Journey Beyond unveils compelling lineup for 2025

Hosted at the South Australian capital, the annual event showcased new initiatives, including a new corporate program and various partnerships. JO-ANNE HUI-MILLER reports.

LAST week, iconic Australian railway operator Journey Beyond hosted an event for partners and media at Adelaide Parklands Terminal, the home of The Ghan, where they announced new initiatives for the year ahead and treated guests to a tour of their new luxurious gold premium carriages.

During the event, the new corporate social program Journey Lightly was announced, as well as a partnership with Paspaley Pearls and the release of Outback Spirit’s 2025 program. In addition, the company has just acquired Lotus Bird Lodge in Cape York and The Telegraph Station in Alice Springs and signed on South Australian skincare brand Jurlique as its new amenities partner.

“As Australia’s largest experiential tourism group, we want to be proactive stewards of the planet, ensuring we go beyond when it comes to responsible tourism ethics and practices,” said Journey Beyond CEO Chris Tallent, who discussed the new program yesterday during the travel operator’s annual event for partners and media in Adelaide.

Journey Lightly is centred around three pillars: people, place and planet. In terms of the people focus, Tallent said, the focus is on how the company connects and supports communities and cultures all over Australia. The program also includes protecting wildlife and their natural habitat, as well as a commitment to reducing the company’s environmental footprint.

Meanwhile, during yesterday’s event, John Barnett, Outback Spirit’s Executive General Manager, discussed the 2025 program, which includes the new eight-day all-inclusive Arnhem Land & Kakadu Explorer Tour. It is currently being trialled this year.

“Arnhem Land is one of those places that very few people actually get to. It really is the heartland of indigenous culture. It’s very remote. The landscapes are just incredible,” Barnett said. “It’s just an amazing place that I think every Australian should see.”

As part of a new partnership with leading pearling company Paspaley, Journey Beyond has also just launched a touring experience in the Kimberley, which will include a Paspaley Pearl Farm Tour, where guests will cruise to Roebuck Bay and learn about the history of the pearling industry. Then, travellers will visit the luxurious Paspaley Boutique in Broome and hear from artisan jewellers about the craftsmanship of each of the pieces.

“As pearling pioneers, Paspaley cultivates stunning pearls at their Pearl Farm in Roebuck Bay, which are then crafted into extraordinary jewellery pieces. Together, we aim to showcase how the beautiful pearls are intrinsically connected with this beautiful part of the world,” said Tallent.

In terms of the acquisitions of the Alice Springs Telegraph Station and Lotus Bird Lodge, both will be added to Journey Beyond’s diverse portfolio of experiences.

The Alice Springs Telegraph Station was actually established in 1872, playing a critical role in the communication between Darwin and Adelaide and was protected as a Historical Reserve in 1963. As part of The Ghan expedition, guests are also treated to a magical dinner under the stars at the station. It’s also open to the general public, who are welcome to enjoy guided tours and the surrounding walking trails, bike paths and picnic areas.

Journey Beyond recently split from its parent company Hornblower and according to Teall, as the company retained an independent operation and separate capital structure, “it’s business as usual”.

“After two years of being with the Hornblower Group and partnering with them, we are now heading back to being a free standing company again,” Tallent said. “We will be really ramping up our growth with a renewed focus on growth and the expansion of the group.”

“It’s been a tough period of time coming out of COVID. We’ve rebounded beautifully and now we’re ready to go.”

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