Train trips around the world

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‘THE GHAN’ – Named after the Afghan cameleers who blazed the trail across one of the most dauntingly inhospitable deserts in the world, The Ghan is the stuff of genuine Outback legend. The journey from Adelaide to Darwin provided time for me to come to terms with the incredible immensity of this island continent as the landscape changed from the dust-hazed ochres of the Red Centre to the rioting lushness of the Northern Territory’s ‘Top End’.

The best hikes around the world

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A multi-day hike is for many people the highlight of their visit to a particular country. It offers a chance to slow down, soak up the scenery and in most cases get to know at close quarters a little of the local culture and cuisine. So where are the world’s best hikes? Here are six strong candidates among the many that lay claim to this title:

Where’s the most disappointing place you’ve ever been to?

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David Whitley looks at the places he’s most willing to launch into a diatribe about, and questions whether he’s really being fair.

 

Doing what it says on the tin is something of a curse for tourist attractions. It’s a natural human reaction to talk up our own discoveries – we’re always more likely to want to talk about the places that aren’t stonkingly obvious rather than rave about the same spots that everyone else bangs on about. The surprises stick out in the anecdote bank; anything that’s great that you expected to be great before you got there manages to slip back into the pack.

In praise of the Gap Year

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Connotations

When I came back from my first round-the-world trip in 1990 I sat down to lunch with a pretty girl. I was shy. She asked me how my holiday went? Stuttering with incoherence, all I could whisper was it wasn’t a holiday, it was “travelling”. I suppose this was the forerunner of the “Gap Year”, but I’ve never been sold on the name "Gap Year". For starters most people don’t actually travel for a year. For most it’s 4-8 months. Secondly a Gap from what? Life? Thirdly there’s the Gap Yah thing. Yes you’ll meet yah’s on your trip. But also plenty of plumbers, dentists, students, and those who have no idea what they’re going to do next. It's a journey. And in my book it's good to meet other folk from other backgrounds.

Last chance to see endangered wildlife around the world

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The Bali tiger and the Tasmanian wolf has gone the way of the dodo. The mountain gorillas, Sumatran rhino and Bengal tiger are not be far behind and unless we, as travellers, are all prepared to take a responsibility in their welfare many more will follow.