Riding the Indian Pacific

John’s dream of travelling across Australia on the Indian Pacific is being clouded by doubts that four days on a train is too long. Today, Lee Mylne outlines the itinerary to set his mind at ease.

Q. John
I’ve always been keen on taking the journey from east to west on the Indian Pacific but wonder if three nights and four days on a train would be too much? Alternatively, can I break the journey up along the way and if so, how would you suggest it’s done?

The Indian Pacific is a great train journey, and one you’ll thoroughly enjoy, John. I’m a big fan of riding the rails, and I really don’t think you’d find it boring to be on the train for four days at all. But that’s just me!

The journey is designed so that there’s plenty to see and do along the way, including time off the train. Platinum and Gold Service passengers have a choice of ‘off-train’ excursions included in your fare, or as optional upgrades – and I think this is a great way of making the most of the whole experience.

indian pacific

After the first night on the train (you don’t leave Sydney until 3pm), you spend a couple of hours in the morning exploring Broken Hill and then continue on to Adelaide. You then get about six hours in Adelaide before the overnight trip westward continues and can either take a tour of the city or head to the Barossa Valley for some wine tasting.

On day three, you have a couple of hours in the evening at Rawlinna – a tiny station on the Nullabor Plain – five hours drive from Kalgoorlie, the nearest town. The rail stop is on the edge of the sprawling Rawlinna sheep station, and guests in Platinum and Gold Service can disembark for a roast dinner under the stars (or stay on board if you prefer). Another amazing stop is at the deserted station at Cook, where you have time for a walk around to marvel at this outpost in the middle of nowhere. 

indian pacific

Image: Australian Tourism 

Arrival in Perth is at 3pm on day four … and I think you’ll find there’s been plenty to see along the way, as well as the opportunity to meet and talk to fellow travellers, read, or – if you’re like me – just gaze out of the window at the passing outback landscape. It’s certainly not ‘four days on a train’, as you can see.

The Indian Pacific offers several package options that also allow you different choices, depending on how much time you have or would like to spend in each major city along the way. Whichever you choose, I’m sure you’ll find this a very memorable trip!

Read more at Great Southern Rail

Have you travelled on the Indian Pacific? Do you have any tips for John?

Do you have a travel question for Lee? If so, email your Travel SOS to [email protected]

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Written by Lee Mylne


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