Aboard epic rail adventures, we skip time zones, across Australia and overseas, to bring you some of the best train travel for 2021 and beyond.
True, 2020 was the year of the armchair trailblazers and virtual trippers, but have you considered a travel mode that’s a lot like this pastime? Only better and surprisingly old. Think rail adventure, where you can sit and journey in far more than your imagination.
Now that we’re all on board for 2021, we can at least consider the next rail adventure for real. There are few more convenient, safe and sustainable ways to see the world – or keep it local – which gives this versatile travel style a compelling edge. These four iconic rail journeys might just keep your travel dreams on track.
Waking up each day knowing you’re on the move is uniquely invigorating. Not in an ocean or river cruise sense but in a rolling through vast tracts of land kind of way. On a rail journey, paradoxically ruled by timetabling, you soon lose track of time, tune into the train’s tempo and get lost in the sense of space sweeping by.
The Nullarbor Plain’s great expanse provides the perfect Outback stage for this type of slow travel adventure. As your train eats up the vast distance from Sydney to Perth over a three-night journey, the only way to see the region’s blistering landscapes and endless horizons is in luxury. Board the Indian Pacific in Gold Class on Travelmarvel’s 18 Day Rail Across the Nullarbor and Beyond adventure from Sydney to Perth, with a three-night journey on the Indian Pacific.
2. New Zealand
One of the wonders of rail, whether you’re an enthusiast or rail traveller of convenience, is how these engineering feats ever came to be. Traversing New Zealand’s North and South islands by rail will leave you musing on just that and marvelling at some of the world’s finest scenery from your passenger seat.
Travelmarvel’s 15 Day New Zealand Great Rail Adventure includes five spectacular train journeys, from the whoosh and roar of North Island’s Glenbrook steam train to the ocean views and vertiginous drops along the route of South Island’s Coastal Pacific train. However it’s likely to be the snow-globe scenes on the TranzAlpine Train that will convert even the reluctant rail-goer, from panoramic windows or the open-air viewing carriage.
History has pre-stamped places of interest with what would’ve been visionary rail tracks at the time. Scotland is criss-crossed with such train journeys and today they travel through enduringly iconic landscapes. The Kyle Line starts from the terminus at Kyle of Lochalsh, crossing point to the Isle of Skye, and leisurely threads its way through the mountain glens of Scotland’s Highlands to Inverness.
The West Highland line is a rail journey in two parts. One departs Glasgow and weaves through auburn moorland, over aqueducts and around lochs, as you scope out Scotland’s wild west from your train window. The other is a nostalgic throwback to the steam era on board the Jacobite steam train, now instantly recognisable as the Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter movies, which stops off at Fort William in the shadow of Ben Nevis. Join our 9 Day Edinburgh, the Highlands & Islands rail adventure to brush with fame.
It’s been over 50 years since Japan’s first bullet trains were launched, yet so advanced were they that the Shinkansen remains the nation’s standard bearer for futuristic transport. The bullet train takes you in sleek convenience and at breathtaking speed to most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu.
Whether you’re hurtling towards Kyoto or Hiroshima, be sure to bring along your station-bought Ekiben (precision-packed bento boxes displaying cuisine sourced from local food specialties). Sit back, savour bite-sized deliciousness and let the clicks speed by on our 12 Day Discovering Japan rail journey.
If you’ve already circumnavigated the world a million times in your mind, then join us trackside for one of these effortless adventures, which we’ve ensured are not a stretch of the imagination.