Category Archives: OnDestination

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Byron Bay Lighthouse

OnDestination: Byron Bay – Australia’s most Easterly Point

A #justforfun daytrip isn’t complete without an early morning wake up, a trip to the airport and flight to somewhere I haven’t been before. As winter is coming, I chose to escape the fast approaching cool Melbourne day, for a warmer day in Byron Bay. In typical fashion (for me anyway) I only had a short amount of time to arrive, see as much as I could, then return for my afternoon flight home. This time that was a generous 5 hours. Unlike my normal day trips, where I pretty much have nothing planned, today had a sense of purpose about it, as I wanted to go to the eastern edge of Australia.

Securing a car was easy on arrival, so with transport for the day sorted, I approached the friendly tourist information desk for some advice on the best way to see the edge of Australia. Their advice was simple yet useful; drive to Byron, avoid the lighthouse car park as they’ll charge you $7, find a smaller beach nearby, park there, and then take a scenic hike to the point instead. They offered directions to Byron Bay itself which I declined, presuming it would be well sign posted as it’s a major icon along the east coast travel plans of many people who visit Australia. This was, in hindsight, an error.

Byron Bay

Driving out of the airport I decided to follow where the majority of cars were heading, as the signage wasn’t that great… a few U turns later and it felt like I was heading in the right direction. I was actually heading along the freeway towards Tweed Heads, but eventually found an exit that felt right, so took it and luckily enough it ended up in Byron Bay. My detour from the normal approach, exiting the freeway at the Banaglow exit, was rather scenic once you got off the freeway and drove along the narrow windy road into Byron. The trip home was much easier to follow along the coast which is probably the main road in from Ballina.

Arriving into town I drove down the main street as quickly as one can before heading out to find a small beach to make a hike up to Cape Byron. The visitor information centre suggested Wategos Beach because of its free parking, however the transient backpacker population also found this a popular spot to relax for the morning, dry some washing or just sit back with a cup of tea and look out over the beautiful beach. Thus, I backtracked to The Pass where ample paid parking was available. A quick chat with the surprisingly friendly ticket inspector to work out how long the walk would take, a $12 purchase of the relevant parking ticket, and I was set for my walk to the cape.

Byron Bay

Although costing me more than the parking at the lighthouse itself, it gave me a longer walk, more scenic views (especially of Wategos beach) and a bit more time to explore. Given I’ve been lazy with my exercise regime lately it was also a bit of a wake up call as I gasped for breath during each uphill section of the walk (something that would previously have never bothered me). Fortunately the track is also frequented by those who haven’t been lax with their exercise programs, as they fulfill their weekend run obligations, sometimes sans shirts; which provided more scenery and a tad more motivation to keep on walking.

Byron Bay

The walk through the nature reserve is really beautiful and the amount of wildlife that you can see here was surprising given how close it is to the township. I saw a wallaby, wild turkeys, dolphins, stingray, eagles and more all from the walking track and all within just a few hours. It pretty much captures a large amount of the iconic images of Australia within the reserve; nature, animals, beaches, untouched beauty and the occasional “bronzed Aussie surfer”. There is a sign marking the most easterly point of Australia, which is where I filmed this quick video blog and many tourists posed for an obligatory photo at the edge of Australia.

The lighthouse itself is beautiful to look at and has been lighting up the point for over 100 years. I wasn’t able to climb it as the tours were fully subscribed for the day so instead grabbed a quick hot drink at the café beneath, which provided the energy for the walk back to the car, following the same path but getting the reverse view.

Byron Bay Lighthouse

Byron Bay Lighthouse

I was drawn to Byron Bay because I wanted to have been to the most easterly point in Australia. In retrospect, the natural beauty that surrounds this point is probably replicated at many other points along the coast, but because this one has a title (the most easterly point) it attracted me, presumably, like many other tourists, because of the sense of achievement that it brings; I’ve seen the biggest this, tallest that, furthest, longest, widest, fastest, slowest; the list goes on.

