A journey by train from New Zealand to Spain: Our interview with travel writer Gregory Hill

Catalogue link: The Antipodean Express - a journey by train from New Zealand to Spain, by Gregory Hill

Gregory Hill is an accomplished former NZSO musician, turned author and adventurer — his first travel book is called The Antipodean Express: A journey by train from New Zealand to Spain. The journey was inspired by an old memory of a school atlas and its description of ‘antipodes’ as ‘the exact opposite point on the globe to where you are standing now’.

The book is the story of a 38,000 kilometre journey with his partner, that encompassed 19 countries and 33 trains. Together, they journeyed the slow way — taking in offbeat and remote locations and soaking in the local ambience and customs.

Born in Auckland, Gregory Hill devoted his life to playing the French horn, pursuing a highly successful career in orchestras in both Australia and New Zealand. However, he always secretly nurtured a passion for long distance train travel, which he finally indulged to the maximum in this journey with fellow traveller, partner, and NZSO musician, Anne Loeser.

Gregory took some time out of his very busy schedule to give an in-depth and fascinating interview about his new book and the travels that inspired it.

We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Gregory for doing this interview, which was done in conjunction with Radioactive FM’s Caffeine and Aspirin arts and entertainment review show. The interview was conducted by Neil Johnstone.

Have a listen:

And you can borrow The Antipodean Express by following the link below:

The Antipodean Express: A journey by train from New Zealand to Spain / Hill, Gregory
“An epic train journey from New Zealand to Spain, across 19 countries in 89 days on 33 different trains. From New Zealand’s Northern Explorer to the Eurostar, the book captures the romance of rail travel, exploring cultures, cuisines, history and people along the way.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

I’m going on an adventure! New travel books

A tent silhouetted against a starry sky, with three books in foreground, about camping, travel in Italy, and travel in Antarctica

For a long time, adventurers have been exploring the world and some have been kind enough to write down and share their experiences with us. Some of us may prefer only to travel in luxury but we can still experience these adventures vicariously through a great range of books. In this month’s new travel books, we can cycle all over the world, move to the desert with only our dogs or be struck by a whale while sailing to New Zealand (!). Have a browse, and enjoy!

A flat place / Masud, Noreen | ebook available – A flat place
“Raw and radical, unfamiliar and beguiling – a journey through Britain’s breathtaking flatlands and a reckoning with the painful memories and hidden histories contained in those landscapes. Noreen weaves her impressions of the natural world with the poetry, folklore and history of the land, and with recollections of her own early life, rendering a startlingly strange, vivid and intimate account of a post-traumatic, post-colonial landscape – a seemingly flat and motionless place which is nevertheless defiantly alive.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Never leave the dogs behind : a memoir / Madia, Brianna | ebook available – Never leave the dogs behind | audiobook available – Never leave the dogs behind
“The author of the New York Times bestseller Nowhere for Very Long continues her story with this deeply honest, moving account of a woman walking the line between independence and isolation when she moves to the Southwest desert with nothing and no one but her four dogs.” (Catalogue)

Everest, Inc. : the renegades and rogues who built an industry at the top of the world / Cockrell, Will
“Unlike any book to date, Everest, Inc. gets to the heart of the mountain through the definitive story of its greatest invention: the Himalayan guiding industry. Everest, Inc. transcends stereotypes and tells the uplifting counternarrative of the army of journeymen and women who have made people’s dreams come true, and of the Nepalis who are pushing the industry into the future.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Life at full tilt : the selected writings of Dervla Murphy / Murphy, Dervla
“Life at Full Tilt is a whirlwind tour of Dervla Murphy s travels. It begins in Spain in 1956, before her first book, and follows in her tracks for over fifty years. Ethel Crowley, an Irish sociologist, has for the first time looked at all Dervla s writing her journalism and her twenty-four books selecting half-a-dozen extracts from each. She introduces us to a complex character, hard to pin down, but a role model for women and environmentalists, Irish to her fingertips and a crucial part of the larger English tradition of travel writing.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Maurice and Maralyn : a whale, a shipwreck, a love story / Elmhirst, Sophie
“Bored of 1970s suburban life, Maralyn has an idea: sell the house, build a boat, leave England forever. It is hard work, turning dreams into reality, but finally they set sail for New Zealand. Then, halfway there, their beloved boat is struck by a whale. It sinks within an hour, and the pair are cast adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Filled with danger, spirit and tenderness, this is a book about human connection and the human condition.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

In Italy : Venice, Rome and beyond / Zarin, Cynthia
“From acclaimed poet and New Yorker writer Cynthia Zarin comes a deeply personal meditation on four Italian spaces. Here we encounter a writer deeply engaged with narrative in situ – a traveller moving through beloved streets, sometimes accompanied, sometimes solo.” (Catalogue)

