Tracey travels on The Indian Pacfic

Staff member: Tracey // Trip date: Feb 2012

Thursday

We were picked up for a private tour from our hotel just after 8.30am. Prime Mini tours are a small company that offer both shared and private tours throughout the Adelaide wine regions.
Our driver, Hannah was lovely and very knowledgeable. We headed off towards the McLaren Vale region where we were to visit 6 wineries and have lunch at one of them.

Before arriving at the first winery, we stopped at a lovely little cafe called Blessed Cheese. Here we had morning tea. This consisted of a cheese/fruit platter and muffins. We also had juice and water.
After about 40 minutes, we got back on the small bus and headed to the 1st winery. Here we were shown through the buildings while the staff explained how the wine was turned from grape to liquid form and bottled for consumption. We even got to taste a drop or 2.

Then it was time to head off to the next winery for more tastings and a stroll around the grounds.
We arrived at the 3rd winery where lunch was provided. This was a platter of local delicacies including cheeses, meats and relishes. And of course, more wine.

The afternoon consisted of a beautiful drive through the hills and a stop or two at some more wineries.
Arriving back to the hotel just after 5.00pm.

Friday

We arrived at the Parklands Terminal at 9.00am to meet Matt, our GSR host who was coming with us on our little jaunt from Adelaide to Sydney.

Upon arrival, we had a chance to look through the terminal and meet some staff, before heading out to the platform. We walked down to the motorail area and Matt explained how the cars were loaded on to the carriage and why we can't book above a certain height for some trains. This is due to overhead power lines and tunnels.

We then got to walk through the train before all the other passengers boarded. Some of the cabins we couldn't look through because pax travelling from Perth had occupied these. We got a bit of a behind the scenes peak at the galley, Red Day Night and Red Sleepers and Gold singles.
We had gold twin cabin for sole occupancy for our overnight trip. This was complete with own shower, pull out toilet and wash basin, full length mirror, closet and bathroom amenities kit.
Just before departure, the train staff gather all guests to the main platform area where they do a little welcome and introduce themselves. Then it's all aboard and away we go.

We departed about 15 minutes later than scheduled time but this was soon made up for and the lateness wasn't an issue.

The cabin attendant came around and introduced herself and explained the features of the cabin and how to use the toilet. She also advised that as this was a small train, not many carriages and only 39 pax, including us in Gold, only 1 meal sitting was required.

The four of us, myself, 2 girls from the NZ office and the GSR host, had a little chat in my cabin before heading down to the lounge where morning tea was to be served shortly. The bar was in full swing and the oldies were in their element.

Some jaunty little tunes were playing and Indian Pacific memorabilia was available for purchase.
In the lounge, guests have access to board games and a small library. There is also power sockets to charge laptops, phones etc.

The attendant soon announced it was time for morning tea. Hot scones with fresh jam and cream were handed around along with tea and coffee. Soft drink and wine were available for purchase.
After this we headed off to Red Lounge to see what was going on there. Walking through Red Day Night Sleepers is a bit like a mine field. You never know what you might walk over or on. While great value for money I did prefer Gold cabins.

Once making our way through the Day Night Sleeper carriage, through the cafe car and out to the other side, we found the Red Lounge. This is only for Red Sleeper pax to use and it is really rather cosy. Day Nighters cannot use this lounge.

The red sleeper carriage would be ok for a night. We headed back to gold and played a game of trainopoly.
Before you know it, it's time to eat yet again. We had a 2 course meal for lunch and it was delish.
After lunch, we headed back to the lounge for a while and then went to our cabins for a nap before the whistle stop tour in Broken Hill.

Announcements are made about an hour or so from Broken Hill advising pax that if they would like to do the tour, please head to the bar to book and pay.

On arrival into Broken Hill, there is a bus waiting to take pax around for the 1.5 hours. Personally, I found this to be a bit dull and could be revamped to include the Royal Flying Doctors as this is a major way of life in the outback. A brief visit here would not only allow visitors the chance to understand and appreciate the way of life on the land but also the chance to see the amazing work the RFD's do.

Soon it was time to head back and board the train. Once everyone was on board again and we departed, it was soon time to head to the Queen Adelaide restaurant car for dinner.
We were treated to a magnificent 3 course dinner and an even more magnificent view from the large picture windows.

There is a certain old style glamour to dining on a train as we travelled past the Menindee Lakes at sunset. A plethora of Australian wildlife, Kangaroos and Emu's dot the horizon and this makes for a great sight for international tourists on board.

As there was only the one meal sitting, we had a bit more time to enjoy our meal and watch the sun go down. Everyone on all the dining tables were chatting to new friends and taking in the outback view. It's a great chance to meet fellow travellers from all over the world and a few share stories and a few laughs.
After dinner, we headed back to the Gold Lounge and played scrabble for a few hours before heading to our cabins.
During dinner, the staff onboard go through each cabin and change from day to night time configuration and the cosy bed is all ready to jump into.

With the gentle rocking of the train and a full tummy, sleep comes easy. I left my blinds open so I could watch the outback stars and this also proved to be handy for morning time as when I first woke up, I was looking out to the majestic Blue Mountains. It is a beautiful way to start a day.

Saturday

Passengers have an option of getting a wake up coffee/tea delivered to the cabin before brekkie but I opted not to do this.

I got up and showered before heading back down to the Queen Adelaide restaurant for a 2 course breakfast. And just like the previous meal, the scenery was picture perfect.

There are 2 choices for each course and it is a hard decision to make. Fresh fruit platter or cereal for first course followed by either 'The Great Australian Breakfast' or banana bread and dried grapes. Tea/coffee and a large variety of juices were also on offer.

Once breakfast was over, we headed to our cabins to pack our small bags as it would soon be time for us to arrive into Sydney.

We spent the last hour in the lounge relaxing and chatting. I didn't want it to end, I was having a great time.

We finally arrived into Sydney and disembarked. I was ready to hop straight back onboard and do it all again. I was sad it was over so soon and cannot wait to do it again.

I can honestly say that the Indian Pacific is one of the best trains I've been on. As the saying goes, you really do 'cross a land that you'll never get over'!

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