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We spent a peculiar four days and three nights crossing Australia from Sydney to Perth. The trip included days of being glued to the train window watching the scenery as it went from tall trees to flat, dry, and empty, liberally dotted with kangaroos and emus. On the other hand, we took this trip to enjoy a number of interesting stops along the way. Due to a breakdown before we ever boarded, we didn’t get any of those opportunities that were such a large part of our decision to take the train. Never mind the downside, the view out the windows was fascinating!

The land became drier and drier as we moved west. The soil ranged from red to white.Water for irrigation is running out and we saw recently abandoned grapevines.

Salt flats between Adelaide and Tarcoola.

We got off the train for a few minutes at Broken Hill, which has interesting train murals. Twenty minutes was just enough time to walk up and down the platform and get some fresh air.

Our next stop was Adelaide, and it was dark when we arrived. The final stop during the journey was Kalgoorlie, where we had an hour to stretch our legs. By then, our third full day on the train, everyone was happy to disembark for a while. We strolled around in the early morning light.

 

Life on board the train was not uncomfortable, though it did get to be a lot of the same sights after three days of constant motion. There were only a couple of places where the route turned and let us see the cars ahead.

It’s always fun to eat in the dining car of a train, making meals an event. The food was good, and the company excellent. Having Lyra with us made it more fun. The three of us made a winning trivia, team, too.

Outside the train, especially in the late afternoon, we saw kangaroos browsing as they watched us pass. There were emus, hawks, and other birds, though we did not see any feral camels, despite spending many hours looking out the window. The sunsets mixed orange sunlight with blue, gray and white fingers of cloud in patterns that changed as we watched. We arrived in Perth after dark, the last kangaroos long since passed. Disembarking was a bit like emerging from a space ship might be. We set down in another landscape, completely different than what we had been seeing out the window. Perth is a large city, and we had to re-engage with reality, find a taxi and go pick up our rental car. Our days of staring out at Australian landscape now over, though well worth the time spent.

If anyone is interested in the story of how our Indian Pacific trip ended up with minimal stops, leaving Sydney late and arriving in Perth late, I’d be happy to tell you.

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