Friday, September 2, 2016

Another domestic adventure 2: the train

We are big fans of train travel, it's an excellent way to see places without having to drive in unfamiliar territory. But we have never done a train trip in Australia, until now!

The Indian Pacific is named for the two oceans it connects. A four day, 4,352km journey that takes you from one side of Australia to the other. You travel the longest, straightest stretch of railway track in the world as you cross the Nullabor Plain, which is in stark contrast to the beauty of the Blue Mountains.

Nullabor 02

Departing from Perth, our first stop was in Kalgoorlie, which is home to the staggering 3.6km wide Super Pit - an open-cut gold mine that has yielded riches 24 hours a day since 1989.

Those mining trucks are unbelievably big:


Kalgoorlie 05

(Sorry, no photos of the pit itself, it was too dark!)

The next stop is a town called Cook, and calling it a town is a bit of a stretch of the imagination. It's actually an abandoned town and serves only as a fueling stop for the trains that pass through on their long journeys across the continent.

Here's our train:


The next stop was Adelaide, it was freezing cold and pouring with rain so there are no photos of that lovely town. The final stop before heading into Sydney was Broken Hill.

This is not actually what Broken Hill looks like, but what it is surrounded by:


We went to the regional art gallery in Broken Hill and were highly impressed by the collection there.

After leaving Broken Hill we travelled through the night and next morning into Sydney. The trip through the Blue Mountains is very picturesque.


All in all it was a great holiday. The train travel was really fun, although sleeping on a fast moving train, even in a bed, is always challenging. It's a great way to see the countryside, and you get to eat excellent food and drink wonderful drinks along the journey!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Another domestic adventure

So back at the end of June we went to Perth (Western Australia) for a few days, before boarding the Indian Pacific train (train trip details in the next post).

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency and it was quite nice. Centrally located and easy to get to everything.

The main activity on my list for Perth was visiting Rottnest Island, home to the world's cutest little animals, the quokka. Rottnest Island is lovely and well worth the visit if you ever get the chance. You can walk around or there is a small train that pootles along.


To get there you can get a ferry from Perth, or do what we did and go by helicopter, which is much faster and way cooler. We travelled with Rotorvation Helicopters and if you ever need a helicopter flight somewhere in the Perth area, I highly recommend them.


I mean, can you even?


Even sleeping on their heads they are adorable!


So with that awesome task done, we decided to have a couple of days of artiness. We visited the Perth Mint, which was very interesting. The Mint provides premium gold, silver and platinum products and services to markets throughout the world. You can see gold bar pouring demonstrations, and an interactive experience allows you to realise just how heavy gold actually is. Definitely recommend a visit.

We also visit the Art Gallery of Western Australia, which has the finest collection of Australian Art that I've seen in one place. Also well worth a visit.

The other notable experience we had was dinner at a restaurant called Wildflower. Holy cow the food was amazing, the setting was lovely, and the service was impeccable. You should absolutely go there if you are ever in Perth.

After a few days in Perth it was time to head to the train station for the second part of our holiday, travelling on the Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney.