne Skydeck observation tower, with a 360-degree view of the city. So there are different things to do every day, and all you have to do is choose which one you want to do. They take you via coach to the destination, you're off the train for about seven hours each day – lunch is included – and then come back to eat an incredible dinner on board."

The best part about seeing the country by train? "You really just live in the moment," said Paula.

"A train journey is a very Australian thing to do, and it's an epic way to see an epic country. It's a truly unique experience."

Discover an all-inclusive train holiday on the Great Southern to travel between Adelaide and Brisbane in comfort and style.

Feature Image: Supplied/Paula Joye.

Journey Beyond
Delicious dishes. Wineries. Art galleries and museums. Shopping. And hundreds of kilometres of coastal towns and spectacular ocean views. All on one amazing summer rail adventure between Adelaide to Brisbane. As you travel up and down Australia's southeast coast, you'll stop to connect to the country along the way, on adventures that explore the natural beauty of the coastline, the rolling hills of wine country, and the big-city buzz. It's the East Coast by Train on the Great Southern.