These days we all seem to be in such a hurry to get places – such is the nature of plane travel. And, let’s be honest, often there’s not that much to look at out the window either. But what if your journey to the next place could be almost as good as your next destination itself? What if it was such a grand experience in and of itself it was a destination?
Significant train journeys are one of those opportunities that rarely fail to impress no matter what terrain you pass through – and you don’t even have to be a ferroenquinologist (railfan) to take part. Besides being entertaining, train rides are apt for long distance journeys, as they are very comfortable and relaxing – you almost get lulled into a meditative trance.
So we thought we’d look at some popular train journeys you might want to add to your ‘not to miss’ travel list.
Rocky Mountaineer in Canada
Rocky Mountaineer train journey covers the spectacular and scenic route extending from Vancouver to Banff in Southern British Columbia or up to Jasper (in Alberta) or both – where you’ll cross seven mountain ranges – all without breaking a sweat. This train travel offers the most stunning scenery aboard the glass-topped train – especially in Fall (Autumn), but brilliant at any time of year. Sights include Hell’s Gate wild waters in Fraser Canyon, steep tracks that follow the Thomson River, snow covered Canadian Rockies and the breathtaking Banff – all accompanied with historic tidbits or local stories of adventure. There are even outdoor sections of the train, where you can get a real whiff of that fresh mountain air.
But it’s not just what’s on the outside that will take your breath away. The carriages on the train are luxurious, with food to die for, making you loathed to leave the train, when your destination arrives.
Glacier Express in Switzerland
The name itself is indicative of the quirky travel you are in for. Glacier Express connects St Moritz and Zermatt, the popular mountain resorts in the country. And don’t be misled by the name ‘express’. It’s the slowest ‘express’ train in the world – giving you plenty of time to catch your breath as it gets taken away again and again by what passes outside your window.
Travelling via Glacier Express quite possibly the best way to revel in the snow-capped extravaganza that the Swiss Alps provide. When you travel from Zermatt towards the east, you’ll be treated to the most amazing scenery including 291 bridges and 91 tunnels, pristine lakes, quaint hamlets and spectacular alpine meadows – that really do look like they’ve just leapt off the face of a postcard. Possibly two of the greatest moments are when you reach the highest point in the journey the Oberalp Pass more than 2000m above sea level and Landwasser Viaduct, is a giant structure of six arches 60 metres tall. Journeys range from a quick overnight trip between Brig & St Moritz to a 7 night Grand Train Tour of Switzerland.
The Ghan in Australia
And it would be remiss of us not to mention journeys on The Ghan. The Australian Outback can be a glorious spectacle when you’re afforded the time to enjoy it. If you are intent on seeing all the best things the outback has to offer, traveling on the Ghan is the perfect way to do it. It begins in Darwin, travels via Alice Springs, Katherine Gorge and Coober Pedy and travels all the way to Adelaide covering nearly 3000kms.
Now the colour you’ll see along the way is one thing (great if you’re photography minded). BUT…the best thing about The Ghan are the adventures along the way, when the train stops – just to give you a different experience. There’s everything from camel treks, Indigenous cultural tours where you can experience Dreamtime tales, iconic walks, helicopter flights and river cruises along Nitmiluk Gorge – a real natural wonder (and where you might see some ancient Indigenous rock art – dating back 40,000 years).
If you’re ready to embrace your inner rail fan (or just your love of luxury travel and amazing scenery), we’d be delighted to help you create something that perfectly suits you or your family. You can give us a call on (02) 6041 5577, visit the office at 601 Dean Street, Albury or book an appointment with one of our expert travel agents via the form below.
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