Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Waking to a Golden Past; Journey Takes Andrew Mevissen Back in Time

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Waking to a Golden Past; Journey Takes Andrew Mevissen Back in Time

Article excerpt

SEATS that convert to beds are common on international flights but donCOt forget you can travel flat out in beds to Sydney and Melbourne.

Not in planes but in the sleeper cabins of CountrylinkCOs overnight XPT trains to the southern capitals.

And while flying is certainly quicker, thereCOs no more relaxing way to travel between Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne than in a rail sleeper.

My 12-year-old daughter and I love trains so, as sheCOd been studying Australian history at school, I decided to organise a father-and-daughter weekend to Ballarat in Victoria to visit the gold rush theme park, Sovereign Hill. And instead of flying, we would train it from Sydney to Melbourne in an overnight sleeper cabin Co just for fun.

While flying today has become a hectic but ho-hum commuter experience, travelling overnight by train, tucked up in bed, is exciting and effortless. CountrylinkCOs XPT sleeper cabins offer two beds in a bunk format with a shower/toilet between each cabin, with sleeper cabin passengers receiving free toiletry kits, snacks and breakfast as well as linen and towels Co just like in business class up in the air. A buffet car is a short walk away. Showering on a train is fun, as is watching the countryside roll by at dusk as you stretch out in your cosy bed. And the gentle sway of the train lulls you to sleep.

We woke next morning in a different state, spotting a kangaroo as we ate our complimentary breakfast in our cabin as we neared MelbourneCOs Southern Cross Station, arriving fresh and eager for adventure. Walking across a few platforms put us on a 90-minute V/Line train from Melbourne to Ballarat where a 10-minute transfer by road brought us to one of AustraliaCOs most awarded and successful attractions, Sovereign Hill, where we suddenly stepped back in time to the gold rush of the 1850s.

Sovereign Hill is an enthralling, open-air museum which faithfully replicates the Ballarat goldfields as they were 160 years ago. …

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