Byron Bay Cape Byron

Whatever your motivation, I’d definitely recommend visiting Cape Byron as the natural beauty and opportunity for wildlife viewing is spectacular, regardless of where it happens to be placed according to a compass and a map.

Byron Bay Ocean

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OnDestination: Mildura on the Murray

As a child growing up the only reason I knew Mildura existed was because it was always on the 7pm ABC news weather report as a dot in the top left hand corner of the state and more often than not recorded the highest temperature for the day. Fast forward several years and I saw Mildura as a destination that I always noticed in airline sales, with sub $100 airfares often available. Skip ahead to Christmas and I find myself flying into the regional centre to celebrate Christmas with my boyfriend’s family and exploring this region that I’ve never really considered to be a place that people would travel to. With little knowledge, it was the perfect opportunity to do some #justforfun exploring of a new and unlikely destination.

Canoe Murray

So, other than family events, what is there to do in this town that’s closer to Adelaide than it is to Melbourne and sits on the Murray River defending Victoria against invaders from New South Wales? To be upfront, if you’re looking for high paced, action packed adventures seeing major events or attractions that claim to be “World Famous”, then Mildura isn’t the place for you; keep watching how hot it gets on the 7pm news while you plan for another destination. However if something a little quieter, a little slower, perhaps relaxing and definitely a tad country is up your alley, then this inland town might just be worth considering.

Carl Mildura Vines

Mildura, established by two Canadian brothers, George and William Chaffey in 1886 is said to have a Californian feel about it due to the brothers spending a significant amount of time developing irrigated colonies in California in the mid 1800’s. Flying into the city you get somewhat a feel for this with the green vines and citrus orchards contrasting against the hot dry soil, however once you get on the ground, other than the streets being named by number (e.g. 15th Street) and the overabundance of palm trees lining some avenues its clear the modern age has removed much of this cities link to California.

Mildura Vines

I’m not sure what the affinity is with California and wine given Australian wine is much nicer, but as Mildura is influenced by the Californian wine history, there are a variety of wineries in the region that you can visit if that’s your thing. A drive around the area will inevitably involve passing either a citrus orchard or some vines of one variety or another. At dusk and dawn sun provides great colours across the region and you’re likely to spot wild kangaroo’s hopping through the row of vines which is worth pulling over for and taking a few photos of if you want an authentic Aussie photo.

Kangaroo Sunset

I’m not much of a drinker so didn’t visit any of the wineries however locals told me that a trip to Mildura isn’t complete unless you eat (or drink) at Mildura Brewery (@MilduraBrewery). The Brewery is located in the centre of town near the mall and as the name suggests includes a working brewery which you can view at the back of the restaurant while tasting their local productions over dinner or lunch. We stopped in for lunch, and although the food wasn’t exactly first class, it did the job (although don’t order the half size parma – its tiny!).


As with most country towns across Australia, you’ll find pockets of local history everywhere you go, be it original buildings that line the streets or the generally older communities that populate these towns with knowledge of everyone and everything that happens with 100km. Within Mildura itself there are plenty of historic sites to see that won’t take up too much of your time, depending on the level of detail you want to go into when visiting. I found the Rio Vista House an interesting and educational snapshot of the history of the region even, while the nearby Mildura homestead unfortunately lacked purpose or structure and was in dire need of some direction.

Water, Irrigation and the Murray River are essentially what this town’s history flows from so you’ll find most of the historic attractions not too far from the river that, prior to the airplane and train, was the primary transportation route in and out of the town. Driving downstream along the river to Wentworth you’ll find the old gaol and a historic museum each of which try and document the history and importance of the river in the earlier years in the region.

Wentworth Goal

A trip to Mildura isn’t complete without experiencing the original form of transport along the river by Paddle Steamer. Although not as big or glamorous as Mississippi paddle steamers are portrayed, the Murray steamers were a vital part in the wool supply line along the river. Mildura is home to lock 11 (which unfortunately was damaged just prior to my visit) which, as part of a series of locks along the river, ensures the river was passable by paddle steamer fleets back in the day.

