Sunday, 23 March 2014
My book of the great rail journey from London to Sydney and beyond:
Like millions of other people I’ve flown to Australia, and been bored stiff, but this time I went overland by train.
I was able to connect up with a whole series of trains, which took me all the way from London to Sydney and beyond. It wasn’t a made up TV ‘adventure’ trip with a dozen hidden fixers, nor was it a series of crackpot antics or dangerous pastimes nor was it a way of piggy backing on some fund raising scam.
This was an everyman story that anyone could do and was the most brilliant way to travel around the world. I could potentially have made the journey in 3 weeks but that would have made nonsense of travelling overland - so I spent 3 months stopping off whenever and wherever I felt like it.
Starting from London my route crossed Europe into Russia, east across Siberia, south through Mongolia and into China. From Beijing I trained it to Hanoi and then took the Reunification Express to Saigon, with a few stops on the way. I followed the Mekong north through Cambodia, onwards to Bangkok in Thailand and down the Malay Peninsula to Singapore. My only flight was from Singapore to Darwin and then it was trains all the way to Sydney and Perth.
Buy the book for just £3 - Around the World by Train
Wednesday, 8 January 2014
February 2014 marks a decade since The Ghan completed its extended route from Adelaide to Darwin. Prior to that, it only ran from Adelaide to Alice Springs in the Red Centre. Today The Ghan offers an iconic cross continental rail service. To celebrate, Great Southern Rail is offering travellers 20% off their most popular packages on bookings made between the 6 January and 28 February 2014. The offer is valid for travel between the 1 May 2014 and the 31 October 2014.
Discounted fares from Darwin to Alice Springs or vice versa start from £525 (AU$952) per person travelling in Gold Class or from £1052 (1,832 AU$) per person travelling from Darwin to Adelaide (and vice versa). The price includes all off train tours, all standard beverages, including soft drinks, beers, standard wines and spirits and meals.
Passengers travelling on the Ghan will have the opportunity to explore some of Australia’s most fascinating towns and landscapes. In three days and two nights, covering 2,979km, travellers can make their way leisurely from the Northern Territory’s capital of Darwin all the way to Adelaide. But who in their right mind would not get off the train for a few days to explore the quintessential Australian landscape around Alice Springs?
On board The Ghan travellers have time to soak up and enjoy the moving landscapes as they change from lush green when leaving Australia’s Top End to dust red as the train makes its way through the heart of the Red Centre and then return to green as it travels through the vineyards surrounding Adelaide.
The name of The Ghan comes from the pioneering cameleers (many of them Afghans or Ghans as they were more commonly known), who were the first to establish a permanent trail to the Red Centre over 150 years ago. When the train departed Adelaide on its inaugural journey to Darwin, it was the longest passenger train in Australia’s history, stretching more than 1km with two locomotives and 43 carriages. For further information on the Ghan visit: www.greatsouthernrail.com.au