Train tripping through Kiama

Phillip Overton with wife Denise at Kiama Harbour.
Phillip Overton with wife Denise at Kiama Harbour.

KIAMA is featured on the cover of a new e-book documenting a Queensland writer’s train travel adventures.

Railway adventurer and part-time author Phillip Overton, who lives on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, has penned the Train Tripping travelogue series.

So far his three published window-seat guides have taken him from Cairns to Sydney, and been released as 99-cent e-books.

Mr Overton visited Kiama with his wife during a recent trip to Sydney to write Train Tripping Around Sydney, a self-guided, 592-kilometre, three-day railway adventure around Greater Sydney.

He said he held Kiama in high regard following his visit in March.

‘‘From lunch at the Grand Hotel, to a walk down historic Manning Street and out to Blowhole Point, even though the blowhole was a no-blow on the day of our visit, Kiama had it all,’’ he said.

‘‘Kiama would have to be one of the prettiest towns I’ve visited, and a day trip from Sydney on the train in many ways doesn’t satisfy the urge to say I’ve been there.

‘‘I only hope my humorous, fact-filled window-seat guide truly did the town the justice it deserved.

‘‘I have enough photos of Kiama Railway Station and visiting trains to guarantee that Kiama will also feature in my colour photo book titled Riding Trains Around Australia when I sit down to finalise it in mid-2016.’’

Mr Overton said he was attempting to present train travel to the next generation of ‘‘budget-minded, mid-life crisis travellers’’.

The cover of the new book.

The cover of the new book.

‘‘My books are part Jeremy Clarkson on rails, and part Amazing Race as I race the clock to complete each adventure within a three-day window,’’ he said.

‘‘I want to inspire people to have a train adventure of their own.

‘‘The window’s really a moving photo album, especially the Kiama trip.

‘‘The view of the ocean at Bombo was incredible.’’

Although having completed these works, his quest is far from complete.

Train Tripping Around Melbourne will fill in the missing link on his north-south Australian rail odyssey.

What will follow in 2016 will be a hardcover print edition of his combined adventures, along with more than 30 years of railway photography.

He has taken to crowd-funding to help make the project a reality, via his website at www.phillipoverton.blogspot.com.

Ever since sneaking out of home late at night as an 11-year old to watch trains while growing up in Gosford, armed only with a torch and a timetable, Mr Overton, now 42, said he had dreamed of undertaking such a project.

However, at one point he had reconsidered continuing to pursue writing.

‘‘After a decade of trying to establish myself as a novelist and sinking more than $10,000 of my own money into touring the East Coast of Australia promoting my four novels, the exercise became a decade-long effort just to break even," he said. 

‘‘Facing burnout, I turned my attention to writing my Railway Reminiscing tales on my own blog, and soon discovered that I had thousands more visitors per month."

Mr Overton plans to buy a caravan and four-wheel drive and travel throughout Australia for the next decade, and hopefully do further travel writing.

‘‘The plan is at the end of this year to make the call to head off, sell everything up.

‘‘I had a blast on my three-day train trip around Sydney and I’m already looking forward to getting back to Kiama in the years to come when Denise and I head off on our big caravan adventure."

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