Great Southern Rail

The mighty Indian Pacific celebrates its 40th Anniversary in February 2010. A train acclaimed not only as an Australian icon but as one of the worlds greatest train journeys.

Great Southern RailHistory was made when the Indian Pacific departed Sydney Central Station on the first direct rail journey across the continent, forty years ago. Tens of thousands of people lined the track to witness what was said to be a symbol of nationhood; the first solid connection between the cities of the east and the isolated west coast.

More than 55,000 people now experience the vastness and beauty of the Australian outback on board the Indian Pacific each year. The train has earned its place as one of Australia’s most precious tourism entities.

“The Indian Pacific is so much more than a mode of transport,” said Commercial Director of Great Southern Rail, Russell Westmoreland. “It is a journey of a lifetime as guests experience some of the country’s most breathtaking scenery, make new friends and enjoy fine dining in the comfort of an iconic train,” he said.

Great Southern RailThe Indian Pacific provides a rare window into the outback of Australia.

From the stunning Blue Mountains with lush tree canopies and spectacular valley views the train winds through the Great Dividing Range, the salt lakes and sand dunes of South Australia and over the longest straight stretch of rail track in the world as it crosses the Nullarbor Plain.

“Australia is the only continent in the world that can be crossed coast-to-coast by train. The wedge-tailed eagle is the symbol of the Indian Pacific – its massive two metre wingspan symbolises the epic journey of an adventure that spans a continent,” said Russell.

Great Southern railThere is no better time to travel on the Indian Pacific than during its historic 40th year. To celebrate the occasion, Great Southern Rail has a special package available for travel before 31 August.

Guests booking a journey on the Indian Pacific in Red Sleeper Service, with two nights accommodation and one day of touring, will be entitled to a free upgrade to Gold Service. To avoid missing out on this fantastic offer, contact Great Southern Rail on 13 21 47 or

The Indian Pacific departs from both Sydney and Perth twice a week during the high season. During low season the journey is limited to one return service each week.

Wreck Bay Convict shipwreck heritage listed

Minister for Planning, Tony KellyThe historic shipwreck Hive in Wreck Bay is to be protected for future generations, after being listed on the State Heritage Register.

Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, made the announcement during a visit to Wreck Bay in late March 2010, which gained its name following the loss of the Hive and another 10 subsequent shipwrecks.

“The remains of the Hive were located by the Heritage Branch in 1994 and is the only example of an early 1800’s convict prison ship wrecked in NSW and must therefore be protected,” the Minister said.

“It has considerable heritage significance as it meets all seven Heritage Council criteria for listing on the State Heritage Register.”

Hive Camp Wreck Bay NSWThe Hive was on its second voyage to Australia in 1835 when it ran aground with 250 Irish male prisoners, military guards of the 28th Regiment, ship’s crew, women, children and a cargo of coinage for the Government worth £10,000.

A crew member, the Boatswain, drowned while convicts and passengers were being transported from the foundering ship to shore.

The Hive site is unique in NSW as the only convict ship wrecked whilst transporting convicts to Sydney. The only two other convict transport shipwrecks in Australia are located in Tasmanian waters.

Wreck Bay NSWThe crew established a bush camp in the adjacent sand hills of Bherwerre Beach, in Wreck Bay, to await rescue while they stripped the vessel of anything they could salvage.

Mr Kelly said the events surrounding the loss of the Hive demonstrate early contact with local Aboriginal communities.

“The co-operation and support of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community members and other Aboriginal peoples in assisting the survivors and in passing word to distant Sydney is a key element of the site’s significance,” the Minister said.

“I am advised Federal Heritage Minister, Peter Garrett, has asked the Australian Heritage Council to add the Survivors’ Camp to its list of places to assess for possible inclusion on the Commonwealth Heritage List.

“The camp, which is on Commonwealth land, is a very important part of the Hive’s story and history, including the role the Aboriginal community played in helping to rescue the survivors of the wreck.”

Because the Hive is buried under sand, an important sonar survey of the shipwreck will be undertaken by maritime archaeologists from the Heritage Branch and the Commonwealth’s GeoScience Australia, to determine the amount of buried hull timbers remaining.

The archaeological remains are protected by the NSW Heritage Act and the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976, and there are severe penalties for disturbing the remains.

