Our stay in Perth was all too short. Would that we could have stayed longer, but we had a train to catch.
The iconic “Indian Pacific ” leaves Perth only once a week, taking three and a half days to cover the Four Thousand Three Hundred and Fifty Two kilometres and three time zones to Sydney, on the East Coast. We were leaving at 10:00 am on New Year’s day.
Travelling in Platinum class on this very well run line is a great way to observe 16 different landscapes of this vast and beautiful continent in leisurely comfort. You can sleep off the jet lag in your own cabin, freshen up in your own en suite shower and enjoy fine dining and complimentary bar service in the Platinum lounge and restaurant car. Our crew were fantastic. Very helpful and friendly, and our fellow travellers in cars P1 to P3 were a sociable bunch.
I had not appreciated just how diverse the Country is. Leaving Perth and its green suburbs, with familiar names such as East Guildford, and Northam, we crossed vast arable farmland and fields of golden wheat into the harsher rust red environment of mining country , with fewer towns, and less familiar, and more unusual names, such as my personal favourite; the rather suggestive, Koolyanobbing.
Koolyanobbing is the sort of place where they say it straight. In the UK, when it comes to road traffic safety and signage, we may see signs such as “Drinking and Driving costs lives” or “Slow Down” (which are clear enough, albeit not particularly emotive), but nowhere else but here, have I seen official road signs reading:- “Don’t be a tosser! “. You really would not want a traffic violation here.
Western Australia is rich in mineral resources, mining everything from iron ore and gold to uranium. Our first stop in the evening of day 1 was at the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie -Boulder , 595 Kilometres East North East of Perth on the Western fringes of the Nullarbor Plain. Taking advantage of an off -train excursion, we visited the Super Pit, an open mine, 3.6 kilometres wide, operating 24 hours a day since 1989, with the biggest diggers and tipper trucks in the World. Grandson would be very happy to see them.
A re-enactment by two am-dram enthusiasts, of the founding of the town by an Irish gold prospector and a woman whose role was difficult to ascertain, was received politely…….
Then, back on the coach, back to the train, off to bed and on through the night.