The Indian Pacific – Time To Discover!
The Indian Pacific Railroad is one of the truly great train journey’s in the world and is one of Australia’s unrivalled luxury train journeys and a relaxing way to enjoy the finest of the Australian outback, from Sydney to Perth, in a journey lasting 65 hours. If you happen to book some of the best organized tours in the world which Australia’s tourism offers, ensure India Pacific Railroad use is one way of getting around.
The railroad runs the entire length of the country making it one of the longest train routes in the world. It also passes through some of the countries best scenery. Taking the Indian Pacific Railroad will give you the chance to see parts of Australia that you would not otherwise see.
The Indian Pacific Railroad runs from Sydney to Perth. The name comes from the fact that it runs from the Indian Ocean on one side of the country to the Pacific Ocean on the other. The trip takes three days and service is offered twice a week. The train is not a particularly popular way to travel so it is not usually particularly crowded so getting seats should not present a problem. That being said around the Christmas a special holiday train is run and it can be very busy so if you want to take this trip you will need to plan well in advance.
The journey covers 4,352 kilometres, and includes stops at three great Australian cities – Sydney, the nation’s Pacific Ocean City; Adelaide, South Australia’s charming capital and Perth, the most dynamic city of the west.
The Indian Pacific also passes through rustic country towns that speak of a bygone Australian era. The coal mining town of Lithgow; Bathurst, site of Australia’s first gold rush; Broken Hill, the jewel of the outback and Kalgoorlie, the ‘Queen of the Golden Mile.’
However, most people travel the Indian Pacific to experience the mysterious Nullarbor Plain. The Nullarbor boasts the longest straight stretch of railway track in the world – 478 kilometres without a curve. See the official Indian Pacific routes near the end of this article.
Fun Facts About The Indian Pacific
Given how few people actually travel by passenger train these days you would probably expect that the Indian Pacific is just the remnant of an older service, this is in fact not the case. The line did not exist before 1970 because of the odd history of Australian railroads. Up until then there was no transcontinental route so if you wanted to get from one side of the country to the other it required several changes of train.
The reason that there was no transcontinental route for much of Australia’s history is that in the early days of trains each of the states set its own standards. The result was that different gauges were used in each state which meant that trains could not travel across state borders. This seriously limited the development of railroads in Australia. It was not until 1970 that the government finally got around to correcting the problem by introducing a standard gauge for the whole country.
These days the Indian Pacific is used mainly by tourists, it is a great way to see the interior of the country. More than ninety percent of the population of Australia lives along the coast which means that few people travel to the interior. The main reason that few people travel across the interior is that it is very hot and very barren, the train removes most of the discomfort.
Through the Indian Pacific Railroad you will be able to see things that you would never see any place else. The train runs right across the outback which is one of the most barren and desolate places on the planet. There is so little there in fact that at one point the train is able to go in a dead straight line for three hundred miles. This is by far the longest straight stretch of track in the world. The barren outback will certainly be highlight of your trip and something that you will never forget seeing.
One of the main attractions for many people who travel to Australia is the chance to ride the Indian Pacific Railroad. The name comes from the fact that it makes the trip right across the continent from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. It is in fact one of the very few true transcontinental railroads in the world, most others stop short of going to whole distance. The result is that the route has become very popular with tourists who want to see a part of the country that few people travel to.
There are quite a few unique features of the Indian Pacific that make it popular with train buffs. Besides being one of the longest train routes in the world and one of the few truly transcontinental ones it is also the straightest. Because the interior of the country is so flat and so barren the track could be built in basically a straight line for much of its route. At one point as it enters Western Australia it runs dead straight for just under three hundred miles. No other railroad comes anywhere close to having a straight stretch that long.
Overall, if you are going to take the Indian Pacific Railroad you are going to have to do a little bit of planning. The main reason is that you are going to end up on the opposite side of the country from where you started. The best way to fit the trip into your schedule is to plan your vacation to start in Sydney since this is where you will find that most flights into Australia arrive. At the end of your trip you can then fly home from Perth. The flight will probably be a little bit more expensive than flying home from Sydney but if you want to take the Indian Pacific Railroad it will be cheaper than travelling all the way back to the east coast to fly home.
