Sleek. Fast. Unique. Three words that describe one of the iconic rail journeys in Australia - The Indian Pacific. A truly relaxing and fabulous way to cross this great country.
I travelled in Gold service which includes all meals, drinks and off train excursions in Broken Hill, Adelaide and Kalgoorlie.
In Broken Hill I chose the Pro Hart galley tour & this was great. We visited his studio and were welcomed with champagne at 7am! Also available was tea, coffee & pasties – still warm from the oven! After viewing his artwork, our driver took us to the cemetery to see Pro’s grave. The family had bought 4 plots and covered his grave with dark marble & had his signature dragonfly symbol engraved on it. It was very special.
The other tour on offer in Broken Hill was the Mining tour. This tour explained the history of the mining industry and contained a memorial to the over 800 miners who have died there.
After touring Broken Hill and hearing about its history, we returned to the train for a hearty cooked breakfast.
Our next off train tour was in the beautiful city of Churches – Adelaide. We decided on the Adelaide City Sightseeing Tour. The first stop was Haigh’s Chocolate Factory!
From here we travelled through the city with the many sights pointed out to us. It is well thought out with tree lined streets, restaurants, coffee shops in abundance, as well as a busy CBD. The beach area of Glenelg was a delightful way to finish the tour.
Cook on the Nullabor Plain was our next stop. This township, in the middle of nowhere, was established to support the east-west Trans Australian Railway which was completed in 1917. To assist with maintenance of the line, small settlements 30 kms apart were built along the most remote sections of the track on the Nullabor Plain. From very small beginnings, Cook developed into a major base for maintenance groups along the line & provided accommodation to the railway crews.
Once a thriving town of 200 people including a school, swimming pool & general store, after privatization of the railway, numbers in Cook dwindled, leaving the town virtually abandoned.
Our last off-train tour was in Kalgoorlie. This was at 8:30pm on Friday night. We boarded buses for a tour of the town, the mining site & a museum. As it was night, we could not really see the size of the mine. The history of the area was interesting.
In between off train tours, we joined our fellow travellers in the lounge to watch the awesome landscape glide slowly by. Conversations were many & varied as we enjoyed endless cups of tea & coffee & glasses of wine!
The meals on board were of a high standard, although the service a little slow on a couple of occasions.
On arrival into Perth our transfer dropped us at our hotel for the next 4 nights – Miss Maud Swedish Hotel is very centrally located and is a delightful place to stay. Next door to the hotel is their own bakery and restaurant. The meals were incredible. A full buffet breakfast was included.
Perth, the gem in the WA crown, is strategically placed on the banks of the Swan River. It is a sprawling city with high rise housing and office blocks, beautiful gardens, busy waterways, friendly locals, art galleries, museums, festivals and a free inner city bus service.
The Triple tour includes the hop on, hop off bus; boat to Fremantle; tram ride around Fremantle or “Freeo” as it is fondly known. This is a slow paced day tour but you see so much. The cruise includes free tea and coffee. Snacks and other drinks are available for purchase. Informative and amusing commentaries enthral as you travel.
Rottnest Island is definitely a “must see, must do” tour when in WA. About an hour and a half from Perth, the cruise departs a couple of times a day. Once on the island there is a choice of tours: shuttle bus, cycling tours, walking tours. For the amateur photographer, there is an abundance of wildlife and landscapes just waiting to be clicked.
Famous for the quokkas which thrive abundantly on Rottnest, these furry creatures are quite people friendly although it is advised not to get too close – they do bite!
Travelling on the Indian Pacific was not on my “must do before I die” list but having travelled on it recently, I believe it should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Where else can you see city skyscrapers, outback landscapes, gum trees, kangaroos, emus, orange, pink & mauve sunsets, mountain ranges rising out of volcanic soil, deserted mining towns all from the comfort of your air conditioned cabin? Great Southern Rail is waiting for your call.