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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIAAustralia is a vast diversified country where you can tour vineyards set among dun-colored hills and drive cattle across a dusty trail. You can dive over the legendary Great Barrier Reef or strap on skis to tackle a “beaut” slope in Tasmania. In many ways, with its size and diversity, Australia is a mirror image of the United States.

So it is with Australia’s signature trains. They are as storied as the trains that once were the pride and joy of America’s railways. Even their names conjure images of exciting adventures: “The Indian Pacific,” “The Sunlander” and “The Ghan.” Try one, sample all three, with enticing packages now available from Experience Australia.

Experience Australia is the newest travel division of The Great Canadian Travel Company Ltd., North America’s foremost expert in travel to some of the world’s least-traveled regions. This destination specialist offers a wide array of travel programs across that extraordinary continent.

Australia’s signature trains cover the length and breadth of the country, offering a truly premium train experience. They are a satisfying way to explore this sprawling land, offering comfortable compartments, elegant dining cars and convivial lounge cars.

Travelers may choose to purchase point-to-point fares for single journeys or choose from a wide variety of passes. These range from a 15- or 22-day “all system” pass that allows unlimited travel throughout the network to a series of “route passes” valid for travel on a single east-coast route over a six-month period.

The Indian Pacific.  Spanning Australia from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, from Sydney to Perth, this journey covers 2,704 miles, including the longest stretch of straight track in the world—297 miles through the Nullarbor Plain. No other train journey in the world passes through so many different types of terrain in a single country. As it travels ocean-to-ocean, “The Indian Pacific” passes through the Blue Mountains, the rugged Outback and the historic town of Broken Hill. These and many more dramatic and sometimes lonely outposts are all part of the mosaic that makes up this legendary three-night train journey. (from Red Seat $629, Red Cabin $1,219, Gold Cabin $1,649.)  (All prices in Canadian dollars, about at par with the U.S. dollar as of late December.)

The Sunlander.   Running between Brisbane and Cairns, this delightful two-day journey provides a leisurely passage to tropical Queensland. Relax as the train weaves its way north to Cairns, where rain forest meets the barrier reef. (from Economy Seat $199, First Class Berth $379, The Queenslander $689.)

The Ghan.  When this train first departed from Adelaide to Alice Springs, it was always intended that the rail line continue to the port city of Darwin. Now, some 70 years later, the dream is a reality. Covering 1,851 miles, this journey takes you through the heart of the continent. Two nights are spent on board this twice-weekly train, with the option to stop over in Alice Springs for a few days and experience the true Australian Outback.  (from Red Seat $639, Red Cabin $1,279, Gold Cabin $1,769.)

Reservations, copies of a full-color catalog and additional information are available from Experience Australia, 333 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 712, Chicago, Illinois 60601, 800-661-3830. Or begin your adventures online at

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