Indian Pacific Railway - Sidney to Perth

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March 2nd 2008
Published: March 2nd 2008
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The TrainThe TrainThe Train

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 StationSydney Central StationSydney 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 runDave on the runDave 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
Train CrewTrain CrewTrain Crew

Ready to take of us for the next few days.
many stars at night sparkle and light up the sky.

Australian Trivia:

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 homeOur homeOur home

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.

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


Train sceneryTrain scenery
Train scenery

The scenery constantly changed....all you had to do is wait..
Vast emptinessVast emptiness
Vast emptiness

But great to look at!
Dining with Bill and SheilaDining with Bill and Sheila
Dining with Bill and Sheila

Great dinner companions!
Train cuisineTrain cuisine
Train cuisine

Some great entrees on this trip.
Lounge carLounge car
Lounge car

Good place to relax, drink, and meet interesting people...
Train sceneryTrain scenery
Train scenery

The following photos are courtesy of Bill and Sheila
Change is constantChange is constant
Change is constant

You had to keep watching as the scenery changes came along..
Mesmorizing vistasMesmorizing vistas
Mesmorizing vistas

You can sit and watch for hours on end....

Fine cuisine is headed her way!

2nd March 2008

Seeing our country by computer
Hello Dave and Merry Jo, I have enjoyed your travel blogs. Fantastic to see our own country from our computer. We've seen many of these places but certainly not all. Love your descriptions and pics. Take care, Loris Day Daysy Hill Country Cottages ( You stayed here in Port Campbell Victoria - remember the 12 Apostles).
2nd March 2008

Train ride!
Hi Merry Jo! Your train ride was so enjoyable and I have learned so much about Australia from your enjoyable commentary as you two travel! I so admire you and Dave for taking this time off for a fantastic journey the past few months. Every Blog takes me along for a wonderful adventure. All is well here in Columbia, SC. I plan to stay on this assignment through May or June before moving on. Write again when you can! Love, Susan
3rd March 2008

Glad you're enjoying it all!
Hey Guys, I'm enjoying seeing Oz through your eyes. Since we met in Ulara I have read your blogs. Its great seeing everything without leaving my office. I can't wait for Barbara and I to go on another trip. The Sidney to Perth looks awesome. COntinue having fun and keeping us updated. Take care. She
3rd March 2008

Howdy, My mom (Geri) gave me your blog to follow as I'm a traveler too! Based here in Edinburgh, Scotland I've hit the road a bit over the past few years. I wanted to say 1) your blog is very well done, 2) I'm behind a bit, but it still looks like you are having fun, 3) Are you traveling with your computer? and finally 4) Was wondering if you'd been tallying the budget along the way...? I've just added your blog to my reading list so you may get a few new viewers. Melinda
10th March 2008

Enjoyed your description and pictures emensly . . .keep them coming,
26th May 2010

really nice information ,
29th June 2010

this project
This project beholds the exact need of australian local city transportation
25th October 2013

Good memories
Dave and MJ, Thanks for the MemJog. It was just last year, or so it seems, that we were on the train. The cabins were like playing house in the treehouse as a kid, very memorable. I can close my eyes and bring back the smell of the red land and with that I think I will wash it away with a Fat Tire. Toast to good friends like you. Bill

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