Murray River Paddle Steamer

In the current age of just in time delivery where something can be sent from the other side of the world and arrive within a day or 2, taking a two hour cruise upstream on the PS Melbourne made me wonder how anything ever used to get anywhere. These boats are very slow! Although somewhat relaxing sitting by and watching the river pass, the banks all looked relatively similar and the commentary tapered off pretty quickly after leaving Mildura township. My decision to take a steam powered paddle steamer for a spin on a 41 degree day also wasn’t really thought out that well; however I think I may have lost a kilogram in water as we sweated it out.

Paddlesteamer Engine

In all seriousness, had the lock been working it probably would have been a more interesting cruise and something I would still recommend to do, however perhaps don’t do it on a stinking hot day, especially when people keep opening the windows to let the hot breeze into the semi air-conditioned cabin! On arrival back into Mildura we were greeted with a brief dust storm that turned the sky grey as the dust from the surrounding hot and dry districts blasted through the regional centre.


Reflecting on my opening statement about how I knew Mildura existed I can confirm that my childhood thoughts were correct. Mildura is a hot place to visit, so if you’re not a fan of post 40 degree days, then summer perhaps is not the best time for you to visit. However there is a lot of history in the region and part of understanding that history is feeling how hot it gets, and how hard it must have been to get anything done here way back before air-conditioning was the norm.


The attractions are definitely geared to the older generations and a slower lifestyle, however I really enjoyed our drive up the Murray to Wentworth and exploring Rio Vista house so the region could still appeal to a younger crowd. I’ll add attraction specific reviews later, but for now, thats my summary of a week on the Murray in the hot town of Mildura.

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Hong Kong City View

OnDestination: The Peak @ Hong Kong

After arranging a longer than usual stopover in the vibrant city of Hong Kong I decided to get another stamp in the passport and check out the city despite the amazing quality of the Cathay Pacific lounges which I could have easily relaxed in. The train from the Airport to the city was a comfortable ride and got me into Hong Kong station in under 30mins, ready to do some exploring.

Peace on the Bus to the Peak Hong Kong

I had done some research before my trip to work out the best way to get a view of the city, with the most popular option being the cable tram ride to the SkyDeck of “The Peak”. A bus was recommended as my link between the train and the Peak, however I was slightly disappointed after waiting for about an hour for the said bus to discover the journey only took a few minutes. Note for future, just walk there; you’ll sweat just as much as on the bus!

The Peak Hong Kong Ticket

Arriving at the base tram station for the Peak you join the queue for tickets then the tram itself, which is cable driven and pulls you up the mountain at a rather uncomfortable angle. If you want the best views, on the way up, sit on the right hand side and on the way down, the left (in the direction of travel). If, like me the height is starting to get to you and all you can think of is the cable snapping and you plummeting down the tracks, some sections of which are at a 27degree angle, then do the reverse of that and you’ll get a great view of a solid wall (with a fair bit of over/undergrowth).

The Peak Hong Kong Tram

The Peak Hong Kong Boarding

Despite my doomsday worries of the cable snapping, or the mountainside falling off, we safely arrived at the top after about an 8-minute ride. Considering trams have been climbing the 552m since the late 1890’s its not unsurprising that the journey was safe. Once at the top (or better still, before you board the tram) make sure you have a ticket that includes entry to the SkyTerrace. The terrace (basically an open air viewing deck) offers what it claims to be the only 360-degree views of Hong Kong. During my visit the weather was pretty good, so I was able to get a nice view of the skyscraper jungle that is Hong Kong, the harbor and across to Kowloon. They also had a love theme on the deck where you could send your love from the Peak (not sure if that’s still there now).

Love Heart at the Peak Hong Kong

SkyDeck at the Peak Hong Kong

There is an older lookout a short walk down the peak from the tram station that offers a similar, albeit not 360degree view for free. If you’ve come all the way up here, I wouldn’t skimp out on the Terrace views, but looking at it from two angles is always fun (and you can get a good photo of the SkyTerrace from the freebie viewing area). Once you’ve done looking at the view, there is a range of restaurants that definitely cater to the tourist and a fair few souvenir shops to pick up a quick tacky gift.

