ALL ABOARD THE INDIAN PACIFIC!
The Hogwarts Express has been found in Australia. I repeat, The Hogwarts Express has been found in Australia. Ok, so it might not start at Kings Cross Station in London and finish at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but the journey from Sydney to Perth on the Indian Pacific is magic. DAY ONE All aboard! The Indian Pacific departs in Sydney and arrives in Perth, or vice versa. Arriving at Central Station in Sydney in the early afternoon, we lined up with other passengers and checked in. Taking in the Indian Pacific as we walked down the long platform, we couldn’t help but feel like we were on Platform 9 ¾.
Staff with a glass of champagne warmly greeted us as we stepped onto the train and into the Gold Cabin Lounge. Sitting back on the comfortable couches, I thought, “I could get used to this.” After an hour or so of relaxing and getting to know the other passengers, our train started to move. Hurrah! We were off on a wild adventure across Australia.
Shortly after the train started to move, our host greeted us and showed us to our Gold Class cabin. The gorgeous little twin cabin consisted of a long couch which transforms into two single bunks, coffee table, snug ensuite bathroom with a toilet and shower, and a huge window to watch the scenery roll by.
Dining is taken very seriously on the Indian Pacific with all meals being booked and allocated a specific time in advance, with the exception of breakfast. Dinner later in the evening consisted of a heavenly three-course meal with all beverages, including alcohol, and I dined on the Blue Swimmer Crab for my entrée, Murray Bridge Angus Beef Cheek for my main and Apple Tart Tartin for dessert. First class dining at its best!
After dinner we retreated back to our homely cabin where we found the bunk beds had been set up, beds has been turned down and small chocolates were resting on our pillows. Our first night was a little restless as it took some time getting used to the rocking of the carriages. I don’t usually get motion sick, however I did need some time to adjust. However it gets a lot easier the subsequent days so there really isnt anything to worry about.
DAY TWO Waking before sunrise, our train slowed into Broken Hill – our first stop. Rugging up in warm clothes, we jumped on a bus for a tour of the town. Home to famous painter Pro Hart, the tour saw us drive the streets of Broken Hill at a leisurely pace whilst the driver pointed out key buildings and sites.
An isolated mining city in the far west of outback New South Wales, Broken Hill is also located near the border of South Australia. Broken Hill is Australia’s longest living mining city and in 1844, explorer Charles Sturt saw and named the Barrier Range, and at the time referred to a “Broken Hill” in his diary.
After half an hour or so, the bus made its way up to the Miner’s Memorial at the Line of Lode mine, which commemorates over 800 workers who have lost their lives working on the mines. Following our tour, we jumped back onto the Indian Pacific and enjoyed a delicious breakfast, and lunch later in the day. Lunch was a three course meal of Native Damper Rolls for our starter, Regattas Point Atlantic Salmon for my main and Lemon Meringue Pie for dessert. Our train was making its way to Adelaide so we spent the day relaxing in our cabin, reading and looking out the window. As you do!
As the Indian Pacific teams swap in Adelaide in South Australia, and more people get on, we had a couple of hours to enjoy Adelaide in the early evening. I’ve been to Adelaide a couple of times this year already so we decided to walk around the city at our own leisure instead of joining the Central Market tour. We did, for obvious reasons, have time to visit Haigh’s to stock up on chocolate. Time went really quickly and before we knew it we were back on the train enjoying another three-course dinner. Fabulous!
DAY THREE When travelling on the Indian Pacific, the train stops at Broken Hill and Adelaide in South Australia, as well as Cook and Kalgoorlie in Western Australia before finally resting in Perth. Out of these stops, we were most excited about Cook. However, before arriving at Cook our train drove through…the Nullarbor! Meaning ‘no trees’ in Latin, the Nullarbor is Australia’s flattest segment of land and crossed South Australia and Western Australia. It was a sight to behold!
After breakfast, we arrived at Cook in Western Australia to much anticipation, however we sadly only had 20 minutes to explore. Many of the other passengers, ourselves included, wished we had more time to roam around this quaint outback township of…four people. We were all just so excited to visit this slice of Australian outback paradise.
Essentially a ghost town, Cook was formerly closed in 1997 when the railways privatised and the new owners did not need a support town in Cook, although diesel refueling facilities remain, as does overnight accommodation for train drivers.
Running around crazily trying to explore the town and take as many photos as possible, we felt as though we had taken a step back in time and could easily imagine what it would have been like living there so many years ago.
Before long, the train driver blew his whistle and we were summoned back onto the Indian Express and made our way over to Kalgoorlie, not before enjoying another long lunch and three course dinner. Arriving in Kalgoorlie in the very late evening, we jumped off the train and onto a tour bus where we were shown the main sites of the town and taken to a viewing platform at the top of the town to view the mining area.
Looking down over the mine in the middle of the night was eerie to say the least, if anything it looked like a scene from Avatar with the machinery, lights and noises. Following this we jumped back on the bus and went to the museum where we were able to clamber over old machinery and read up on the towns history. I loved it and wished we had more time! But alas, we had to get to Perth and I was feeling sad we only had one sleep left in our gorgeous Gold Class Cabin.
DAY FOUR The following morning we enjoyed our last breakfast on the Indian Pacific. Looking out the window as the scenery continued to change, I couldn’t help but feel very lucky for being able to experience the Indian Pacific. The Indian Pacific is for all ages and it was in many ways, a once in a lifetime experience. As we arrived in Perth and stepped off the train with our bags, I felt a little nostalgic for the blissful few days I’d just had.
What: Take the Indian Pacific across Australia Where: Between Sydney and Perth, and vice versa When: All year round! Contact: Great Southern Rail on 1800 703 357 within Australia | +61 8 8213 4401