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Journey Beyond on the Indian Pacific

Indian Pacific 4
Indian Pacific 6
Indian Pacific 8
Queen Adelaide Restaurant 1
Queen Adelaide Restaurant 2
Gold Class 2
Gold Class

Journey Beyond on the Indian Pacific

story by: Tom Ricketts

The Indian Pacific is one of the world’s great all-inclusive rail journeys. Traversing the width of Australia from Sydney to Perth and vice versa, it’s one of the few true transcontinental rail journeys, and one of the longest in the world too. Only completed in 1970, the route is remarkably young and was built in a time where New Zealand’s own rail services were being cut back to the bare minimum we have today. What makes the Indian Pacific so successful?

A big part of any rail journey is the scenery, and the Indian Pacific certainly won’t disappoint! You can start off in Sydney and have views of the skyline as you make your way out through her suburbs. The lush valleys full of fruit and crops eventually give way to the once impenetrable Blue Mountains. Here the train zig zags her way through the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage listed site, known for its soaring forest clad granite peaks. Get your first taste of the Outback in Broken Hill before travelling through the vineyards of the Barossa Valley to the city of Adelaide.

From Adelaide, the scenery is distinctly different. You’re now on the Nullarbor Plain, a vast expanse of open desert which stretches halfway across the continent. You’ll have plenty of time to take in the empty, but somehow still amazingly beautiful desert as you travel on the longest stretch of straight rail found anywhere in the world. Australia’s immense mineral wealth is greatly apparent when you reach Kalgoorlie, home to some of the most intense mining in the world. Then finally you’ll chug along the banks of the mighty Swan River, life blood of southwest Australia and the city of Perth.

There’s three levels of service available aboard the Indian Pacific. There is the basic Red Service which is pretty much just a seat, but considering it’s a four day journey, we recommend opting for the Gold Service as a minimum. With Gold Service you have your own private cabin equipped with a three seater couch, large window, and best of all, private ensuite facilities including toilet and shower. At night the couch converts into bunk style bedding with all pillows and ‘doonas’ (Australian for duvets) provided.

For the ultimate experience, upgrade your travel to luxurious Platinum Service. The Platinum Service cabins are double the size of Gold Service and have ample room to get up and walk about. You couldn’t swing a kangaroo in them, but possibly a wallaby. Of course you have your own private ensuite with toilet and shower, but the best feature is the bed which converts to a proper double or twin configuration. Meals can also be served in cabin.

Whether it be cheese from Margaret River, a nice oaky Barossa Valley Merlot, fresh fillets of barramundi or even a succulent kangaroo steak, you’ll find it aboard the Indian Pacific. Only the best locally sourced ingredients are used, and all your meals and drinks are included in your fare. Everything from a simple continental breakfast to five course culinary extravaganzas are whipped up by the talented onboard chefs daily.

Gold Service travellers have access to the ornate Queen Adelaide Restaurant, this car is decked out with gorgeous décor reminiscent of old world trains. It’s a full a-la-carte menu service, so sit back, relax, and let the waiters and chefs do their thing while you sip on a flute of bubbly. Afterwards, perhaps retire to the Outback Explorer Lounge, a casual bar style car, and get to know some of the other travellers over a night cap. Platinum Service has all of the above, but with the added advantage of having your own private dining car with full fine dining service, or the ability to have your meals served to you in your cabin.

You didn’t think we were going to have you cooped up for four days in the train did you? Definitely not, there’s sights to be seen! At various points along the journey the train will stop to restock and refuel, enabling you to get out and do one of the ingenious Whistle Stop Tours. In Broken Hill you can learn about the town’s rich mining history during a visit to the impressive Broken Earth Memorial. You can even leave the train to sample some of the country’s best wines in the charming vineyards of the famous Barossa. Or perhaps dine under the stars out in the middle of the vast Nullarbor Plain. All the touring options are included in Gold and Platinum Service.

At certain times of the year it’s also possible to do a stopover in Adelaide. Arrive in the city in mid-afternoon on a Thursday and be transferred to your hotel. You can then have three nights in Adelaide, or mix it up with a night in the Barossa, McLaren Vale, or even Kangaroo Island before jumping aboard again on Sunday afternoon and heading for Perth.

So there you have it, an amazing array of stunning scenery, magnificent gourmet meals, fine wines and luxurious service, all wrapped into a single rail experience; the Indian Pacific.


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