Hong Kong City View

Free Deck at the Peak Hong Kong

The ride down the peak is the same as the ride up, only backwards and, this time for me, occupied with about 90 school kids making as much noise as possible. The 8minute ride from top to bottom felt a little longer with all the noise, but fortunately I managed to score a seat on the left side this time providing a better view as we descended back down to Hong Kong.

SkyTerrace at the Peak Hong Kong

Arriving back at ground level I spent the rest of the day wandering the streets and exploring this great city with a better appreciation of the size, and 21st century beauty that this city has to offer.

Quick Facts
When: 7am – Midnight daily
Where: Walk from Central MTR station, Short bus ride from the Pier 8, or a walk from the Hong Kong Airport Express station
How Much: Peak tram and Skydeck HK$75
How Good: 3.5/5

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OnDestination: Utrecht’s Dom Tower Climb

As I climbed the 465 mostly stone steps to the top of the Dom Tower in Utrecht, my mind boggled at the thought that these stairs have been climbed and used to watch over Utrecht for over six hundred and thirty years! Despite surviving for three times longer than my home country has been colonised by westerners, as I took each step higher my vertigo kicked in a little more as I wondered how well the 14thcentury construction had faired over the centuries.

Dom Tower

The ‘Dom Climb’ commences from the tourist information office just across the street where our guide meets us, unlocks the door and welcomes us into the tower. The tight stone staircase winds up the tower with a few stops along the way to enter the towers various rooms. The most impressive room is the bell room where fourteen massive bells with a massive weight of 32,000kg hang ready to cast sounds down across the medieval city of Utrecht below.  Despite not being able to see the ground below, the thought of all that weight being supported by a stack of stones laid hundreds of years ago and a several massive timber beams got my vertigo on edge. In this room particularly I carefully kept to the largest beams to ensure my weight didn’t push the beams past their limit while wondering how they got these heavy bells up here so many centuries ago.

Dom Tower Bells

Giant candelabra’s that hang within the tours rooms emphasise the medieval age of the building and take you back to a time where life was much different to what it is today. Standing within the room you almost feel like you have stumbled into an episode of Game of Thrones, although unlike Game of Thrones, and fortunately for us, during our visit no-one was beheaded.


Climbing to the top of the tower and into the open viewing deck 90m above the ground can, on a good day, provide views to Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Unfortunately the weather was definitely uncooperative with my visit to Utrecht, with the city shrouded in low cloud and drizzle, but the view from this church tower across this medieval city is still impressive.  After a few laps of the damp viewing deck my vertigo subsided and I gained the confidence to let go of the railings and film a short blog video for those who prefer seeing rather than reading about my travels.


A common question that was asked during the tour was how can the Dom Tower claim to be the highest church tower in the Netherlands when it’s not actually connected to a church? The answer to this lies, once again, a few more than a few hundred years ago. The cathedral was never actually finished, with the naïve that connected the choir to the tower partially constructed and then destroyed in a tornado in 1674. The ruin of the naïve remained for 150 years or so before finally being removed leaving the Dom tower isolated from the cathedral that it belongs to.


The isolated stance of the tower is quite impressive and definitely a must see attraction when visiting the beautiful city of Utrecht. At 112m the tower can be seen across the city, and definitely is an iconic focal point that is tastefully maintained so that tourists like me can come and be amazed that something so old can still be standing.


@CarlousMoochous travelled to Utrecht as a guest of Tourism Utrecht. Many thanks go to Tourism Utrecht and our informative guide who shared the history of this beautiful tower.


