It was on ‘my list’ and the ATE Conference in Adelaide gave me the exact opportunity I’d been waiting for.
I flew to Perth, my favourite city, I could almost call home, and I boarded the Indian Pacific in excited anticipation of the journey ahead.
We left Perth in the late afternoon, and soon after dinner we reached our first stop – Kalgoorlie. In it’s hay day, Kalgoorlie was a gold mining town – no-one ever gets rich quick, but the tour was fascinating and included some very salubrious homes of the ‘ladies of the night!’ We also went to take a look at Kalgoorlie Super Pit – a large, no huge, opulent goldmine. Everything here is on a gigantic scale – the diggers alone comfortably sat our whole group of 15!!
After our literal pit stop here, we were back into the train, saying goodbye to the last trace of civilisation!
It’s 2700 kms to Adelaide, 3 days across one of the most unique unspoilt Wildernesses on the face of this planet. I’d brought magazines, books, my iPod and some puzzles to enjoy – looking forward to long, slow hours – stretching out and being lazy.
I was travelling Gold Kangaroo, so I had a lovely cabin by day, which transformed to a snug bed by night – and a big picture window to watch the scenery go by.
Crossing the Nullarbor is crossing the world’s biggest single piece of limestone – over 200,000 square kilometres – well, I hardly had time to get into my book, or puzzles – the huge Australian outback unfolded before my eyes. Nullarbor is from the Latin ‘nullus arbor’ meaning NO TREE – and that’s what you see – absolutely 360° of unbroken horizon and a huge azure blue sky!
In Gold Kangaroo, all your meals are included, and served in 5 star style in the restaurant car. This with lovely Australian wines passed the time in a lovely convivial atmosphere. Afterwards, a chance to mingle and meet fellow passengers over coffee and a brandy in the lounge.
I sat up in bed stargazing through my window – with no lights on the Plain, the sky was a canopy of brilliant stars. Despite the sound of the engine and the rocking on the tracks, I was far to excited to sleep!
But I must have fallen asleep because I was awakened by a gentle knock on the door and cup of early morning tea. Then, a lovely hot shower and a full cooked breakfast, and the start of day 2!
We called into Cook just after lunch – no platforms, and a population of 5! But it was nice to walk alongside the train, and wander around the deserted buildings of Cook. This part of the track is 70 miles – the longest piece of straight railway track in the world.
Back on the train, I settled back into the routine – enjoying the company, the food and the feeling that I was relaxing – away from WiFi, mobiles and TV!
Slowly the plains changed to the suburbs of Adelaide, and we arrived as the city woke and people were hurrying to their offices! Back in civilisation!
This journey, which I was going to say is one of a lifetime – will just be the first, next time I’m going to take the road, and do it all again!