A GENTLE sway from side to side, the rhythmic chugging and squeaking of the wheels on track, a sweeping vista of grass, trees and the wide open sky ... this is travel as it should be.
I’m on board the Spirit of the Outback, travelling from Longreach to Nambour.
It’s a 24-hour trip that is so much more about the journey than the destination.
I’m in a “roomette” – a one-person sleeper. The laptop is nestled on my lap, I’m comfortably stretched out, my feet are up and the giant window next to me is providing an unfolding live documentary of colour and different landscapes.
I’ve been on the train for eight hours – a length of time that would be a killer on any other form of transport, but on a train it is pure pleasure.
And, if breakfast and lunch were anything to go by, I can’t wait for dinner.
Those, like me, who thought train travel was too expensive because they could get a cheaper flight, have missed the point.
It is literally a moving experience that you’re not going to forget – kind of like being on a land-locked cruise liner.
Where else do you get the opportunity to play cards, walk around, eat fine food, work comfortably on a laptop and then fall asleep on a bed while still getting to your required destination?
And while the scenery between destinations on an ocean cruise is mainly ocean, from the train I’ve been able to see sheep, roos, termite hills, the changing landscapes of the outback and a snapshot of the quaint towns dotted en-route. Train travel is also the perfect mode of transport for families. I haven’t heard one kid on-board say, “Are we there yet?”.
Instead, the children are colouring in their colouring books and playing board games with mum and dad or sitting in the lounge watching Aliens In The Attic.
Granted, some of these luxuries aren’t available in economy. But the scenery from the window is the same no matter where you sit on the train.
Having the opportunity to sleep in one of the sleepers is, however, something everyone should budget for at least once.
And booking a Traveltrain holiday, which extends the experience beyond the mode of transport, is also definitely worthwhile.
Traveltrain invests in finding the best of the best in the destinations the trains visit.
Whether you are travelling to Longreach or to Cairns, you can rest assured you won’t be short-changed by the itinerary put together after arrival.
I had the pleasure of spending my two-day Traveltrain holiday with 19 of the Traveltrain staff, whom I have no doubt will be able to ensure the success and enjoyment on your journey will be no less than it was on mine.
If you want to discover the Great Southland, discover it on a train. You won’t want to go anywhere by car again. All you need to know is at www.traveltrain.com.au
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