IT all started with the Indian Pacific; the rail journey that takes you from Sydney to Perth and for Dr John Pedrotti and wife Trish of Shepparton this was the beginning of a fascination for train travel that would take them around the world.
As John says, there is none of the hustle at airports and in a sleeper carriage you have full amenities plus silver service meals in the dining car, you meet interesting people and arrive refreshed and ready to explore your new destination.
Next came the Ghan from Adelaide to Alice Springs and onto Darwin. It is 2,979 kilometres but at a relaxed pace and you really get to see outback Australia.
The Ghan was named after the Afghan cameleers who once travelled this route with their trusty camels. There is lots to see with day tours out of Alice Springs including the rock and in Darwin, Katherine Gorge is a must see as is Kakadu.
Now for a little more adventure, John and Trish headed to India. The luxury tourist trains are known as the Maharajas trains and they are opulent and have a three sleeper compartment per carriage, so you have plenty of room with full size double bed, table and chairs, grand dining car, and the trains travel at night so you can cover vast distances.
In Rajasthan they travelled from Deli to Jaipur and Agra to see the Taj Mahal, then another train in Southern India took them onto Bangalore, Mysore and many other interesting places.
John and Trish have also travelled by train through Canada and the USA. Of course the must do in Canada is the Rocky Mountaineer in the glass top train for those wonderful views. Leaving Vancouver, they headed to Halifax using four different trains; all had excellent sleeper accommodation and great food.
Recently they have come back from the USA where they took trains from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Chicago to New York and had some quality time in New Orleans. All the trains were very clean and with excellent sleeper cars.
John says the scenery along the way is great, particularly when they travelled from San Francisco to Denver and California’s Sacramento Valley then onto the Rockies with its vast canyons, it was very scenic.
They didn’t just stay on the trains. You can get off where ever you want and stay for as long as you want. So they had five days in New Orleans, staying in the French Quarter. They found lots to do, from a steam boat ride on the mighty Mississippi to a visit to a plantation that still had the original basic slave accommodation and the original massive mansion. To top it all off, a swamp tour and if you are into alligators, they are everywhere.
John and Trish also took time out for five days in New York, staying on Times Square. They were right in the centre of things; within walking distance of Central Park and New York’s many museums and galleries. After that they had another three day stopover in Chicago with its many attractions.
John says the magic is that you can combine the simplicity of train travel and get off and stretch your legs at the many stops along the way, with longer stays at the main travel destinations as well as seeing the countryside along the way.
So if you are looking for something different for your next holiday, maybe you could do it by train.
Until next time,