Crossing the Nullarbor on the Indian Pacific
The desert heat enveloped us as soon we stepped off the train. Rust red earth with a sparse covering of low scrub stretched in every direction as far as the eye could see. Just a smattering of abandoned buildings broke the endless flat terrain: we had arrived in Cook, with its resident population of just 4 people. This ghost town sits in the heart of Australia’s Nullarbor Plain; a desert area twice the size of England. 27 hours had passed since we first rattled out of Perth on the Indian Pacific train.
Celebrating 50 Years of the Indian Pacific
The Indian Pacific celebrates 50 years of operation next year. Crossing Australia from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, this 4352km journey traverses the longest straight stretch of railway in the world, right through the heart of the vast Nullarbor Plain. As well as an outback stop in Cook, the journey also includes time to learn about gold mining past and present in Kalgoorlie. You explore the city of Adelaide and meet Broken Hill’s colourful drag artists before completing the 4-day adventure in Sydney.
The train itself is something to behold – its 29 carriages stretch 3/4 of a kilometre in length and weigh a total of nearly 1400 tons. No wonder the kangaroos bounded safely away from the tracks at our approach, disappearing towards the horizon with a characteristic skip. Grazing cattle, sheep and wild horses also raised their heads as we rumbled past.
Back on board, we chatted to new friends over a gourmet dinner as the desert rolled past the windows. After a final night being gently rocked to sleep in my comfortable cabin we reached Adelaide. This is where my rail journey ended some 44 hours after leaving Perth. I sadly disembarked and waved goodbye as the Indian Pacific continued on to her final destination in Sydney without me
Want to follow in Liz’ tracks? Crossing a continent from ocean to ocean, the Indian Pacific is one of the world’s longest and greatest train journeys. Get in touch with our Travel Specialists for more information.