There’s something impossibly romantic about boarding a train for a weekend getaway.

A lazy train journey is the epitome of slow travel! While epic trips across Australia or Europe lure those who enjoy the click-clack of a train on the tracks, the great news is there are several iconic inland and coastal holiday destinations less than 100km away from Perth accessible by train. 

So, pack your bags, climb aboard and settle in for the ride. Let's go check them out! 

Explore the Avon Valley 

The Avon Valley is on Perth’s doorstep. While the Avon Valley National Park, Walyunga National Park and the Avon River make for incredible outdoor adventures, they are equally exciting when viewed from the window of a train. With three trains heading to the Avon Valley towns of Toodyay and Northam it’s as easy as boarding the AvonLink, MerredenLink or Prospector passenger trains and sitting back for an hour or so to enjoy the beauty of the Western Australian bush from the comfort of your train seat.  

Northam Avon Valley
Northam | Avon Valley
AvonLink Facts:
  • The AvonLink - Midland Station to Northam Train Station via Toodyay and back daily from Monday to Friday. Leaving Midland at 5:50pm and returning from Northam at 6:30am.

  • The train is comfortable with air conditioning, bathroom facilities and free Wi-Fi.

  • The service commenced in 1995, making the AvonLink the first country passenger train to be introduced in the state in almost 50 years.  

MerredenLink Facts:
  • The MerredenLink travels from East Perth to Merreden - on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:45am before turning around to come back around 1:00pm.

  • This service has been running for 20 years .

  • The trains have airconditioning, free powerpoints and Wi-Fi.

  • Tickets can be purchased onboard - no need to prebook.

  • Stops - Midland, Toodyay, Northam, Meckering, Cunderdin, Tammin, Kellerberrin, Doodlakine, Hines Hill, Merredin.

Prospector Line Facts:
  • This high-speed train travels from Perth to Kalgoorlie and back and is the only train to offer weekend trips.

  • The Prospector service first opened in 1971 and used to be an overnight trip to Kalgoorlie.

  • The train has a full buffet service, Wi-Fi, air conditioning and an on-demand personal entertainment system.

  • The train stops at Toodyay and Northam before heading to the Golden Outback.

You may need to book a combination of the three train services to meet your travel needs. Bookings and enquiries can be made with Transwa.

Luggage information and a list of requirements are on the Transwa website.

Toodyay

If Toodyay is your station, prepare to be delighted by this charming country town, one of the oldest inland towns in Western Australia. The name Toodyay comes from the Noongar word ‘dudja’, meaning 'mist'. During winter, the Toodyay Valley is often shrouded in mist.

Country pubs, quirky cafes and gift shops populate the main street, and it is also a town of farmers' markets and festivals! The locals love dressing up in period costumes and celebrating notorious bushranger Moondyne Joe at the annual Moondyne Festival or shop till you drop at Toodyay Farmers Market, held on the third Sunday of every month.

Toodyay Avon Valley
Toodyay | Avon Valley
Things to Do in Toodyay
Accommodation and Eats in Toodyay

Staying for a weekend or a midweek minibreak? Accommodation options accessible from the town centre range from camping to hotel, and bed and breakfast to self-contained units, or treat yourself to a boutique stay at Toodyay Manor where history meets luxury accommodation! For further accommodation options, pay a visit to the Toodyay Visitor Centre.

Culinary choices in the town include pub food, local wineries and cafes, and you can’t go past the award-winning Toodyay Bakery for some delicious country-baked goods.

Toodyay Bakery
Toodyay Bakery | Toodyay

Northam

The next stop is Northam, WA’s largest inland town. Set on Ballardong Noongar Booja, the Avon River (Goguljar Beeliar) flows through the centre of this delightful town. Keep an eye out for the infamous elegant white swans of Northam! 

People come to Northam for adventure and relaxation. This big country town is the hot air ballooning capital of Western Australia, with two main operators - Liberty Balloon Flights and Windward Ballooning, who will give you the most incredible views over Northam as the sun rises. An overnight stay is necessary, as the meeting time for a ballooning experience is before 5:00am. Definitely one for the bucket list!

Northam Avon Valley
Northam | Avon Valley
Things to do in Northam
  • Visit Bilya Koort Boodja (River, Heart, Land) on the banks of the Avon River to learn about the traditional owners, the Ballardong Nyoongar people. This state-of-the-art centre takes you on a journey of discovery through the six seasons and Aboriginal history in Northam and the Ballardong Region.

  • Walk the Dorntj Koorliny Track - an easy bridge-to-bridge loop on the Avon River in the town centre. 

  • Explore the Northam Heritage Centre situated at the old railway station. The museum has over 1200 items to see. The highlight is a fully restored vintage steam engine and carriages.

  • Check out the incredible Silo Art on the outskirts of the town. Part of the public Silo Trail, the artwork on the sides of the CBH grain terminal is stunning.  

  • Visit the Northam Aquatic Facility to cool off or do some laps in the Olympic-sized pool.

