Most hubbers would say the answer to your question is yes. It's best to aim for at least 800-1500 words for an average hub. Your hub on travelling Australia by train is a good example of what to write.
There are occasions where shorter hubs are fine to do but still make them 600-800 words in length. Remember you need at least 300-350words to get the main adsense advert at the top right of your article which is what you want to be aiming for. It really depends on your topic but 500 is on the short side- just my opinion.
I think 500 words is fine. It really depends on the subject and how well you are able to express your thoughts in that amount of words. If you can do it then by all means go for it! Ultimately the author is the one who has to be the happiest with it.
If you can successfully convey your message through 500 words in a hub, you can go ahead. It depends upon the topic you choose. There are many topics on which you can write a quality hub in 500 words. But in some other hubs you need to write longer ones to convey what your title says.
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