Departure from London to Australia, without flying!
 

You won't be the first passenger to have left from St Pancras for Australia!

 

Europe to Australia without flying...

It's a long way to Oz, but there are two options to get there from the UK without flying:

Option 1:  Europe to Australia by sea. You can go all the way from the UK to Australia or New Zealand by sea, a slow voyage by passenger-carrying freighter or occasional round-the-world cruise.  Expect this to take 32-40 days and cost around 3,500+ one-way including cabin & meals.

Option 2, Europe to Australia via the Trans-Siberian Railway.  You can travel by train from London to Moscow, the Trans-Siberian Railway to the Far East, and catch a passenger-carrying freighter (if you can find one!) from there to Australia.  This is a real adventure, and quite a popular choice with lots to see on the way.

This page outlines the journey and how to go about putting such a trip together, with links to other pages for more detailed information about each part of the journey.  Please remember this is not a tour or a package, just some guidance in putting your own independent trip together using scheduled train services across Europe and Asia.


Europe to Australia by sea...

If you'd been going to Australia in the first half of the 20th century, you'd probably have caught the fortnightly P&O liner from Southampton to Sydney, taking several weeks.  These days, there are no regular passenger ships from the UK or Europe to Australia, only occasional round-the-world cruises and regular freighters which take a limited number of passengers. 


Europe to Australia by Trans-Siberian Railway...

It's possible to travel most of the way from London to Australia by train via the Trans-Siberian Railway.  In fact, quite a number people travel this way.  Time-wise, we're talking 4-5 weeks one-way, minimum.

Route, timetable & costs...

Travel tickets alone costs only 750 or so from London as far as Singapore, but you must add food, hotels, tours along the way.  The links below cover travel in either direction, from London to Australia or Australia to London, follow the links to see details of prices and timetables for each section.

How to plan & arrange this trip...

There aren't any travel agencies who can arrange the whole trip from Europe to Australia, so you will need to plan and arrange each stage of the journey yourself.  It's an exercise in project management, and I use a simple spreadsheet technique like this to plan an itinerary and budget.  Unless time is absolutely no object, you should book the key sections in advance through various travel agencies, for example, book London-Moscow through a UK European train ticketing agency such as DB's UK office or www.europeanrail.com, then book Moscow-Beijing & Beijing-Hanoi through a local Russian agency such as www.realrussia.co.uk or Svezhy Veter.  You also need to pre-book the freighter from Asia to Australia, as places are limited.  Tickets for other parts of the trip, for example, Hanoi-Saigon-Phnom Penh-Bangkok can all be bought locally, as you go along.  The place to start is the sea section from Asia to Australia, as that will determine the dates for the rest of the trip.

Visas...

You'll need to pre-arrange visas for Belarus, Russia, possibly Mongolia, China & Vietnam.  Cambodian visas can be obtained at the frontier.  In many ways, complying with the various visa requirements (and in some cases, requirements for confirmed onward tickets to be held) is actually the biggest hassle, not buying the tickets for the trains, so check this out carefully using the relevant embassy websites.

So where do you start?

Request for more information...

If anyone has any more information, an account of this journey, photos or travel reports that would be useful for this page, please e-mail me!

Freighter between Australia and Malaysia   Freighter

Australia by cargo ship:  This is a Globoship container vessel between Australia and Malaysia, which carries a limited number of passengers.  Photos courtesy of Anna Rice.

Officers Mess   A cabin on the freigher

Passengers dine and relax in the officers' mess.

 

A cabin on the freighter.  Photos courtesy of Anna Rice.


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