G’ Day! This is the typical Australian greeting (Good Day) and the other word you will hear is “mate.” For example, here is a bloke (man) in a convenience store.
“G’Day, one package of crisps (potato chips) please. Thanks, mate.”
This is our fourth visit to the “Land Down Under,” and it’s like coming home. We love Europe with its medieval castle, various customs and languages, but Australia is truly unique! It has 10 of the 16 most deadly snakes and animals, flowers and birds that can be found nowhere else in the world. The countryside is a beautiful tapestry of colours and sounds. It’s vastness makes a person feel like an explorer. We are house/pet-sitting again. This blog is about our train ride from Sydney to Armidale. paula.
Train: Sydney to Armidale, NSW
Australia is a big country and postcards show that many European countries can fit within it.
If you follow the coast north from Sydney to Coffs Harbour and go inland, you will see Armidale our house sitting destination.
We hopped on the New England train in Sydney and settled down to an eight-hour journey. In this day of electronics, hours can be whisked away on the internet, audio-story listening, reading or watching the countryside. We did a bit of all these things, including walking through to the dining car.
New England: A NSW Region
Indigenous Australians have lived for thousands of years in Australia. Some historians place them as far back as 60,000 years. The Kamilaroi people lived in this highland region along with other tribes Ngarrabi and Marabal. Trish and I are hoping to drop into the Aboriginal Centre here in Armidale.
Travel anywhere in Australia and you will be greeted with towns and signs that reflect the English, Scottish and Irish ancestry. Englishman – John Oxley was the first explorer around 1818. He was followed by other explorers. Later, land grants gave pioneers a chance to struggle, survive and prosper. Captain Thunderbolt was a thorn in the side during the 1860s. This bushranger robbed properties, mail coaches and hotel. It was a Constable Walker that shot him dead in May 1870 near Uralla (not far from where we are staying in Armidale).
Trish shot these photos of mining from the train. Gold was discovered in 1851 near settlements with charming names like Hanging Rock and Swamp Creek. Arsenic, asbestos, coal, sapphires and tin are still mined. It was copper, however, that was the largest mined product around the 1900s.
The views from the train were so peaceful as we gently glided through lush green pastoral land. The New England lies in the temperate zone, and the climate is generally free from extremes of heat and cold. This is an area that produces Australia’s finest wool and beef cattle. The western slopes of the land provide dairy products, fruit, potatoes and timber.
Armidale: Our Housesitting Location
This city has a population of approximately 24,000. It is home to the University of New England. It has spectacular scenery of gorges, forests and pastoral country. It is a remarkable coincidence that in 2012, Trish and I travelled with an old van and camped in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. This is within easy driving distance from Armidale. One funny memory from Oxley NP was hearing a Dutch girl scream as a Kookaburra swooped down and took away her steak.
Glorious Nature and Old Stations
We paid only $32 CAN each to travel these 8 hours. If you are thinking of visiting Australia, keep railway travel in mind.
However, some places are not covered by rail. For example, next week we need to travel from Armidale to Brisbane and a 6 hour bus ride or car rental are the only options (oh, and there is flying, but we carry too much luggage, LOL).