Melbourne and Adelaide by Rail

Stories, adventures, tips and questions concerning expat life in Australia
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rod
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Melbourne and Adelaide by Rail

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Lucy and I traditionally do something extra special for five-year-multiple anniversaries, and we had #25 on August 18 of this year. We had not yet seen anything beyond the East coast of Australia and decided to take a train trip to Melbourne and Adelaide. We booked first class from Sawtell to Sydney, connecting to an overnight train to Melbourne with a sleeper car. The plan was to spend three days in Melbourne, then take another train to Adelaide and spend three days there, and then fly home.

It didn't begin well. Two days before departure we received a text message from NSW Trainlink indicating that our first train was undergoing maintenance and would be replaced by bus service to Sydney.

That sounded like pure hell and was not at all what we signed up for. So I called and changed to a later train that day. The original plan would give us a 4-hour connection in Sydney with time for dinner there; now we have only 30 minutes to connect with no guarantee, but the agent said that the train seldom runs late enough to miss it.

Our wonderful neighbour Susan gave us a ride to the Sawtell train station (actually an unstaffed platform), and my feeling of smugness about my scheduling decision darkened a bit on seeing that the train was running 15 minutes late. And became darker still when we finally boarded with it 45 minutes late. But the nice lady at the other end of the platform's speakerphone assured us that the train would make up time en route, and our connection would not leave without us.

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Leaving Sawtell with reading material!

Continued....

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rod
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Change of Plans

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As our ride to Sydney dragged on it became obvious that we were not making up time.

Armed with a backup battery for the cell phone, I called the NSW train service and confirmed that we would indeed miss the connection, and rescheduled for a day train the next morning. Then with some web searching on the little screen I located a reasonable hotel within short walk of the Sydney train station and booked it. Finally I notified our Airbnb host in Melbourne to let them know we'd arrive in the evening instead of the morning.

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We arrived at Sydney Central Station a bit before 9:30 pm.

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Sydney Central Station is a big place! We asked someone to figure out which exit to take and then schlepped our bags to the hotel. We had just enough time to fall into bed, get a decent night's sleep and then pack up, check out and catch the morning train to Melbourne. It was disappointing to miss the experience of sleeping on a train, and to miss a precious day of exploring Melbourne.

On a positive note, a daylight ride to Melbourne meant enjoying the scenery! Especially impressive were the large expanses of yellow canola fields.

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rod
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Photos from Melbourne

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Our Airbnb in Melbourne was great, with nice touches and -- surprise! -- a Starbucks at street level. Lucy is a huge Starbucks fan.

On our first full day there, a Sunday, Lucy attended a Lutheran church service and we then explored some of the city and took in a live musical, Come from Away.

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Our Airbnb apartment overlooked the historic Town Hall.

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The Yarra River runs through the city.

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We took in a musical play, Come From Away.

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rod
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The Great Ocean Road

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Our second and last full day, Monday, in Melbourne was not in Melbourne at all. It was an all-day bus tour of the Great Ocean Road which is on the Southern coast West of Melbourne.

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One stop was remarkable for its tame outdoor birds.

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These rocks are called the Twelve Apostles, though there are not that many of them.

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rod
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The Overland to Adelaide

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Our stay in Melbourne was too short. The next day we took the Great Southern Railway's Overland train to Adelaide. This is a bit more upscale from the NSW train, with fewer stops.

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That evening we arrived in Adelaide and took Uber to our Airbnb 6th floor apartment. It has a nice view of the city. The park below is called Light Square.

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Adelaide

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In Adelaide we spent time in the huge Rundle Mall where I bought some clothes...

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And explored the Botanical Gardens...

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And the National Wine Centre...

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Saw various historic buildings...

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We bought Miz Lucy some bling...

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And had a nice anniversary dinner.

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After three days of fun we flew back home.

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Testing a Photosphere

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Here's a "360 photo" from the Yarra River in Melbourne. Drag it around to see the whole thing!

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Re: Melbourne and Adelaide by Rail

Post by rod »

For what it's worth here is a nice article about things to do in Melbourne.

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