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Published: March 2nd 2008
In the station, ready for the journey west...
Indian Pacific Railway- Sydney to Perth
In the immortal words of Johnny Cash, “ I hear that train a comin’, comin’ down the track……. It was time to ride the rails and take a good long look at some of the most remote parts of this large country.
We have had the most wonderful adventure taking the Indian Pacific Railway all the way across Australia. The 4,352km (2700miles) transcontinental journey between Sydney and Perth is one of the longest and most fascinating train journeys in the world. It also contains over 300 miles of the longest straight stretch of railroad in the world
We have learned that we love train travel; we are smitten. We took the Gold Coach across country and they treated us very well. We highly recommend taking the Gold Class train. The sleeper cabin was comfortable the food and service were outstanding. We immensely enjoyed the landscapes and the passengers riding the train.
This train journey takes three nights and three days. We admired the contrasting landscape and enjoyed the company of our good friends Bill and Sheila. We were happy to see many kangaroos and emus along the way, not to mention
Sydney Central Station
16 cars...ready to make the journey....
a few sheep and cattle.
We had our own cabin which had an upper and lower berth with ensuite facilities. Our cabin was about 8 feet by 6 feet total. As the old saying goes, you had to leave the room to change your mind. The window of our cabin provided us with an ever changing view of the Australian landscape as we made our way west towards Perth and the Indian Ocean.
All of our meals were taken in the dining car, which prepared very tasty meals for us. One night during dinner we counted over 2 dozen kangaroos hopping about the bush near the train.
We would also wile away the time in the lounge car, chatting with other travelers and taking in the scenery, which changed considerably during the voyage while enjoying a cold beer or a hot beverage. There were passengers from the U.K., Australia, the States, and even Germany. A fair amount of them had been on trains in Australia before and seemed to enjoy the experience. Riding on a train seems to transport you back in time to a different era when people weren’t in such a hurry and took the
time to talk to people and exchange ideas and stories of travels.
Imagine getting on a train in Washington D. C. and riding to San Franciso, the difference being that you spent the vast majority of the trip traveling in places so remote, the nearest town of any size is 250 miles apart from the next. Anyone who has spent time traversing the deserts in America can relate to this scenario somewhat, but you still have to multiply that effect by a power of 10 to truly understand this voyage.
The Indian Pacific passes through 86 towns on its transcontinental journey, including 32 towns as we traveled across the Nullarbor Plain. The train stops occasionally, but never for more than 2-3 hours while it refuels, changes drivers, or crew. On occasion the train would stop to allow another train to go by as we were sharing the tracks and we made some mail stops in places where we could not see a town. The mail stops consisted of some guy waiting by his truck for the train to arrive so that he could exchange letters to be mailed for his delivered mail. It was probably one of the
Dave on the run
Escaping from a wall mural in Broken Hill
social highlights of his week, as the train passes by every two or three days at most.
We did stop and get off the train twice for sightseeing. Once we got off in Adelaide and took a bus tour of the city, the other stop was in Cook, which is about as remote as you can get even in this country which prides itself on remoteness. Cook has a population of 4, which is not uncommon for these interior towns and is one of the most isolated Australia towns. Cook is over 600 miles from Adelaide and 700 miles from Perth. Bear in mind that there isn’t anything in between these two points and the picture of remote comes clearer into view. We’re not sure what we were expecting in Adelaide because it is a city that we haven’t heard much about but we were both surprised by it’s architectural beauty and cleanliness. The city planner did and excellent job laying this town out.
Sunrises and sunsets on the train are magnificent as the colors change by the minute, while the clouds transform in color from pink to orange as the sun rushes to meets the horizon. The
Ready to take of us for the next few days.
many stars at night sparkle and light up the sky.
There are 50 different types of Kangaroo in Australia. The most common variety Is the red kangaroo, which is the largest, growing up to over 5 feet tall and weighing up to 180 pounds. Red Kangaroos can travel up to 30miles per hour and cover up to 25 feet in a single bound.
The highest point of the Indian Pacific’s journey is at a small station called Bell, which is situated between Bathurst and Mt. Victoria. Bell is 3100 feet above sea level.
The Wedge-tail Eagle can be found in most states of Australia but, because they have a preference for open country, they are particularly prevalent on the Nullabor. Australia’s largest bird of prey, the Wedge-tail Eagle has a wingspan of up to 2.3 metes, making it one of the largest eagles in the world. Wedge-tail Eagles are mid brown in color with reddish brown heads and wings, and grow darker as they mature. The birds are spectacular to watch in flight and have a soaring altitude of up to a mile. They build nests from dead sticks up to 4
Our train compartment......spacious, no?
feet across, 9 feet deep and 800 pounds in weight. Their diet consists largely of rabbits (30-70%) with lizards and small birds also favored. Flocks of Wedge-tail Eagles have been known to work together to kill large adult kangaroos. Wedge-tail Eagles are monogamous, mating with the one partner for life unless one of the pair dies.
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