Accommodation and Eats in Northam

Accommodation is plentiful in Northam. Visit the Northam Visitor Centre for a list of options. Delightful heritage hotels, bed and breakfasts, camping, glamping and backpacker stays are available within the bounds of the town centre.

Northam has a range of eateries, from pub food to the usual fast food offerings. The Farmers Home Hotel serves a gourmet selection of shared plates and meals and provides comfortable boutique accommodation.

Hot Air Ballooning | Northam
Hot Air Ballooning | Northam

Off to the Seaside! Rockingham and Mandurah by Rail

Pack your bucket and spade, bathers and towel; it’s time for a rail trip to the seaside! The coastal towns of Mandurah and Rockingham are popular tourist destinations due to their magnificent beaches and relaxed holiday vibe.

A train journey to Mandurah via Rockingham is as easy as boarding in Perth City and sitting back for a smooth ride down the freeway sans bumper-to-bumper traffic!

Mandurah Line Facts:
  • The Mandurah line train departs Perth Underground Station and stops at all stations to Mandurah.

  • The train journey from Perth takes 50 minutes.

  • Transperth runs the network.

  • Tickets need to be purchased before you board.

  • Bikes are permitted on Transperth trains in off-peak periods. Transperth has a full list of what you can and can’t take with you.

Rockingham

The train ride to Rockingham from Perth takes 45 minutes, with a shuttle bus service from the station to Rockingham Town Centre.

Rockingham encompasses the traditional lands of the Whadjuk and Binjareb Noongar people. Surrounded by the calm waters of Cockburn Sound and the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, it’s an aquatic playground for sea lions, penguins and people. Snorkelling, kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding, and swimming are hugely popular on this sheltered part of the Western Australian coast.  Let’s see what ‘Rocko’ has to offer.

Rockingham Foreshore
Rockingham Foreshore | Rockingham
Things to Do in Rockingham
Accommodation and Eats in Rockingham

Being a tourist destination, accommodation choices are only limited by your preference and budget. You can camp out, stay in a bed and breakfast or a self-contained apartment or seek out accommodation, such as Rockingham Apartments or Quest Rockingham.  

Restaurants, cafes and bars are plentiful in the town centre, catering for couples, families and larger groups. You will be spoiled for choice when it comes to finding delicious eats. 

Quest Rockingham
Quest Rockingham
Mandurah

Just a little further on from Rockingham is Mandurah, Australia’s Top Tourism Town (2023). The train terminates at Mandurah, and you can jump on a shuttle bus to reach the Town Centre.  

Mandurah is Perth’s largest regional city, with magnificent beaches and an estuary twice the size of Sydney Harbour. The First Nations people in the region know it as Mandjoogoordap (meeting place of the heart), and it will definitely capture your heart.

There are so many reasons to visit Mandurah. The small city is set on some of the most diverse waterways and wetlands in the state; it has a thriving arts and culture precinct, with the purpose-built Performing Arts Centre perched on the Mandurah boardwalk, and it's a playground for everything aquatic.  

Not to mention the incredible selection of restaurants, cafes and bars that make Mandurah a culinary destination worthy of any city in Australia.

Mandurah
Mandurah
Things to Do In Mandurah

  • Visit Thomas Dambo’s Giants - in situ for an extended time. You may need to seek public transport or e-bike hire if you are on foot, as some distances are too far to walk comfortably. Get your directions from the Visitor Centre and follow the clues!

  • Spend some time on, in or close to the water. The beaches are within walking distance of the Town Centre, or you can take a sunset cruise with dolphins with Mandurah Cruises or hire a boat from Mandurah Boat Hire and cruise the canals.

  • Visit art galleries, see a show at the Performing Arts Centre or follow an art trail.

  • Take advantage of free activities in Mandurah.

  • Go crabbing from December to January in the Peel-Harvey Estuary.

  • Hire an e-bike or e-scooter from the Bike Kiosk to explore the many coastal bike paths.

  • Check out Things to Do In Mandurah for some more ideas.

Accommodation and Eats in Mandurah

Being a Top Tourism Town, this city has so many accommodation options to choose from, including camping at Mandurah Caravan and Tourist Park, self-contained units, luxury hotels and bed and breakfasts. But have you ever thought about staying on a houseboat?  Mandurah Houseboats could be the perfect way to both stay and play in Mandurah. The boats leave from Mandurah Ocean Marina, and no skipper ticket is required. 

As for eats, the range of restaurants, cafes and bars is extensive, from fish and chips on the boardwalk at Cicerellos to almost any cuisine you desire. Visit the Mandurah Visitor Centre for a list of places to eat and stay.

Houseboat | Mandurah
Houseboat | Mandurah
More Train Travel

Of course, there are more iconic destinations accessible by train in this great state, such as Pinjarra on the Australind line. The Australind is the gateway to the South West connecting Perth to Bunbury, but the service is currently suspended until mid-2025 until upgrades are completed. Coach travel is available in its place.

If you stay on the Prospector it will take you on to Kalgoorlie, or you could continue past Northam on the MerredinLink to any of the towns on the way to the Wheatbelt town of Merredin. 

See you at the station!