IT had been on the bucket list of things to do for some years, to travel across Australia by train, so finally Elizabeth Adams of Numurkah decided to make the dream a reality.
The train was The Indian Pacific. The journey would start in Perth and travel across the Nullarbor, before finally arriving in Sydney.
Elizabeth was joined by her cousin, Beryl Auld from Sydney for the trip. They booked Gold Class, which gives you a private cabin with ensuite facilities.
The train offers five star service in its dining cars and great views as you cross Australia coast to coast.
Elizabeth says the Nullarbor is an exciting experience and with its wide open spaces, it makes you appreciate just what a big country this is.
The bright, blue skies and vast expanse of desert covered in spinifex and the occasional stunted tree has a stark stillness to it that draws you in.
The Indian Pacific has been plying this route for over 50 years. Starting back in 1917, the rail tracks were laid but there were three separate gauges. The one standard gauge was completed in 1969 and in 1970 the first The Indian Pacific train left Sydney Central Station for Perth.
The train’s name is made up from the journey from the Indian Ocean at Perth to the Pacific Ocean Sydney. The Wedge Tail Eagle, which has a huge two metre wing span, makes up the trains emblem symbolising the wings spanning the continent.
The journey is three nights, four days or 65 hours to cover a distance of 4,352km one way.
There are many stops along the way including Kalgoorlie, Cook, Tarcoola, Broken Hill and Port Augusta, and more. At Kalgoorlie, Elizabeth and Beryl enjoyed a night tour of the town and mine under night lights.
At Cook, it was a chance to enjoy the solitude of the Nullarbor. Staff from the train set up trestle tables so passengers could enjoy breakfast under the clear and cloudless, blue skies, where the average temperature was 28 degrees.
Cook is an interesting town. It’s a stop to refuel the train but the town only has a population of four.
At Rawlinna the stop is on a million hectare sheep station and the red soil and deep, blue skies capture your imagination.
Elizabeth says the food on the train is excellent. Evening meals gave you a choice of three items for entrée, main and sweets.
At Broken Hill they were taken to the Palace Hotel and entertained by Drag Queens. It seems that Pricilla Queen of the Desert lives on, and it was a fun night.
As they entered NSW, they travel across the rolling plains of Goulburn through the Blue Mountains and finally to their destination in Sydney.
Both Elizabeth and Beryl could have done it all over again. It was tempting just to turn around a retrace their journey back to Perth.
This is not the first train journey Elizabeth has done. Some years back she and husband, Jock did The Ghan and it was equally exciting.
Elizabeth would like to thank Ashleigh at Helloworld Travel in Shepparton for arranging everything and would fully recommend train travel as an exciting way to see Australia.
Until next time,