23 Feb 23

Woods Bagot designs second coming of train travel with Journey Beyond’s Gold Service

Journey Beyond Render interior

Following up on the design studio’s refurbishment of Journey Beyond’s Platinum Service, Woods Bagot has won the contract to refurbish the Gold Service, with a palette inspired by legendary landscape artist Albert Namatjira.

Journey Beyond’s multi-day Australian train journeys, with all their romantic nostalgia, are getting a new lease on life, with an updated design being introduced over the next few years.

Over AU$10 million is being invested over five years to ensure these carriages represent the best-in-class, blending designs that meld contemporary elements with touches that nod to the historical significance of the journeys and the routes they travel.

The new designs will ultimately be rolled out across The Ghan, which travels between Adelaide and Darwin, traversing some of Australia’s most dramatic outback landscapes; the Indian Pacific, which crosses the continent between Sydney and Perth, taking in the barren beauty of the Nullarbor Plain; and the Great Southern, a summer adventure running down the coast and inland between Brisbane and Adelaide.

Woods Bagot Principal Rosina Di Maria says rail – scenic and greener- is a transport mode well-placed to provide the backbone of our future luxury travel needs.

“There’s an obvious pent-up demand for travel but people also want to travel more meaningfully, immersing themselves in landscapes and communities,” says Di Maria.

Journey Beyond Render interior

In 2019, Woods Bagot worked closely with Journey Beyond to refresh the national icon’s Platinum Service, resulting in a refurbishment that elevated rail tourism in Australia.  

Now, the design studio is following up on that success, winning the redesign of Journey Beyond’s Gold Service, including the Outback Explorer Lounges, Gold Cabins and Queen Adelaide Restaurants across all of the train journeys: The Ghan, Indian Pacific, and Great Southern. The project represents a chance to revisit the identity and aesthetic of train travel for a decidedly different milieu.

Woods Bagot Principal, Rosina Di Maria, explains that the Gold Service design is focused on reconnecting Australians with their own backyard. Vital to this reconnection is the acknowledgement of whose land this is, with the influence of Indigenous artists imprinted on each space.

The palette draws inspiration from renowned Indigenous landscape artist Albert Namatjira, displaying clear influence from the rich colours of Namatjira’s work, capturing the beauty of Central Australia. The design references the contrast of the Ghost Gums against the saturation of the red earth, alongside the playfulness of the vivid mountains beyond. The colours of Paper Bark. Gum Trees, dusty soil, terracotta stock and rich earth are drawn from Namatjira’s work.

Upholstery throughout is by Melbourne-based business Willie Weston, which transforms the work of contemporary First Nations artists into textiles for commercial use.

Guest cabins are key to the on-board experience. The new designs include plush upholstery and bespoke carpeting, high-quality bedding, and all of those small touches that amplify guest comfort.

Journey Beyond Render interior

Along with the cabins, the designs will extend to the Outback Explorer Lounges, which act as the social hub on board. Think luxe leather banquettes and swivel chairs made for sinking into, with mood lighting creating an elegant ambiance that references the romance inherent in train travel. The natural stone bar makes for the perfect gathering point for guests to sip on an aperitif and discuss shared experiences throughout the journey.

The Queen Adelaide Restaurant – where on-board chefs display their craft and guests congregate to savour the carefully curated, all-inclusive menu – will be outfitted with comfortable booth seating enhanced with stone and timber elements, and a striking, pressed-metal ceiling, contributing to a premium dining experience.

“The Gold Service redesign respects and builds on the history of rail and of this land, with an interior design that evokes the landscapes guests are exploring,” says Di Maria.

“We’re delighted to be working with Woods Bagot on this design refresh,” said David Donald, Executive General Manager of Rail at Journey Beyond. “Our train journeys travel through such distinct landscapes and we’re excited to see how these translate into our on-board carriages, restaurants and lounges to enhance the guest experience.”

With initial prototypes now under construction, the first carriages to feature the new design are expected to be underway before year end.


Media enquiries
Tili Bensley-Nettheim
Content and Communications (Australia & New Zealand)

Rosina Di Maria MDIA, is an Interior Designer and Chair of the Adelaide Studio.


Rosina has led award-winning projects in the sectors of workplace interiors, hotel, residential and civic. Rosina is a strong collaborator and curates projects with an inclusive and strategic approach with a focus on enriching the human experience.
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