When crossing Australia on the Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney, you`ll make some stops along the way. To give you a bit more of an overview, I`ve put together a list of the tours that are offered.
The gold rush, set off by Paddy Hannan`s discovery in 1893, was one of the biggest in Australian history. On this tour, you will hear the story of the largest Outback city in Australia that was built on gold and learn about the hardships encountered. Travel along Hannan Street for the heritage buildings and the history of many pubs. Visit the massive ‘Super Pit’ Goldmine, now more than 400 m deep and over 3,3 km long – floodlit in some areas for viewing at night. Kalgoorlie-Boulder has the largest population in any regional city in Western Australia and is now a bustling and expanding place that offers a contemporary and cosmopolitan lifestyle.
We arrived in Kalgoorlie late at night, which was a pity as we didn`t quite see the big impression the Super Pit would have as seen during the day. Especially when you learn during the tour that the Super Pit can be seen from space and is so big it would fit Uluru! When traveling on the Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth, you will see it in daylight. It`s still interesting to see and I enjoyed the visit to the Mining Hall of Fame that has some of the trucks that are being used at the Super Pit there for you to see and even climb. Standing next to these does make you aware of how big the equipment is that`s being used.
Self guided walk of Cook. Cook is a railway station on the standard gauge rail line from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie with no inhabited places around. The town was established in 1917 when the railway was built and was named after the sixth Prime Minister of Australia, Joseph Cook. The town is on the longest stretch of straight railway in the world, at 478 kilometers from Ooldea to beyond Loongana. Cook is the only scheduled stop on the Nullarbor Plain for the Indian Pacific. The bush hospital is closed, the swimming pool is empty but Cook still has the ability to spark your curiosity.
At noon, we arrived at Cook for a short stop. You`ll only be here for about 30 minutes, but that`s sufficient to see this ghost town. You`ll find a map in your cabin that shows you were everything is, so you can explore the town yourself.
Here you have a choice of 2 tours:
Stand at the memorial statue of Colonel William Light and look over the neatly laid out city seeing the vision for Adelaide just as he did. From here see some of the best views of Adelaide and the world famous Adelaide Oval. This excursion will encompass some of Adelaide`s best known tourist attractions, including St. Peter`s Cathedral – a beautiful historical building… and the North Terrace cultural precinct, home to two universities, the Art Gallery and State Library.
Adelaide Central Market
Right in the heart of the city of Adelaide sits the largest fresh produce market in the Southern Hemisphere. At 140 years old, the Adelaide Central Market has been known worldwide as the Australian epicenter of food, culture and lifestyle.
I decided to take the City Sights tour to get a feel of the city. You`ll arrive into Adelaide early in the morning. The tour takes about 1,5 – 2 hours and also includes a stop a the Haighs chocolate factory, which as a chocolate lover, I could appreciate. I would have loved to stay a bit longer in Adelaide as seeing from the tour it looks like a city with beautiful buildings, parks and lots to offer. I hope to be back here someday to fully explore the city, the tour is just a teaser.
Broken Hill is an isolated mining city in the far west of Outback New South Wales, located near the border of South Australia. It has been called the Silver City, the Oasis of the West, and the Capital of the Outback. One thing you can be sure of is that Broken Hill looks like a classic Outback town, with big country pubs on wide street corners for sharing a drink and swapping stories under deep blue skies.
Here you have also 2 choices:
Pro Hart Gallery
Paris, New York, London and Broken Hill. You might not think it, but this town`s art scene could rival those of the biggest art capitals in the world. An artist that represents the cheeky and colorful charm of Broken Hill, the late Kevin ‘Pro’ Hart`s gallery is not to be missed when in town. At the gallery there`s not only a wide selection of his signature paintings but also hundreds of works by an impressive lineup of artists including Claude Monet.
The Palace Hotel
Famous from the comedy ‘The adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert’.
Because the Pro Hart tour provided a quick tour around the city, I opted for the Pro Hart Gallery tour. It`s a lovely gallery where you can browse three floors with art and not to forget admire the cars outside.
For your off train excursions: bring sunscreen, walking shoes, insect repellent and a hat.
I very much enjoyed the stops along the way, giving me more insight in these places where you otherwise might never stop (think Cook). It was a pity that some of the places were visited late at night, not giving you the full experience, like with the Super Pit, but unfortunately that has to do with the timing of passing. You have to see the tours as a little taste of each place so you can return to your favorites to explore them for a longer period.
Tours are included in the price if you travel in Gold or Platinum Service. The italic paragraphs are copied from the brochure you receive in your cabin.
I traveled as a guest of Great Southern Rail for review purposes, but all opinions are my own.