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Australia Trip including The Overland, Indian Pacific

Staff member: Kirsty // Trip date: Aug 2009

The Overland

The Overland travels from Melbourne - Adelaide and V.V three times per week, the journey time is approximately 10 hours.

We boarded the train at Melbourne's Southern Cross Station, the train departs from platform two. The train staff were very friendly showing us to our seats and helping to store our baggage. You can check in your large luggage no later than 35 minutes prior to the trains departure, however if travelling with small -medium size bags there is plenty of room at the end of the carriage and overhead for storage.
The train departed on time and the train manager came to tell us about the facilities and also a little bit of information about the train. The attendants were very humorous, which made the early morning a little easier to handle!

Within 15 minutes we were served a glass of orange juice and were settling in for the journey. The 1st class or Premium Red Service carriage is configured with two seats then aisle and then one seat with all seats facing forward. The leg room was incredible, I couldn't reach the seat in front of me and the seats were a very decent size.

The Second class or Red Service carriage is configured with two seats, aisle two seats, and not as much leg room as 1st class. Both classes have access to the Dining car which is very small, much easier to eat meals in your seat. The menu selection was quite good with a variety of sandwiches available as well as hot food such as pasta and risotto. Meals on the Overland are not included in the fare and are available at an additional price.

The train journey is very scenic, travelling through Ararat, Horsham, and Murray Bridge to name a few, and the gentle rocking of the train makes snoozing very easy!

Our service was running 30 minutes late so we arrived into Adelaide Parklands Terminal (formerly Keswick Station) at 6.15pm, the city centre is not far from the station so we took a taxi which was just $10.00, a shuttle service is also available.

Indian Pacific

The Indian Pacific travels from Perth - Sydney via Adelaide twice a week in both directions, it is one of the longest train journeys in the world and goes all the way from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, the train also claims the longest stretch of train tracks in a straight line at 428km while going through the Nullabour Plain.

We boarded the train in Adelaide at Parklands Terminal for an overnight journey to Sydney, the train departed at 10am, if you are checking in luggage you need to have done so by 9am, as we were only travelling with overnight bags we did not need to check in and arrived at the station around 30 minutes prior to the trains departure, boarding commenced at 9.45am.

We were travelling in Gold Twin cabins, they were a decent size, the day time configuration was a three seater couch giving you plenty of room to stretch out, the cabin attendants arrange the night time setting while passengers are at dinner. Gold Twin cabins have a private (mini) ensuite, the toilet was one of the most interesting things I have ever seen, you physically pull it out of the wall, once you are done, flush the chain and push it back into its compartment, remarkable! You then pull down the sink and push it back up again when you have finished, the shower is in the same area, when ready to use the shower you simply pull a curtain across the room and turn on the taps, a wonderful use of space!

When travelling in Gold class all passengers are invited to the lounge around 11am for morning tea which was scones with jam and cream and tea and coffee, complimentary tea and coffee can be found at all times in the bar car.

The bar/lounge car could seat around 30 people at any stage and was a wonderfully relaxing area to enjoy the scenery, it was also a lovely place to meet the other travellers and find out about the journey, not to mention keep watch for the wildlife, kangaroos, eagles, and of course sheep and cattle, we were hoping to see some wild camels but not this time and were satisfied with a few a wild horses!

All passengers are given the choice of the early or late lunch and dinner, if you choose early lunch you also sit at the early dinner, we chose the late setting which was 2.00pm and 9.00pm, the early sitting being 12.00pm and 7.00pm. The meals were lovely, you were given a choice of two options for lunch and four options for dinner, lunch was two courses and dinner was three courses. Drinks are not included in the price however there is an extensive wine list to choose from.

Once lunch was over we settled into our cabin and watched the scenery roll by, an extremely relaxing way to travel!

At 4.30pm the train arrived in Broken Hill, a mining town of about 20,000 people, the Indian Pacific stops in Broken Hill for around two hours when running on time and passengers can take the option of joining the 'Whistle Stop' tour. The tour company picked us up at the station and drove us to some of the sights of Broken Hill including the memorial for miners who have died in the mine, which is situated on top of the mine and has a spectacular view of the region. We went past various famous artists houses such a Pro Hart and Opera Singer June Bronhill. The final stop is a beautiful gallery which showcases the largest acrylic painting on canvas in the world and at 12m high and 100m wide it is a sensation and suitable called 'The Big Picture'! The gallery also offers an array of handicrafts for purchase and lots of silver jewellery naturally made with silver found in the local mines!

At 7pm the train was off again, a perfect time to relax in the bar car with the other passengers, before we knew it our dinner was being called, the dress code on the Indian Pacific at all times is Smart Casual so there was no need to change for dinner. The meal was of course lovely, the staff very attentive and displaying a wonderful sense of humour, they were all very knowledgeable about the local areas and the service went by smoothly, unfortunately the train was not as smooth and you had to be careful where you put your fork as your mouth was at times not where you thought it would be!
When we returned to our cabins the steward had made up our beds to an upper and lower berth and we had a good night sleep, it was fairly rocky on the train and a little bit noisy so passengers taking an overnight train for the first time may not have the best night sleep, however as I have taken a couple of overnight trains I slept wonderfully. We were woken just before sunrise around Lithgow with a nice cup of tea (this is optional, you can sleep in!) there was a magical fog on the ground and after it lifted a beautiful blue sky as we wound our way around the Blue Mountains, I was so glad I didn't miss it!

We were then on our way to breakfast, once again there are two services, early at 7.30am and the late at 8.30am. The menu includes a choice of fruit salad or cereal, followed by a full English breakfast.

It was then time to freshen up in the cabin prior to disembarking the train which arrived right on time at 10.15am at Sydney Central Station, an incredibly scenic journey and I am so glad I have had the opportunity to see some of Australia's outback.

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