Last week I talked about what you see when crossing Australia on a train from Perth to Sydney, but what is it like aboard the Indian Pacific? Follow along and discover what`s inside.
Where do you socialize?
You go to the Outback Explorer Lounge where you order a drink at the bar, sit back and relax. It`s also the place to get to know your fellow travelers, play a game or enjoy your drink while overlooking the beautiful scenery outside the window.
This lounge is for people traveling in Gold and Platinum Service. Since 1 April 2013 all drinks are included when you travel in Gold or Platinum. When you`re traveling in Red Service you can visit the Matilda Café where you can purchase drinks and food.
Where do you eat?
You will be enjoying your breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Queen Adelaide Restaurant, a classic styled restaurant.
There`s plenty of choice and you get presented with a menu at each meal. Lunch has two courses and dinner has three courses. The first two days the menu was the same, but you had 4 choices for your main during lunch and 6 choices for your main during dinner. The last day (from Adelaide to Sydney) the menu changes again.
All the dishes looked delicious, but I could only try so many in three days. I was pretty impressed by the plates that were served, the presentation and the flavors knowing they only had a kitchen on a train. What I appreciated most was that you could choose from Australian products like beef from South Australia, salmon from Tasmania or chicken from the Yarra Valley in Victoria. All the wines were Australian, from Margaret River in Western Australia to the Barossa Valley in South Australia and many more.
They ask you to reserve a time for your meals, which is a good thing, as this way you don`t have to wait long to be seated at the restaurant. They seat you together with others, giving you the opportunity to get to know other people traveling on the train.
When you`re traveling in Gold and Platinum Service all food and now also drinks are included. When traveling in Red Service you can purchase food at the Matilda Café. I paid a visit to the Café and saw they sell pies, sausage rolls and breakfast, lunch & dinner. For example there were 3 dinner choices, each for 13.90$*.
There are three restaurants and two bars.
Where do you sleep?
When you`re on a train for 3 days and 3 nights it`s quite important where you sleep. I traveled in Gold Service and slept in a Twin Share Cabin. So what does that look like?
There`s a tiny en-suite bathroom with a toilet and shower with complimentary toiletries awaiting you on your first day.
I had a look at the Platinum Service and this is what you can expect:
*different linens and towels
* bigger room
* afternoon tea in your room and an alcoholic drink at night
* step-in shower
* own key card, whereas the Gold Service doesn`t have one
There is one more service aboard the train, called the Red Service, which is a seat for yourself and you share showers and toilets.
What does it feel like spending 3 days and 3 nights on the Indian Pacific?
I have to admit, I don`t think I could do this trip in Red Service with just a seat for 3 nights. You do have the same beautiful scenery as the rest of us, but having the privacy, your own shower, a bed and nice meals, make this journey so much more enjoyable. Our cabin was big enough during the day, as you can sit back and relax, look out the window and if you want some more space you just enjoy a drink at the lounge. At night, the single bed was comfortable and big enough for me, but I`m tiny, so I can`t speak for example an adult tall man. If this train trip was longer than 3 days I would consider paying more for a double bed and a bigger bathroom.
The food was delicious, varied and beautiful presented. I preferred having the reservation instead of open seating like we had one time, as the wait can be long as you have to wait to be seated and people go at the same time.
The overall experience for me on the Indian Pacific was relaxed and had a peaceful vibe to it as you go through the gorgeous and varied scenery. You have your own privacy if you want, but at the same time you can mingle with others at the lounge and/or restaurant.
The only thing missing for me was either an open viewing carriage like on the TranzAlpine in New Zealand for photos and to take in the scenery. Or maybe a carriage with a glass roof, again to take in the scenery.
Who is this train journey for?
- People who love cruising as it has a similar feeling to it: you travel while you sleep, you see lots of places in a short amount of time, and you get to know your fellow travelers.
- People who prefer a relaxed way of traveling. There`s no stress when checking in, no lines, everything is so relaxed and when you arrive, you arrive at the train station in the city center.
- People with time, we have to be honest, you can do the same journey in a few hours flying, but trust me you won`t have the same experience.
- People who appreciate this way of travel as some might find it boring, expensive or too long.
- People who don`t like flying.
- People who love nature, as you see the different scenery across Australia.
- People who want to have a unique experience.
What others aboard said:
It`s a relaxing way of traveling – Loved the socializing, felt like one big family on a trip – Beautiful scenery
Some Practical Tips
- Check-in the latest an hour before departure. We were able to board 25 min before departure.
- If you`re taking electronic devices, such as laptops, that connect to 240-volt power on the trains you should also pack a surge arrester. There are 3 sockets in the Gold Twin Share Cabin.
- Pack medicine and things you need in an overnight bag, as you will not see your checked luggage until after the trip
- As for dress code, go with smart casual. People like to dress up a bit for dinner as they`re on their holiday. Also bring a cardigan or something similar, as the air-conditioning can be cool in the evenings.
Interested in experiencing this train journey yourself. The Gold Service Twin, I traveled in, was AU $2420* from Perth to Sydney. The Platinum Service is AU $3890* from Perth to Sydney. The Red Service day/night seat starts from AU $840*, but you might want to check out the rail passes, as they offer a special deal in this service. For Gold and Platinum Service there are Advance Purchase Fares which offer a discount when you make a booking at least 6 months in advance.
*Prices accurate at time of publishing
I traveled as a guest of Great Southern Rail for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.