Quick Facts
When:  Each tour takes about an hour and is provided in both Dutch and English.
Where: Departs from the Tourist Information Office in Utrecht. Look for the tower – you can’t miss it. Bookings are recommended.
How Much: €9
Who: @DomtorenNL
How Good: 4 / 5 (Definitely worth a visit if in Utrecht)

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Rotorua Geysers

OnDestination: Rotorua’s Te Puia Geyser Park

The vast majority of my blog contains airport and flight reviews, so, I thought to give you some idea of what I do, and thus what you might want to do after one of these flights, I’m branching out just a little and writing some more OnDestination reviews about the places I visit. I’m somewhat reluctant to make this review the fresh start for that series as for the first time in a while its a less than favourable review of an attraction I visited this weekend while visiting Rotorua on the north island of New Zealand (yes I went to NZ for the weekend – I like to fly – moving on). I thought of saving it for later, but I think its only fair to be honest and upfront and not being all social media friendly and only writing about the good. So, here goes!

Rotorua is known for its geothermal activity, and if you follow any of the tourist buses that flock to this city from Auckland or speak to anyone at the tourist information office you’ll probably end up at Te Puia, or as we called it, the Geyser Park. Why do the buses come here and why do people recommend you end up here? Well it’s probably trying to satisfy the inner human curiosity and/or fascination of watching the earth fire water into the air in the same style as a fire hydrant that’s just been hit by a car does – either that or you’re interested in geothermal activity and all the geology and science behind that. However, most people just want to see something cool that doesn’t happen where you live. And that’s pretty much how we ended up here.

Rotorua Geysers

Arriving into Rotorua in the afternoon we checked out the local tourist office to ask for a map so we could find our hotel (how do people find places without GPS and Siri?) and before we knew it we had skipped the hotel, found a gaggle of tour busses (busses are like geese yeah?), parked the car and were standing outside the ticket booth, gasping at the cost of entry to see what the driver described above aims to avoid. At $47.50 a head (albeit NZ dollars) its not exactly loose change to get into this park and my mind was split as to whether watching hot water squirt out of the ground was really worth that kind of investment. The high price did however have some attracting element to it with part of my mind thinking, well if people are paying $47.5o to get it, then it must be good, right? (don’t judge – we’ve all paid for something crap before just because we thought it was good because it was expensive).

So, tickets paid for (which a 10% discount was given after we’d already agreed to pay – note to sales staff – discount before sale may have made sale easier!) we scanned our tickets at the high tech entry point and were ready to explore all the $47.50 (less 10%) park had to offer. With only 1:15hr before park closing time the ticket staff were worried we wouldn’t have time to see all the park had to offer and suggested the guided tour to make the most of our time which gave us about 15mins of free time before said tour began.

Rotorua Geysers

The lookout closest to the gate provided views of the main geysers which were erupting in what appeared to be full strength as we arrived. Working to nature’s clock only we decided to head straight to the geyser to get close to said eruption in case the geyser had performance anxiety during the scheduled tour. The map makes the park look quite large, however in reality ITS NOT!. The walk from the lookout to the geyser is complete in about the same time it takes to read this paragraph (while walking – watch that pole!). On arrival it is kinda cool and very much like a fire hydrant or hose squirting water into the air, only that this water is boiling and thus there is a heck of a lot of steam in the air and a fairly strong whiff of rotten egg gas in the mix as well. There’s a wooden footbridge across a creek where the hot water eventually falls and flows into and a few other tourists around taking photos within the steam. There are a few signs around telling you the name of the geyser and that hot water comes out of it on its own time schedule but other than that not much information so we rushed back to the gate to meet the guided tour to learn more about this cultural landmark and what it’s all about.

Rotorua Geysers

Meeting the guide who was ready to depart with a large group we were invited to join the “family” for the tour and as the geyser was still in eruption we were heading straight to the geyser where we would be given more information. So, 10mins into the park, we’d now been to the main attraction – the geysers, twice. On arrival at the Geyser the guide advised us that as long as we stayed on the bridge she would know where we were and wouldn’t leave anyone behind (I’m sorry, did we go somewhere where we were likely to be lost – we’d travelled for 2-3minutes max!) Anyway, cynicism aside we waited for more information on the geyser which was finally provided. In summary, that consisted of: “shoots out water between 95-98 degrees… its shoots when it wants… it’s not controllable by man.. and we’re off to the mud pools” and off we departed. Um excuse me? Information, Hello.. oh well… Mud pools must take up more time..

