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Published: November 25th 2018
We had not been on a long train journey since we went from N to S of France when the kids were small but that was only one night. The Indian-Pacific we were about to embark on was 3 nights 4 days to get from Sydney to Perth. We checked in at Sydney Central station which was easy enough. The info had told us to be there 2 hours beforehand which we duly did but then spent the time sitting on the platform. We were told there would be a welcome party an hour before boarding but a bottle of Sarsaparilla was all that materialised. This did not bode well. We were glad we had bought a sandwich on the way. However, at 2pm we were allowed to board and settle in. Thank heaven we were in a Superior double which had a small queen size bed with the option of a bunk above, two armchairs and enough space to unpack our stuff. Other cabins were tiny with two bunk beds which folded away to a settee during the day. We had fridge with drinks, tea and coffee making etc. Once unpacked a lovely male attendant called Louie came and gave
us the run down of what was going to happen. The train departed Sydney at 3pm. It is very long with 29 carriages, 200+ guests and 27 crew. We went down to the lounge carriage for a drink and to meet fellow travellers. It is red or white wine, no rose’. There is no wifi on board so one is in communicado for 4 days. We opted for the 6.45 pm dinner as we had had no lunch and sat with two “girls” originally from Yorkshire so had a great evening. The food is very good but not exceptional. The first night was patchy sleep as we got used to the rattling of the train and then we were woken at 6am in order to get off the train at Broken Hill and onto respective coaches for the 3 different tours. We had opted for the Living Desert sculpture Park which was a mistake in that there was such a cold bitter wind we rushed around the 12 sculptures and back onto the coach. Should have gone to the art gallery or mining museum Back on the train we had a late breakfast as we continued our journey through the
Barrier range with the odd Kangaroo hopping by. Lunch on the train and arrival at Adelaide at 3pm where we didn’t go on any of the official tours as we were met by old friends and taken to a wine bar for a good natter and catch up. They deposited us at 6pm at the National Wine Museum where we joined other guests for dinner. These were people who were joining at Adelaide to go to Perth. A coach took us back to the train. A better night’s sleep followed as apparently the track on the Western bit is smoother. The following day was eating reading and sleeping as the only stop was at Cook which is an abandoned town with empty houses. Only 4 people live here for 6 months to service the train with water. However, it was good to get off and stretch our legs and walk around the eerily empty place. The train passes though the Nullarbor which is Latin for no trees- an unending vista of red sand and scrub. We were grateful to have a long lunch followed by a nap! Later, the train stopped at Rawlinna which is a small station servicing a
massive sheep station. Trestle tables were arranged all down the platform by the train and we had some lovely barbequed lamb, salad and potatoes followed by a dessert and plenty of wine. Later back on the train, the bar closed early which a small crowd of us were not happy about. The time zones have changed and we have gone back in time so didn’t want to be going to bed at 9.30pm but no choice. Mind you no one got a good night’s sleep as the train stopped a couple of times overnight at remote places and there was a lot of banging and shunting about. At least the scenery changed to a more agricultural vista as we wended our way into Perth and we left the train mid-afternoon.
It was a different experience and I am glad we have done it as we met some lovely people on the way but must say wouldn’t do it again.
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