Under the stars camping Australia & New Zealand : the best campsites, huts, glamping and bush camping / Reid, Sarah
“Sleep under the stars in Australia and New Zealand’s most spectacular spaces. Discover more than 200 out-of-this-world camping hotspots in this epic guide with practical details and expert tips for an adventure like no other – making it easier than ever before to plan the ultimate camping trip.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Antarctica cruising guide / Carey, Peter W.
“This bestselling Antarctica travel guide includes fascinating, full accounts of interesting places, spectacular landscapes, and local plants and wildlife. A definitive field guide to Antarctica, this book caters to visitors traveling by luxury liner, adventure cruise, or private boat. Written by experienced Antarctic scientists and travel guides who are recognized experts in the continent’s wildlife, conservation, and political history, every page offers gorgeous color photographs of the great white south.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Flying solo: New travel books

Traveling is an incredible experience, being able to see other parts of the world and to learn about different cultures. While it’s great to travel with loved ones, there are benefits to travelling alone as well. You can have complete control over the itinerary, meet new people and it can really help build your confidence. It can sound intimidating at first, but it can be a positive experience that will create many memories. Check out these new travel books for inspiration:

Solo travel / Mylne, Lee | ebook available
“A friendly resource to help you prepare for exciting domestic or international travel — on your own. Solo Travel For Dummies teaches you how to plan the solo trip of a lifetime with must-know info, insider tricks, safety essentials, and more. Get expert tips on safety, budgeting, and so much more! Solo Travel For Dummies is for anyone who needs a trusted, comprehensive source of information as they prepare to travel independently.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Amazing train journeys
“Discover 60 of the world’s greatest and most memorable train journeys, from classic long-distance trips, such as Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer and Darwin to Adelaide’s The Ghan, to little-known gems on regular commuting lines. Each profile features a detailed description of the whole experience, with practical information such as ticket recommendations, key stops and the best time to travel. Inspiring photographs and an illustrated route map bring every train journey to life.” (Catalogue)

The man who loved Siberia / Jacobsen, Roy
“Siberia, to me, is a fairy-tale land. Fritz Dorries set out on his first trip to Eastern Siberia in 1877, when there were still blank spaces on maps of the world. Through his twenty-two years in Siberia, Dorries collected a wealth of essential material for scientific institutions, fundamental to our understanding of fauna and flora. This account of his adventures, set down for his daughters in his ninetieth year, and adapted for publication by Roy Jacobsen and Anneliese Pitz, is his second great legacy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

“Fully-illustrated, The Passenger collects the best new writing, photography, art and reportage from around the world. Mexico: once synonymous with escape and freedom, better known nowadays for widespread violence, narcotraffic, and migration. The ocean, the beaches, the ancient ruins, the tequila: under the patina of mass tourism there’s a complex, neurotic country trying to carve out a place for itself in the shadow of its hulky neighbor.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Epic : adventures across Aotearoa / Salisbury, Ray
“Over the years, countless sea kayakers, climbers and alpine trampers have attempted journeys across New Zealand’s incredible landscape. In Epic, the stories of a dozen memorable Kiwi explorers are brought together, with detailed maps, backstories and stunning images. From the first traverse of the Southern Alps, to the nineteen-year-old who travelled 8000km of coastline, Epic is a testament to endurance, and a reminder to get out there and experience the wild, stunning places of our planet.” (Catalogue)

Wavewalker : breaking free / Heywood, Suzanne | ebook available of Wavewalker
“Aged just seven, Suzanne Heywood set sail with her parents and brother on a three-year voyage around the world. What followed turned instead into a decade. Suzanne fought her parents, longing to return to England and to education and stability. From the bestselling author of What Does Jeremy Think?, Wavewalker is the incredible true story of how the adventure of a lifetime became one child’s worst nightmare – and how her determination to educate herself enabled her to escape.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Best beaches : 100 of the world’s most incredible beaches
“Discover the world’s most extraordinary shorelines inside this dazzling display of diverse beaches. Featuring transporting photography, tips for how to reach each beach, and reasons why Lonely Planet selected these as the 100 best, this is the ultimate collection of the sand, stone and sea the world has to offer. Whether you’re looking to be inspired for your next trip or simply desire some beach-chair travel, experience the world’s best beaches in this book.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Edgeland : a slow walk west / Swire, Sasha
“In Edgeland, the political diarist Sasha Swire escapes the confines of Westminster to walk the northern stretch of the South West Coast Path. She discovers that the path is not only a walk-through Britain’s windswept and wave-battered western fringes but a tale about how we and nature have, through extraordinary resilience and relentless spirit, learnt to tame the various forces that are stacked against us. That we live at the edge of the possible.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Deepen Your World View: New Travel Books

