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Along with most other Australians, I have childhood memories of the great Aussie road trip. For our Western Australian family it was usually a drive to a holiday house in Augusta, past Margaret River in the state's southwest.
Despite the leafy scenery on the way, I don't remember those drives being that much fun – with summer heat sticking us to the vinyl car seats, ABBA playing on the cassette player, and we kids driving each other mad with endless games of 'I Spy' (in which 'C' would inevitably stand for the vivid orange-yellow Christmas Trees spotted in WA in summer, actually a parasitic growth related to mistletoe).
Now in 2022, with spiralling petrol prices, the great Aussie road trip is said to be endangered. To which I say, "So what?" You can have more fun travelling by train at a set fare, and help cut your carbon emissions at the same time. Here are some affordable Aussie train trips to replace those treks from the city by car…
Have a seaside holiday in WarrnamboolFrom Melbourne there's a non-automotive way to reach a beachside destination beyond the Great Ocean Road. Each day three r four trains head from the Victorian capital to Warrnambool, taking three-and-a-half hours to reach the coastal city via Geelong. Heading north of the Great Otway National Park past green farming country and lakes, the train is a comfortable way to travel with a choice of first and second class seating, and onboard catering. Warrnambool is a big enough town to have a cinema, good dining and a range of shopping, and its extensive beachfront is easily accessible from the city centre by local bus or taxi, or on foot. See vline.com.au, visitwarrnambool.com.au
Visit Phillip Island by rail and sail
Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island Photo: Visit Victoria
People usually reach the popular holiday destination of Phillip Island by driving the long way round via the bridge from San Remo. A more direct alternative is to catch suburban trains from Melbourne via Frankston to Stony Point on the Mornington Peninsula, from where you can take a ferry to Cowes at Phillip Island.
As the ferry also stops at French Island on the way, you might like to consider a tour of that relatively unvisited island via the four-wheel drive vehicle of Naturaliste Tours (see naturalistetours.com.au). To get around on Phillip Island itself, you can hire an e-bike, use taxis, or join a local tour.
This article first appeared on www.traveller.com.au
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