Train travel is fun for kids and makes for a great holiday in Australia and around the world. Whether it’s a single journey, an extended multi-country trip using a rail pass or a luxury theme route like the Orient Express, train travel is an experience that the whole family won’t quickly forget.
Europe is famous for its extensive train network, but there are also great options for traveling by rail in the US, Canada, Japan and Australia.
Whether you have a Thomas the Tank Engine fan or older kids, they will love train travel.
You can walk around, there is always something to see out the window – in daylight, of course – and kids can draw and play board games or cards at the tables. Then there’s the excitement of going to the on-board cafeteria. Some trains even feature seatback video and entertainment facilities.
The other fascination for children is how the seats convert in sleeper cars on overnight trains. They are so cool that there certainly won’t be a problem getting the kids to bed
Rail around Europe
Travelling by train is one of the most enjoyable ways to explore the many diverse and exciting countries of Europe. Eurail offers a range of passes that make it easy, fun and flexible to organise an itinerary to meet your family’s needs.
The classic Eurail pass permits travel in all 18 participating countries for either a continuous period or a selected number of travel days and is perfect for discovering as much of Europe as possible.
For those wishing to visit three, four or five countries, the Eurail Selectpass is the perfect choice, enabling families to tailor-make their own pass, choosing from a selection of 22 countries and available for either five, six, eight or 10 travel days within a two-month period (15 days are also available for the five-country pass).
Travellers planning to visit one or two countries only can purchase one of the newly introduced National Passes, offering single-country travel, or a Regional Pass, available for a variety of two-country combinations.
Eurail special reductions make the trip more affordable, too. Saver passes can be purchased for groups of two to five people travelling together, offering an average discount of 15% off the regular price. In addition, children between the ages of four and 11 travel for half price and those under four years of age travel for free (unless a reservation for a separate seat or bed is required).
Train across Australia
There is no better way to explore the interior of Australia than on two of the world’s best rail journeys – The Ghan and the Indian Pacific.
The Ghan travels 2,979km from Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Springs, with connections from Sydney on the Indian Pacific. The trip takes two nights, and the kids will be mesmerised by the amazing scenery as it glides by the big, panoramic windows. The change in scenery as the train heads from the city into the ochre interior is dramatic. Then there’s the excitement of exploring Alice Springs, taking an off-train tour at Katherine or, from Darwin, visiting Kakadu.
The Indian Pacific runs between Sydney and Perth, with the three-night trip covering 4,352km from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean. There are so many highlights, but the trip across the Nullarbor Plain, at 478km, is the longest straight stretch of railway track in the world. Watch out, and you might see wedgetail eagles sitting on some of the posts dotted along the track, or camels in the distance.
There are three levels of accommodation on the trains: Gold Kangaroo class featuring sleeper cabins with ensuite shower and toilet; Red Kangaroo sleeper cabins; and Red Kangaroo Daynighter seats.