The wreck survey will be conducted as part of the State Maritime Archaeology Program and the NSW component of the National Historic Shipwreck Program. 

The Hive wreck site is representative of the period of convict transportation to Australia, and the interaction between survivors of shipwrecks and Aborigines.

The ship, its cargo, crew, military personnel and convicts were part of the later period of highly organised convict transportation. It survives as a rare example of a vessel engaged in this trade. The hull is the main surviving artefact and has the potential to provide information about the construction and fitting of one of His Majesty’s prison ships during this period.

Images Courtesy of Heritage Branch, Planning NSW

BridgeClimb Celebrates the 2.5 millionth Climber to Scale to the Summit of Sydney’s Icon

BridgeClimb Sydney has celebrated the 2.5 millionth Climber to experience “The Climb of their Life” on the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. At 10.05am on Friday 12 March 2010, Hilary Baker from the UK scaled to the summit of the Bridge with BridgeClimb Sydney.

Ms Baker, a coach driver from Sundon, England (just outside London), climbed with her partner Greg Ashworth as well as her sister Alison Kirkham and Alison’s husband John Kirkham.

“This is our first visit to Australia and what a way to be welcomed” Ms Baker said. “I have been looking forward to climbing the Bridge for so long, and to be lucky enough to be the 2.5 millionth climber…well this is just brilliant.”

At the summit Ms Baker was presented with a trophy containing a cement core from the original 1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge foundation work, sourced from the excavation of the BridgeClimb access tunnel to the Bridge.

Todd Coates, Managing Director of BridgeClimb said “Hilary has travelled from across the globe to summit the Bridge today. Her story and the memory she will treasure forever is as unique and special as every one of our 2.5 million Climbers”.

Since BridgeClimb opened in October 1998 58% of Climbers have been international visitors to Sydney, 24% were Sydney-siders and 18% were from the rest of Australia.

BridgeClimb now have three exciting climbs to the summit of the Bridge; The Bridge Climb, The Discovery Climb and The Express Climb, all available at dawn, during the day, twilight and at night. For booking enquiries call (02) 8274 7777 or book online at

2.5 millionth Climber Pictures by James Morgan on behalf of Bridgeclimb, Sydney, Australia.

Take A Historic Pub Trail Through Mudgee

Mudgee is steeped in history – it has more heritage listed buildings than any other town in NSW. Beer and wine lovers can rejoice as many are charming pubs, offering an ideal base to eat, drink and sleep your way through the Region. With over 20 to choose from this is a pub crawler’s paradise.

From Rylstone and Mudgee to Hill End and Gulgong each of the region’s pubs have their own unique story and architecture. Once inside, enjoy warm open fires, friendly locals, fresh food and great value accommodation. Cold beer is always on tap, along with a range of wines from the local cellar doors.

Many of the region’s pubs now sell beer from the Mudgee Brewing Company, the town’s first and only brewery which opened a new restaurant and café in May 2009. Highlights on a self-guided Pub Trail through Mudgee include:

The Royal Hotel (Hill End) – one of 27 hotels built in the 1870’s for the gold rush, this is the only one still standing, a legendary hotel for its atmosphere and stories, accommodates up to 20 people.

The Globe Hotel (Rylstone) – great country pub with a beer garden overlooking the town’s main street and beautiful plane trees, with 12 rooms it is an ideal base for visiting Dunns Swamp.

Kandos Hotel (Kandos) – a basic pub to meet the locals who work at the local cement works, used to hold up the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the gateway to the Wollemi National Park for canoeing, fishing, bushwalking or a river cruise.

Prince of Wales (Gulgong) – one of historic Gulgong’s oldest buildings, from the 1800s, this pub is brimming with warmth, great food and accommodation in units or motel rooms. The Girls Weekend away package is ideal for special occasions and includes a massage and wine tour.

The Post Office Hotel (Gulgong) – chat to the locals while you have a beer and enjoy the bistro food. Rooms are pub style and bathrooms shared, but the building’s history will charm you.

Lawson Park Hotel (Mudgee) – at the Red Heifer Grill they grow and serve their own Angus steaks, or enjoy a deep dish pie. The historic 1860 pub offers tastings from 25 local wines, and accommodation in seven rooms overlooking pretty Lawson Park in town.