Up to the peaks of mountains and down under the ocean, following locals and adventurers alike, these new travel books will take you to all the corners of the world! You can discover some interesting hotels in Unusual Hotels or be inspired by adventurous women in Adventuress. Check out what you can discover in our new travel books:

Unusual hotels : world
“Discover the finest unusual hotels from around the world in this exceptional photographic guide. How about spending the night in a see-through capsule stuck on the edge of a cliff, in a secret contemporary work of art, in an old church, or in a house sitting atop a water tower? Would you like to treat yourself to a night in an igloo, in a circus, in a futuristic tree house, in an underwater bedroom or at an open-air suite? Sometimes, hotels can be destinations in their own right.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Adventuress : women exploring the wild / Amell, Carolina
“In turn inspirational and extraordinary, these profiles in female courage, determination, and adventure are illustrated with breathtaking photography from some of the most intriguing corners of the world. From the ocean’s deepest canyons to the earth’s highest peaks, these extraordinary women offer readers the inspiration and encouragement they need to pursue their dreams-whatever they are, wherever they may be.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Windswept : life, nature and deep time in the Scottish Highlands / Worsley, Annie
“Annie Worsley traded a busy life in academia to take on a small-holding or croft on the west coast of Scotland. Windswept explores what it means to live in this awe-inspiring place of unquenchable spirit and wild weather. Windswept evokes a place where nature reigns supreme and humans must learn to adapt. It is her paean to a beloved place, one richer with colour, sound and life than perhaps anywhere else in the UK.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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Plan your 2024: New travel books

Three travel bookcovers on a background of a sky.

With the startling reality that 2024 is less than a month away, now is a great time to start prepping for next year’s travel plans. Whether you are embarking on a major trip overseas, or exploring a new part of Aotearoa, there are many books to motivate and assist you in your planning. Below are some of our new books to get you on your way.

Best in travel 2024 : the best destinations, journeys and experiences, for the year ahead
“This special edition sets the travel agenda for the year to come, with a comprehensive and inspirational list of 50 incredible destinations to experience over the forthcoming year. Expect a mix of emerging travel hotspots, underappreciated or criminally overlooked places and fresh-takes on well-known destinations.” (Catalogue)

The travel hack handbook : how to make the most of your trip for your budget / Bindloss, Joseph
“This practical and inspiring guide, the latest in our popular ‘Handbook’ series, provides travellers with tips and tricks to make their money go further. As the cost of living and travel increases, Lonely Planet’s experts reveal the best ways to bag a bargain, whether it’s booking transport, a hotel or finding experiences that won’t break the bank.” (Catalogue)

Best road trips New Zealand (Aotearoa) : escapes on the open road / Atkinson, Brett
“Discover the freedom of the open road with Lonely Planet’s New Zealand’s Best Road Trips. This trusted travel companion features 25 amazing drives, from 3-day escapes to 2-week adventures. Cruise Bay of Islands, meander to vineyard restaurants on Waiheke Island, and spot whales off Kaikoura Coast. Get to New Zealand, rent a car, and hit the road!” (Catalogue)

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Around the World in 8 Travel Books

Some days we don’t want to leave the house but still wish we can experience all that the world has to offer. Why not check out some of our new travel books to get away from Wellington and see the world from the comfort of your favourite couch? Or if you don’t want to leave the house at all (although the library should be the one exception) check out Libby and Borrowbox for ebooks, magazines and audiobooks. Let’s avoid the long-haul flights, the boring queues and save money by picking up a book!

Queer footprints : a guide to uncovering London’s fierce history / Glass, Dan
“This groundbreaking guide will take you through the city streets to uncover the scandalous, hilarious and empowering events of London’s queerstory. Follow in the footsteps of veteran activisits, such as those who marched in London’s first Pride parade in 1972 or witnessed the 1999 bombing of the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho.” (Catalogue)

The joy of wild swimming
“Dive into 180 of the world’s most enticing wild swimming spots with this joyful book featuring fascinating insights from local voices, beautiful photography, maps and essential trip planning tips. Discover the humbling effects of a wild swim and explore enchanting places where you can connect with nature or simply relax and float downstream.” (Catalogue)

History of the world map by map
“A uniquely illustrated guide to the history of our world. Witness our incredible human story unfold exquisitely charted map by map. Come on a journey through global history, told in more than 130 specially made maps that each offer a window on a key event. This updated edition contains eight pages of brand new maps, and has been reviewed and updated for diversity and inclusion.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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