As a kid I remember being fascinated by the tale of Phileas Fogg as he and his companions attempted to circumnavigate the globe in the Jules Verne classic ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’. The mystery and adventure; the people they met and the cultures they experienced. I think it may have had a big part to play in my adult wanderlust.
While the scale of their particular journey is out of my league, and I don’t have 80 days of leave , the idea of seeing as much of the world as I can still drives me. With that in mind, I’ve been looking at other alternatives for adventure – and rail travel could be the one.
If you’re looking to enrich your mind and stimulate your senses, delving into what really makes a destination tick, then 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.
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. This breathtaking experience takes 10:30hrs – but the memories will last a lifetime.
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. It’s a short 1:30hr journey, but the views from its panoramic windows are worth it.
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.
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 around AU$870+ 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.
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 interests, budget and time. A seven-day Japan Rail Pass starts at AU$352 per person.
Got any other suggestions for our rail wish list? Let us know.