Rotorua Geysers

Arrival at mud pools a few minutes later (ok, maybe 1-2minutes)… “dirt.. hot water.. mud… cant build hotel that close again… always same temperature… off to the kiwi house”. Seriously – for a guided tour this tour wasn’t actually adding anything that wasn’t on the sign’s which provided painfully little information. The kiwi house (using your imagination to see the Kiwi’s in the dark) was the last straw in my tolerance for the tour and at that point we peeled off and decided to do some filming and check out the rest of the place solo as the tour was (to that point) adding no information, and especially not $47.50 worth of information.

Rotorua Geysers

The rest of the park contained cultural things like a collection of small huts (with no signage to explain what it was), a boat, an area for cultural performance (which granted we had missed for the day so that may have been interesting/worthwhile) and some wood carving and weaving schools. However, the main attraction of the park, the geyser was seriously oversold and under delivered. So, having taken photos around the park to add to this review I decided to film a quick video blog to give a quick rundown on the park (see video below).

I think overall the park had some potential to showcase these geysers and satisfy that inner curiosity of how the earth manages to do what we can only do if we crash our cars into fire hydrants however the execution and the price was really poor! My suggestion to travellers would have to be to give this attraction a miss. It’s simply not worth the entry fee! As I said in my blog – the hotel nearby might be a cheaper option to see the same sights.

Rotorua Geysers

Now to wrap up this OnDestination review in a positive way; did I enjoy myself?  Yes – I must admit I had a great time in the park. Do I regret going? No – but I really had to work for it and make my own fun. For me that was turning it into a video blog post and gathering information on how poorly the park showed off its attraction. Unfortunately for 99% of guests – writing a travel blog about how badly something is done isn’t going to satisfy them. So, if you find yourself forking over money to attractions that are quite simply overpriced and not meeting your expectations, try and make your own fun too. Whether that be making up your own stories as to why the water shoots out so irregularly or prematurely (naughty), or by pretending that you speak another language and interpreting everything into that language, make your own fun. You’ve already paid, you’re not getting that money back so you may as well enjoy something about the day – that’s what travel is all about!

carlous moochous video blog rotorua thermal geyser

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All Aboard! “The VIA Canadian”

The are plenty of great railroad journeys around the world that many aspire to complete, the trans Siberian, Indian pacific or Rocky Mountaineer all come to mind pretty easily. Most people associate these grand rail journeys with equally grand price tags and thus feel they are out of reach. But there are other ways to see some of these spectacular railroads without the price tag, at least in Canada.

After much umming and arring, and eventually a promo 50% off sale I decided to book a section of “the Canadian” between Vancouver and Edmonton. Operated by VIA Rail (Canada’s main rail operator) this train is different to the tourist train, The Rocky Mountaineer, as it’s primary function is moving people from A to B, in this trains case the epic 3 day journey from Vancouver to Toronto. Fortunately the views aren’t owned by the tourist train and thus my 26hour ish journey across the Rockies was still going to pack in some amazing scenery.

The main difference with VIA is that the train travels at night, meaning you do miss out in some scenery, however this balances out with the true train travel experience, sleeping (or at least trying to sleep) on a moving train. To make the most of that experience I forked out a little extra for a sleeper class, which wasn’t that much more than a coach seat yet offered private cabin and a bed. Arriving at the Pacific Central station in Vancouver about 2hrs before the 830pm departure was a tad early however provided ample to relax in the panorama saloon with outdoor heated patio overlooking the retro railway carriages I would soon be boarding.

There was an air of excitement as we all boarded our cars, found our cabins and explored the train. I met a lovely couple from Toronto who, after driving their son to Whistler for the winter were taking the train home. The had a double cabin which required an attendant to lower and set up the beds and were rather impressed with how easily my single cabin folded down into a cosy bed by turning one handle. Sleeper car passengers were invited for departure champagne in the rear park car, one of 2 split level trains offering panoramic dome views. Our retro train soon pulled ever so slowly out of the station and through the seemingly endless Vancouver rail yards before disappearing into the darkness.

