As a kid I remember being fascinated by the tale of Phileas Fogg and his companions as they attempted to circumnavigate the globe in the classic Jules Verne novel ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’. The mystery and adventure, the people they met and the fascinating cultures they experienced… I think it may have had a big part to play in my adult wanderlust.
While their particular journey is a little out of my league, and I don’t have 80 days of annual leave that I can use in one go, the idea of seeing as much of the world as I can still drives me.
Rail Plus Australia, Australia’s international rail specialists, recently caught my attention with their promo ‘Around the World in Eight Rail Journeys’. Sure, it may not be an epic globe-trotting adventure in one package, but the bite size trips are probably more achievable.
If you’re looking to enrich your mind and stimulate your senses, delving into what really makes a destination tick, these are eight rail journeys you may want to consider.
The world tour starts with the The Ghan, one of two iconic train journeys in Australia. Connecting Adelaide to Darwin, passengers will journey through Australia’s rough and raw outback over 3D/2N, while witnessing the constantly changing landscape from the sprawling wine regions and desert plains to ancient gorges and the lush tropics. The experience in the Gold Twin Service starts at AU$1690 per person.
Across the ditch in New Zealand, the Northern Explorer will take passengers through the heart of the country’s North Island where green farmlands, quaint towns and rugged coasts meet snow-blanketed fields, ancient lava flows and dense beech forests. Starting at AU$185 per person, this breathtaking experience takes 10:30hrs.
Further across the South Pacific Ocean in South America, the Vistadome, which journeys between Cusco and Machu Picchu, is a must do for anyone looking to connect with Peru to fully appreciate the country’s impressive landscape along with then Andean culture, food, music and dance. Only a short 1:30hr rail journey, the experience starts at AU$125 per person.
Up north in the USA, the Amtrak USA Rail Pass offers a few options to suit the duration of the traveller’s trip. Starting at eight segments over 15 days, pass holders have the flexibility and convenience of hopping on and off as they please, while exploring different parts of the country. The Amtrak USA Rail Pass starts at AU$652 per person.
Over the border in Canada, travellers can use the Canrailpass seven or 10 trips in 60 days to experience the country’s many assets from its coasts and rugged interiors to its major cities, quaint towns and wildlife habitats. Depending on the number of trips planned, prices for the Canrailpass start at AU$877 per person.
Across the Atlantic in Europe, a single Eurail Global Flexi Pass allows its holder access to countless trains in as many as 28 countries around the continent. Opportunities abound with this pass and the traveller is free to explore as many countries as their time permits. A five days in 1 month Eurail Global Flexi Pass starts at AU$617 per person.
Then in China, the Beijing to Hong Kong train will take passengers through China’s scenic and rugged interior, via a number of provinces, villages and cities. Passengers will also experience the stark contrasts between provinces in terms of food, culture and the dialects spoken. The overnight service in Standard Class starts at AU$191 per person.
Finally in Japan, a Japan Rail Pass for seven, 14 or 21 days will allow travellers to hop on and off trains across the length and breadth of the country to explore the land according to their interests, budget and time. A seven-day Japan Rail Pass starts at AU$352 per person.
For more info on any of the trips, visit railplus.com.au or call 1300 555 003.