Indian Pacific Service Options
Option 1 – Gold Service
Choose from a twin or single sleeper cabin. Gold Service Twin Cabins have a comfortable three seater lounge which converts to upper and lower sleeping berths at night plus a small private ensuite bathroom with toilet, wash basin and shower. Cabins are fully serviced by your own carriage attendant with fresh sheets, pillows and doonas. Cabins feature 3 pin 240 volt power points, wardrobes, full length mirror, reading lamps and small foldaway table.
Single Cabins have most of the features of the Twin Cabin including a wash basin. The showers and toilet are however, located at the end of each carriage. Complimentary welcome kits, toiletries bags and bath towels are located in all Gold Service cabins.
Guests travelling in Indian Pacific Gold Service are recommended to take an overnight bag containing all requirements for their journey in their cabin and check in all other luggage.
Gold Service Dining
Dining in Gold Service aboard the Indian Pacific is in the beautifully decorated and discreetly luxurious Queen Adelaide Restaurant Car. All meals are included in the Gold Service fare. The ever changing menus will often feature native Australian cuisine, cooked to perfection by the dedicated chefs. Excellent wines and beverages are available for purchase to complement your meal. Vegetarian, children’s and some special dietary meals can be accommodated – please request these when you make your booking.
Gold Service Lounge
The spacious Indian Pacific Gold Service Lounge and Bar adjoins the sleeper carriages and is often the centre of activity for any journey. The cosy club-like setting is an excellent place to socialise or to sit back and enjoy the passing parade of Australian landscapes. This is the ideal place to gather for a drink before dinner or for a game of cards and a nightcap with new friends.
Option 2 – Red Service
Red Service Daynighter Seat
Travelling on a budget does not have to mean cramping your style. Red Service Daynighter seating is in comfortable two abreast reclining arm chairs upholstered in woollen cloth trim. Features include generous leg room, individual reading lights and video entertainment and you can swivel seats around to face each other for a bit of socialising. Toilet and shower facilities are located at the end of each carriage. Towels and soap are provided for all guests. Daynighter Seat guests can enjoy the facilities of the Indian Pacific Red Service Cafe 828 or Matilda Cafe.
Red Service Matilda Cafe
Matilda Cafe offers a bright, cheery atmosphere where affordable, tasty meals and drinks may be purchased. You will be tempted by extensive menus offering a selection of hearty meals, popular snacks and desserts. There are limited seats for dining in, or you can take your meal back to your Red Service Daynighter seat.
Red Service Cafe 828
A licensed cafe aboard Indian Pacific offering a great range of drinks, meals, snacks and aromatic coffee. You can even order an a-la-carte meal, snack or drink from your own Red Service Daynighter seat.
Sample Indian Pacific Itinerary
Day 1: Setting off from Perth, your train climbs through the scenic Avon Valley and into Western Australia’s expansive wheat belt, before arriving late evening at your first stop in the city of Kalgoorlie.
Day 2: You’ll discover the landscape takes on a richer hue as the journey moves through the mallee scrub into the ancient Nullarbor Plain, with the landscape unmarked by the passing millennia.
Stepping off during a brief pause at Cook in the middle of the Nullarbor Plain, you will experience Australia’s vast open spaces from a unique perspective.
Day 3: Arriving in Adelaide the following morning you can choose to break your journey for a few days touring this picturesque city, or continue directly on to Broken Hill, with its countless tales of riches won and lost.
From here you’ll travel through some of Australia’s most productive farming country and into the arid outback as the sun sets. Next morning is the finale of your journey through the spectacular Blue Mountains. Naturally, you can also do this journey from Sydney to Perth it’ just as unforgettable.
Whether your final destination on the Indian Pacific is west to Perth or east to Sydney, you’ll have many opportunities to leave the train and take in some of the region’s highlights. With so many wonderful sights to enjoy, the Indian Pacific isn’t just one of the longest train journeys in the world, but also one of the most memorable.
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