I was just looking at the various companies that run overland trips from England to Australia (idly browsing, not seriously thinking about doing it at this point in time!) and just wondered how many people here have done this, or a similar trip independently? Would just be interested to hear anyones stories really.
Not exactly overland, but I did make a trip from London to Australia several years ago.
I flew from London to Istanbul with a four-day stopover in Slovenia. Then I did an overland expedition from Istanbul, Turkey to Cape Town, South Africa through eastern and southern Africa. I travelled indepently through South Africa, then flew to India and SE Asia, before ending up in Australia.
It took about 9 months and it was a fantastic trip. I just wish I had managed to save more money so I could have enjoyed it more!!
There was guy called Nathan Millward who rode an aussie postie bike from sydney to london! he wrote a book on it and its quite interesting and judging from the people he met id say there are plenty of people to do this route across europe and asia. You can get bus tours or many people use motorbikes and do it them selfs. Google Nathan millward, he has a website and it might have infromation useful to you. hope this helps.
If you do go, have fun
Tales - your trip sounds great, I expect you have many amazing memories
Yorkie - I shall check that website out, thank you
Hey, I think you can do it very easily without using a company.
I haven't done it myself but I REALLY REALLY want to so I've been looking into it quite a lot.
You can take the train to Moscow and then hop onto the Trans Siberian and head to China (through Mongolia) and head downwards to SE Asia and hopefully try and get a boat from somewhere into Darwin.
This is a great link that tells you all of the options for travelling from England to Australia without flying
...sorry just read that you aren't planning on doing it, but it's still a good site to look on. My friends are actually planning on riding a tuk-tuk from India back home to England...they have even found a tuk-tuk company that will sponsor them to do it!
I think hiring a company to take you for that long distance is nuts. Waaaay too long and (even if it was possible to find the company) waaaay too expensive.
No need for a company to babysit you. Do it yourself.
Either way, good luck.
[ Edit: Edited on 14-Jun-2012, at 22:27 by CheersT ]
Thanks Graby, that is really useful! I bet your friends will have a great time too.
Terry, just to reiterate I'm not planning on doing it at the moment having not long ago got back from 18 months travelling, and if I do do it I would much rather do it independently which I why I asked to hear from people who have done it independently, as I agree with what you say.
About 6 years ago I took the Trans-Manchurian (it bypasses Mongolia, directly from Russia into China). On the train I met quite a few travellers who were going on from there, or including it as part of a longer trip. The Trans-Siberian itself is quite an amazing experience, but you really should stop at Irkutsk to check out Lake Baikal, which is stunning. If you just stay on the train the whole way, it gets a tad monotonous. I grew up in Northern Ontario, and it's amazing how much Siberia looks like Northern Ontario, at least viewed from a train window!
I planned and figured out the whole trip myself- no need for a company. Getting a train ticket in Russia was never a problem. I didn't make any reservations ahead of time- just went to the train station, or hotel travel agent (the agent in Irkutsk was wonderful. Russians aren't usually friendly to customers, but she was very kind and patient.)
The biggest hassle is visas- especially for Russia. Mongolia, China and Vietnam also require visas. Actually, any route through Asia will mean a lot of visa hassles. A friend of mine, a dual British-New Zealand citizen, went overland through southern Asia, but had to stop in Pakistan for a month, until he could get an Iranian visa. It probably didn't help that he had a big, bushy beard and looked like he belonged to the Taliban.
I did this 2006-08, overland as much as technically possible through Europe, Turkey, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh then on through South East Asia, finally finishing in Oz/NZ 18 months later.
The major problems you'll face are visas (Iran mostly), culture shock (Bangladesh to Thailand is like going from medieval times to Bladerunner) and how willing you are to rough it.
Takes a lot of time, moreso than money really, so take the Russian train if youre in a hurry, but it wont be any cheaper that way!