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Joys of Country Rail Travel

Home > Melbourne > Day Trips | Escape the City | Railway Journeys | Seniors | Trains
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published October 25th 2013
Great outings in country Victoria
Picture V-LineFacebook

Having had three delightful train journeys to country Victoria this year I have become a total convert to the railways.

What a delightful slice of solitude and time for reflection. Why, oh why do we take the car when we can have all this uninterrupted time to ourselves?

I've just returned from a trip to Warrnambool which is whopper of a journey. It takes about 3.5 hours.

To relieve, what I thought would be, boredom I changed activities every 30 minutes and by the time I got there I had literally solved all the problems in my world.

Admittedly I had a new toy to help -- an iPad which I had downloaded with podcasts before I left.

Western District stone walls were built to keep the plague of rabbits out

I listened to Great Lives on BBC 4 Radio which is a series of sparkling docos on some of the greatest people who ever lived. For a writer the lives of successful writers are always endlessly fascinating. Then because I wondered how successful writers functioned I listened to downloads from Beyond the To Do List which has great sessions on the things you could change in your life to make you more productive. Between Geelong and Birregarra I came up with a list of changes to implement. A stunning podcast on stylish academic writing with Helen Sword encouraged me get my laptop out and write 500 words on that pesky thesis (certainly something I could never have done if I had been driving.) Then mentally pooped I switched over to Guided Meditation for Renewal my Mary Maddux whose soothing voice must surely be broadcast from heaven. This was my first attempt at podcast meditations and it worked.

Lake Pertobe. If I had a car I wouldn't have found this beautiful walk
Lake Pertobe

Reinvigorated I read Sue Turnbull's latest book, she's the writer who wrote Almost French and her new work All Good Things is almost as stunning. Normally I don't get time to read beyond a few pages in bed at night so to sit and read on a comfortable seat whilst glimpsing snippets of scenery was bliss.

Outside the panoramic windows was the peaceful and rotating view of green pastures, contented cows, quaint country stations and the Western District's famous stone wall fences and extinct volcanoes.

It was interesting to note the other passengers. Most like me had ear plugs socketed into ears which doesn't make for the most convivial of trips. Although I did squeeze in a delightful conversation with a young backpacker from Switzerland who was pleased to practise his English language skills.

A lot of people just sleep. Trains are conducive to nodding off as they rock you like a cradle. Other people were knitting, or doing crossword puzzles.

Arriving without a car I had to get a taxi to the resort which cost me all of $7.

Having no car while I was there meant loads of healthy walking and discovering new places I just wouldn't have found if I was driving.

The walk into town, for example, took me along meandering paths and bridges that somehow took me through the central islands of Lake Pertobe.

Previous country train trips have all been different but equally delightful. On a trip to Lakes Entrance I sat down, opened my book and the woman next to me struck up a conversation. That conversation didn't stop until we reached Bairnsdale. Thankfully she was interesting.

A day trip to Ballarat was also lots of fun. The station is right in town so we walked to Craig's Hotel for high tea and had a grand time in the Ballarat Art Gallery which is in the same street. All on foot with no car to have to park and no traffic to worry about.

V-Line takes you to so many places you'd be surprised. You could stop off and spend a few hours at Woodend on the Bendigo line or head off to Shepparton, Echuca or Swan Hill for a few days. There is a great list here of places to go and things to do.

For a full list of places and timetables click here.

Tips for Country Train Travel

Come prepared. Download some podcasts on areas you are interested in. Go to the library and borrow that book you have been meaning to read.

Variety is the spice of making the journey interesting.

It's worth taking your own food and snacks such as fruit and nuts. They actually had a really healthy spinach and pumpkin wrap at the snack bar but mostly it was stuff you are better off not eating.

Not to bad for railway food

Cold water is supplied at the end of each carriage so bring a drink bottle.

Surprisingly the snack bars coffee wasn't too bad.

Seniors get one free return trip to country Victoria each year. Most people don't think to use it. They should. For more information click here.

Plan ahead for some great outings in country Victoria
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