The Oriental (Mudgee) – the famous Ori bistro is renowned for its juicy steaks and gourmet specials, it is recently renovated, with accommodation in seven rooms all with verandas, or the self-contained cottage next door

Mudgee Brewing Company (Mudgee) – a café and restaurant within this 100 year old converted wool shed, this is the only brewery in Mudgee.

“The pubs are a great way for travellers to enjoy Mudgee on a budget – they  offer more than luxury guesthouses and wineries – and they full of cultural and historical charm.” said Lucy White, Tourism Manager at Mudgee Region Tourism Inc.

The Mudgee Region is a 3.5 hour drive from Sydney in the Central West of NSW. A food and wine lover’s paradise, there are also a range of arts, culture, history, nature and wilderness experiences to be enjoyed.

For more information on Mudgee’s pubs and touring contact the Mudgee Visitor Information Centre on 02 6372 1020 or go to

Mudgee has the highest number of heritage listed buildings on a per capita basis than any other town in NSW.

Crossing Motel and Junee NSW

Junee has a long and interesting history. It developed rapidly when the main railway line arrived in 1881, being halfway between Melbourne and Sydney. The wealth of the Junee is reflected in the many grand buildings still standing today.

A town built when people travelled by rail, walked to the shops and strolled on Sundays, Junee captures the beauty and history of rural Australia and combines this with modern facilities, fine dining and great attractions.

While staying at the Crossing Motel, the Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory, operated by Green Grove Organics, is well worth a visit. Also guided tours are available at “The Roundhouse Railway Museum” and Historic “Monte Cristo Homestead”.

The Crossing Motel provides 4-star luxury and first class hospitality, all rooms have air conditioning, queen size beds, remote TV, mini bar and free 8ch Austar. The Crossing Motel features a private and secluded salt water outdoor swimming pool and a gazebo, should you wish to escape from the sunshine and sit in the shade. A natural gas BBQ is provided for the use of our Guests to do some outdoor cooking.

The “Roundhouse Restaurant , maintains a friendly, family atmosphere, specialising in homestyle, wholesome cooking, using local organic products(when available) and generally ‘Celiac Friendly’ ingredients, providing a wide range of local and exotic cuisine to suit every taste. We are conveniently located 1/2 km from the town centre.

Australian Convict Sites

There are 11 convict sites (known as the Australian Convict Sites) that make up Australia’s World Heritage. The sites are:

  • New South Wales: Old Government House and Domain (Parramatta), Hyde Park Barracks (Sydney), Cockatoo Island Convict Site (Sydney) and Old Great North Road (near Wiseman’s Ferry).
  • Norfolk Island: Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA).
  • Tasmania: Port Arthur Historic Site (Tasman Peninsula), Cascades Female Factory (Hobart), Darlington Probation Station (Maria Island), Coal Mines Historic Site (via Premadeyna) and Brickendon-Woolmers Estates (near Longford).
  • Western Australia: Fremantle Prison.

The Australian Convict Sites were listed under criteria (iv) and (vi) under the UNESCO Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention  for its outstanding global significance.

In July 2010 the World Heritage Convention’s announced that Kingston and Arthurs Vale on Norfolk Island and the other 10 Australian convict sites to be listed on the World Heritage List.

Contact Heritage Tourism for KAVHA tour details

Nowra Historic Walk

Explore the historic landmarks of Nowra on the South Coast NSW. The historic walk guide includes:  Marriott Park,  Werninck Craft Cottage,  Nowra Museum,  Nowra Court House, Marriott Oliver, All Saints’ Anglican Church,  Meroogal, Nowra Showground, Hanging Rock Lookout, the Grandstand and much more

Download the Nowra Historic Walk

Meroogal is a must whilst visiting Nowra. Built in 1885, this fascinating timber house was home to four generations of women from the Thorburn family. Meroogal’s rich collection of personal objects provides an insight into the private lives and daily world of this family for nearly a century.

Cnr Worrigee & West Streets, Nowra 2541
Ph: 02 4421 8150
Guided tour take place on the hour
Open Sat. 1-5pm and Sunday 10-5pm.
Booked groups by arrangement