The trains carriages have been recently refurbished however maintain the original art deco styling, making them rather unique and much different to modern fast trains. For these railways, the journey is as much of a destination as the destination itself and they are not built for speed. Our average speed across the Rockies was estimated to be around the 40-60kph mark, hardly a land speed record especially as we pulled into many sidings to allow the priority freight trains to pass.  After meeting several other solo Aussie travelers and a few lovely Canadians it was time to call it a night and see how the rocking motion of the train which is apparently one of the most relaxing ways to sleep worked on me. Before turing out the lights I decided to record the first of a few video blogs along this trip, which is included below. After lights out I lay in the very comfortable and cosy bed listening to the creaks and groans of the train while staring out the picture window to the scenery that was lit by the moonlight and lights from the train cars ahead. I could have stared out at this tranquil view all night but decided it was best to close the blind and try and get some sleep.

A few moments later we crawled to a stop, blocking a road crossing with the red flashing crossing lights illuminating my cabin like a red light district. This wouldn’t be the last random stop of the night as we slowed and pulled into sidings to allow oncoming freight trains to pass by safely. The creaks and groans of the train navigating the many bends on this railroad would also turn from exciting and relaxing to rather annoying and loud. I think the combination of being a light sleeper and being over the wheels meant it was going to be a rather loud and disruptive sleep. None the less I must have got some sleep as I slept straight through our 40min early morning stop in Kamloops and awoke to the magical views of rivers, forrest and the growing rocky mountains. My good morning Rockies video blog is below.

I got dressed and wandered up to the dining car for breakfast. As a sleeper car passenger all meals are included which for breakfast included several options including a salmon omelette which I heard was amazing and the full hot breakfast which I chose which was equally good. Meal times are a great time to meet fellow travelers and share travel experiences and backgrounds. As each table is filled with solos or couples you never eat alone. After breakfast I decided to relax in bed again watching the day go by before we pulled up for a 10 min stop I the the small town of Blue River. The general store, nicely positioned by the railroad did a roaring trade before we slowly continued on our journey across the mountains.

I decided to have a quick shower before spending the day either napping in my cabin watching the views or sitting in the dome car – Both options were very relaxing experiences. As it was fall the common theme across the the mountains was rain, snow and fog meaning the tops of the mountains were hidden. Despite the weather the colors of the fall leaves and seeing the railway covered in a nice dusting of snow was rather spectacular on its own.

Lunch was served and then the afternoon was spent much the same as the morning with the only change a 1.5hr stopover in Jasper which provided enough time to wander around the town, kick around some snow and meet a local bear as I describe I the video blog below.

Back on the train I ate dinner with an older Dutch lady who reminded me of my own Oma, a fiddle playing Australian beginning her 2 year travels across Canada and a rail enthusiast staring a mega train journey from Vancouver to Fort Lauderdale via train. Every meal you meet new people and share new stories while eating some lovely food all cooked on board. During these times you really can imagine the history of the railroad when these dining cars would be filled with the rich and famous, men in suits and women in elaborate dresses taking what was then the fast journey across this massive continent. The weather had improved around Jasper and thus the views over dinner were breath taking, adding to the romance of rail travel.

The sun soon set as we left the mountains for the flat prairies of Alberta and the long and slow trek into Edmonton for an 11pm arrival. As most guests were comfortably trying to sleep I was struggling to stay awake but fortunately my car attendant came and collected me when it was time to disembark this amazing rail journey onto the icy platform of Edmonton.

If you’re on a tighter budget but still want to experience the Rockies by train, I’d highly recommend this train route – during summer prices are higher but I’d imagine the views are even more spectacular. Although I found the romance of the snow covered tracks very appealing and definitely worth an off season trek across these amazing mountains.

CarlousMoochous has branched out and started a travel company providing small group tours to Canada. If you’re interested in visiting Jasper check out the Canadian Holiday Packages available from YourTrip at