We had always planned that our return journey from Perth to Sydney would be a train trip on the Indian Pacific, named because by crossing the Australian continent it joins the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This is a very popular journey and indeed we had to book our place on this train over a year before the journey date. It is also a bit of an unusual train journey in that it stops a number of times to provide the passengers with off-train excursions or activities. In that regard it is more like a cruise ship passage than a typical train.
The journey takes 4 days and three nights (65 hours says the brochure) and covers 4352km (2,720 miles).
Below are a few photos of our cabin and a few from the window on the first morning as the train followed the Avon River out of Perth.
We declined the first off train excursion as it was in Kalgoolie the first night on the train. We had visited Kalgoolie early in our driving trip and did not think seeing an open cut mine at night time was worth disturbing our sleep.
The second 'excursion' was for our first breakfast of the journey. The train stopped at Rawlinna Station, the largest sheep station in Australia with an area of 3,900 square miles. There is an old station complex near the homestead. The train crew set up an outside breakfast and provided singer/guitar player to keep us entertained while eating a light breakfast and exploring the old station area.
The next stop was at the 'town' of Cook, South Australia. Created in 1907 as a support town for the trans-Australia railway today the town is essentially a ghost town with a population of 4 with some train drivers resting overnight adding to the population. Cooks claim to fame is that it is situated on the longest straight section of railway track in the world 478km of 297miles without any deviation from 'dead straight'.
If you want a different take on Cook, the straight track, and other aspects of Australia pick up a copy of "Down Under, Travels in A Sunburned Country" (also know simply as "A Sunburned Country") by Bill Bryson. We take it out and have a read periodically to regain perspective on our own country and frankly to have a laugh.
We arrived into Adeliade around 7:00am after our second night on the train and had a choice of a couple of different excursions. Nina and I chose a 'city tour', which turned out to be a bus tour followed by breakfast at the Adelaide Oval, a well known venue to cricket and footy fans.
It was a beautiful morning, blue sky with clear and crips air. Temperature in the high 40's .. remember this is winter down under.
Our final morning on the train saw us approaching the Blue Mountains of NSW, one of our old (University days) stomping grounds, and the prospect of spending the morning catching up with some of the sights we had not seen in 25 years.
A bus tour of the area was finished in the town of Katoomba with rides in a cable car, a steep train that descended into the valley, and another cable car back up. This was followed by some viewing and lunch at Echo Point with its views of the Three Sisters.
After lunch at Echo Point we were driven to Katoomba Railway station where a chartered train was waiting to take us to Sydney Central station. The Indian Pacific continued on to Sydney immediately after dropping those passengers that wanted to partake of the Blue Mountains sightseeing and hence another train had to be provided to complete the journey for those passengers.
At Sydney Central our luggage was waiting on the platform all organized so as to be easy to find, we got it and were out of there into a taxi in only a few minutes. Barely taking time to reflect on the fact that we had just completed quite a unique experience.
We will spend the next week in an Airbnb apartment in the Sydney beachside suburb of Freshwater.