Journey Beyond

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Journey Beyond
IndustryExperiential tourism
Founded1 November 1997
Key people
Chris Tallent, Great Southern Rail CEO (2012-2016) and Journey Beyond Group CEO (2016-)[1]
ParentJourney Beyond Group (Quadrant Private Equity)

Journey Beyond is the business name (together with more than a dozen other related names) of Experience Australia Group Pty Ltd, a private-equity-owned company, known mainly for operating Australian interstate experiential tourism trains (The Ghan, the Indian Pacific, The Overland, and the Great Southern). As of December 2021, the company was a diversified tourism business based in Adelaide, South Australia, with interests in cruise and air tourism in addition to rail. In January 2022, the United States travel company the Hornblower Group acquired the business from Quadrant Private Equity, which had owned it since 2016.


Before the 1990s, the government-owned Australian National Railways Commission, trading as Australian National, was the owner and operator of Australia's interstate railways and freight and passenger trains. From 1996 to 1998, Australian National was broken up and in 1997 its interstate passenger trains — The Ghan, Indian Pacific and The Overland — were sold to Great Southern Rail (GSR), a consortium of GB Railways, Legal & General, Macquarie Bank, RailAmerica, G13 Pty Ltd[2] and Serco.[3]

Included in the sale were 186 items of rolling stock, mainly former Commonwealth Railways stainless steel carriages and the Adelaide Parklands Terminal and Alice Springs railway station.[4] In 1999, Serco bought all the shares from its consortium partners, becoming the sole owner.[5][6] GSR owned the passenger car fleet and provided services, and Pacific National provided the motive power.

Between 2008 and 2012, Great Southern Rail operated The Southern Spirit as a luxury cruising train service offering eight luxury rail cruises on a variety of outback Australian train routes.[7]

In 2015, Serco sold the business to private equity company Allegro Funds[8] which a year later sold its assets to Quadrant Private Equity.[9]

In 2019, Great Southern Rail was re-branded as Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions and Great Southern became the name of a train running between Adelaide and Brisbane.[10][11] Subsequently the brand name reverted to Journey Beyond.[12]

Acquisitions since 2015 included Cruise Whitsundays and Rottnest Express, the Eureka Tower Skydeck, Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, Outback Spirit Tours, Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef and Darwin Harbour Cruises. As of 2022, it was Australia's largest experiential tourism business.[1]

In January 2022, Quadrant Private Equity sold its 13 brands, including the trains, for a reported AU$600 million. The buyer was the Hornblower Group, a cruise and tour company based in San Francisco, which operates from 125 American cities and whose businesses include Hornblower Cruises.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Chris Tallent". Linkedin. 2022. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  2. ^ "G13 Pty Ltd". Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  3. ^ Great Southern Railway Consortium completes acquisition of Australian National Railways Passenger Business Archived 10 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine Serco 31 October 1997
  4. ^ "Goodbye AN Passenger, Hello Great Southern Railway" Railway Digest December 1997 page 7
  5. ^ About Us Archived 9 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine Great Southern Rail
  6. ^ "Serco Takes Full Control of GSR" Railway Digest January 2000 page 7
  7. ^ "Great Southern Rail launches new luxury rail cruise The Southern Spirit". 17 June 2008. Archived from the original on 22 July 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2008.
  8. ^ Great Southern Rail to be bought by Allegro in high-end tourism push Archived 29 September 2022 at the Wayback Machine ABC News 30 March 2015
  9. ^ "Control of the Indian Pacific, Ghan changes one more time in private equity reshuffle". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 September 2016. Archived from the original on 20 May 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Great Southern Rail to launch Adelaide-Brisbane service". InDaily. 20 November 2018. Archived from the original on 25 November 2018. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Great Southern explores new territory". 25 November 2018. Archived from the original on 25 November 2018. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  12. ^ "About Journey Beyond". Journey Beyond. February 2022. Archived from the original on 21 February 2022. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  13. ^ Allen, Lisa (13 January 2022). "US travel firm makes $600m punt on Journey Beyond". The Australian. Canberra. p. 14. Retrieved 14 January 2022.Paid subscription required subscription: the source is only accessible via a paid subscription ("paywall").