An epic journey from New Zealand to Spain, celebrating the enduring romance of travel by train.
When Gregory Hill set out to travel from his home in Wellington, New Zealand, to its antipodes – the furthest point from it on the globe – he knew it would be an incredible adventure. What he didn’t anticipate was that his journey would be one of the last of its kind before pandemic and war would make such an undertaking impossible. This turned what could simply be a captivating travel log into a meaningful reminder of the joy and privilege of setting out on an epic adventure.
The journey of The Antipodean Express takes in 89 days of travel, on 33 trains, through 19 countries. It begins in New Zealand’s North Island, weaves past the volcanoes of Java, through East Asia and on into Europe. From hilarious miscommunications in China to cultural immersion at the Bolshoi Ballet, there are stop-offs with half a world’s worth of impressions, people, history, food, music and culture. Hill also describes most of the great trains of the Eurasian hemisphere, from New Zealand’s Northern Explorer to the Eurostar, and everything in between.
The culmination is a day spent in the obscure Spanish village of Alaejos, locating the exact antipodes of the author’s living room. The perfect end to a vast adventure, and a last look at an era of such ambitious journeys.