Ready to roll? From Asia to America and beyond – as well as rail journeys closer to home – these are ten of the world’s most memorable train trips.

New Zealand: The TranzAlpine

Soak up some of the South Island’s most mesmerising scenery aboard New Zealand’s most famous train, the TranzAlpine. This five-hour, 220-kilometre rail trip between Christchurch and Greymouth takes you across the fertile Canterbury plain and the spine of the Southern Alps. Beech forests, snow-fed rivers and soaring peaks are all part of the scenery. Head to the outdoor viewing car to take your photos. 

We love: The separate baggage carriage – no suitcases to trip over – and the commentary on the audio guide. 

While you’re here: Greymouth makes a great base for exploring the best of the west coast, including Franz Josef Glacier, Lake Brunner and the Pancake Rocks.

Price: From NZ$179 ($163) per person.

See: greatjourneysofnz.co.nz

Japan: Seven Stars in Kyushu

The Seven Stars in Kyushu was Japan’s first luxury sleeper train and it remains one of the best ways to explore the highlights of the country’s third-largest island, from hot springs and volcanoes to traditional mountain villages. Choose between two-day and four-day round-trip itineraries. 

We love: Traditional artisans created many of the furnishings and fittings, from hand-shaped ceramics to intricate woodwork screens.

While you’re here: The main city of Fukuoka is known for its eye-catching buildings by renowned architects such as Rem Koolhaas and Cesar Pelli. 

Price: From ¥650,000 ($6905) per cabin.

See: www.cruisetrain-sevenstars.jp/english

Australia: The Ghan

Looking for an outback immersion that still offers plenty of creature comforts? The three-day trip from Adelaide to Darwin (or vice versa) aboard The Ghan is hard to beat. Memorable off-train excursions include a boat tour of the spectacular Nitmiluk Gorge and camel trekking in Alice Springs. 

We love: The menus include sophisticated bush tucker options such as crocodile tail fillet and buffalo curry.

While you’re here: A day trip from Darwin to the Tiwi Islands offers fascinating insights into Torres Strait Islander culture.

Price: From $2225 per person.

See: journeybeyondrail.com.au

Peru: Andean Explorer

Incredible history, spectacular nature: even if you opt for the one-night journey, the Belmond Andean Explorer will take you from the former Incan capital of Cusco, high in the Andes, to Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

We love: Travelling at altitude can affect some people, but oxygen tanks and masks are available.

While you’re there: There is an option to extend your journey by a day to visit Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world. 

Price: From US$2100 ($3005) per cabin.

See: belmond.com

India: Deccan Odyssey

Inspired by the opulent lifestyle of the maharajas, the Deccan Odyssey offers six different itineraries, all either departing from or arriving in Mumbai. The Maharashtra Splendor stops at the magnificent Ajanta and Ellora Caves as well as Goa; the Indian Sojourn takes in Jaipur, Udaipur and the Taj Mahal. 

We love: Dial up the pampering in the train’s spa car. 

While you’re here: The opportunity to depart from or arrive at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, one of the world’s great railway stations, is an added bonus.

Price: From US$7320 ($10,475) per cabin.

See: deccan-odyssey-india.com 

Australia: The Indian Pacific

Crossing the entire continent from Sydney to Perth (or vice versa), the Indian Pacific experience rolls along the longest straight stretch of railway track in the world – 478 kilometres, in case you were wondering. Leave the world behind as you traverse the endless plains and deserts of the interior, punctuated by gold mines and ghost towns.

We love: Drinks and canapes served beside the train under a star-studded desert sky are a highlight. 

While you’re there: From its beaches to its street art, its booming small bars and its new Elizabeth Quay precinct, Perth is buzzing. 

Price: From $2065 per person.

See: journeybeyondrail.com.au

Namibia: Rovos Rail

If you have a taste for the epic, Rovos Rail’s Namibia Safari, stretching for nine nights and 3400 kilometres between Pretoria in South Africa and Walvis Bay, delivers in spades. From the mighty Fish River Canyon to the imposing dunes at Sossusvlei and the wildlife of Etosha National Park, the highlights keep coming.                                                                                  

We love: It is hard to decide which is more compelling: the awe-inspiring landscapes or the wildlife spotting.

While you’re there: Take a kayak tour at Walvis Bay and you may encounter seals and dolphins.

Price: From R116,000 ($10,365) per person.

See: rovos.com

Scotland: Royal Scotsman

Think of it as a country house on wheels. The Royal Scotsman takes 24 guests at a time in its mahogany-clad cars on an exploration of the Scottish Highlands. Itineraries feature visits to country estates and distilleries, and perhaps even a game of golf.

We love: Wild swimming in a chilly loch – with hot drinks on hand to warm up afterwards – is our idea of a great excursion.

While you’re there: From the medieval tenements abutting the Royal Mile to the Georgian elegance of the New Town, Edinburgh is one of Britain’s most beautiful cities.

Prices from: GBP4000 per passenger.

See: belmond.com

Australia: Great Southern

Australia’s newest long-distance rail journey showcases the diversity of this country on its route between Adelaide and Brisbane. Stops on the three-day northbound journey include Coffs Harbour and Canberra, while the four-day southbound trip stops at the Hunter Valley and Melbourne.

We love: A range of holiday packages allows you to plan a longer trip around your Great Southern experience.

While you’re there: Adelaide’s rich calendar of festivals and its plentiful day-tripping options make for a busy stay.

Price: From $2235 per person.

See: journeybeyondrail.com.au

USA: Rocky Mountaineer

More than two million people have been thrilled to ride the Rocky Mountaineer’s scenic Canadian itineraries; now the company has launched its first route in the USA. The two-day Rockies to the Red Rocks itinerary between Denver in Colorado and Moab in Utah is a chance to drink in some of the country’s most dramatic scenery. 

We love: The glass-dome coaches allow you to fully immerse yourself in the soaring scenery.

While you’re there: From Moab, it’s an easy journey to magnificent national parks such as Arches National Park and Zion National Park.

Price: From $2050 per person.

See: rockymountaineer.com

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