end of the line

We awoke on the last day of our transcontinental rail journey to blue skies and a verdant landscape.


The Nullarbor Plain was behind us and our destination, Perth, was merely hours away. While enjoying our breakfast in the Queen Adelaide restaurant car, the vista suddenly changed. We were passing what appeared to be massive salt lakes


and the heavily clouded sky emitted an eerie glow.


The lakes seemed to stretch for miles, yet, despite lengthy searching, I can find no reference to them.


By lunch time, the scenery had changed again


and before long we were passing through the wheat belt,


the outer suburbs of Perth and finally, East Perth Railway Station.


Toward the end of our third day on the Indian Pacific, the Nullarbor Plain, that had kept us company for so long


started to change.


As the sun descended to the horizon


the sky awoke with colour.


Soon after sunset, we arrived at a railway siding at Rawlinna Station. With 70,000 sheep on 8,000 sqkm, Rawlinna is the largest sheep station in Australia.


By the light of a spectacular moon,


hurricane lamps


and fire pits,


we shared platters of barbecued meats and roasted vegetables while our resident musician entertained us with Aussie favourites.


The train stayed close, her warm glow welcoming us at the end of a wonderful evening.



After two days of train travel, we were well and truly relaxed. The vastness of the Nullarbor Plain was boggling.


On the longest straight stretch of railway line in the world (478 kilometres) we suddenly saw signs of life.


We had arrived at the town of Cook, the last outpost before crossing into Western Australia.


The street sign didn’t mention that Perth is 1,500km and Sydney nearly twice that distance.


Established in 1917 when the railway was built, Cook was once a thriving town with a school, hospital, golf course and shops. The railways were privatised in 1997 and there is now a permanent population of four who remain to service the trains that pass through. We had some time to stroll around the town, the abandoned buildings are sadly neglected.

The houses


had some interesting garden ornaments


and the paths and parks had been maintained.


These two old gaol cells didn’t look very comfortable,

16.old gaol cells

I think you would soon be deep fried in the desert heat

and the thunderbox looked a little worse for wear.


In 1982, 600 trees were planted around the town, the event commemorated in stone.

There was more of Cook to discover but it was time to board the train and continue across the Nullarbor to Western Australia.


rail recollections

This year we crossed another item off our bucket list. Having seen those TV programs of trans-continental train journeys, we thought how nice it would be to just relax on a train and be transported from one side of the country to the other. One Wednesday in August, we flew to Sydney to experience our own 4,352km rail odyssey. Arriving at Central Station early, the engine of the Indian Pacific was waiting patiently at the platform.

We checked in our luggage and walked into the city for some lunch. When we returned, the carriages lined both sides of the platform.


We sipped beverages and nibbled canapés while being entertained for an hour or so prior to boarding.

We found our cabin

and made ourselves at home

as we left Central Station behind.

Once our carriage attendant had familiarised us with the routine and off-train excursions, we made our way along the corridor,


through four carriages, to the Outback Explorer Lounge.


Many an hour was whiled away and a few bevvies imbibed in the comfort of the lounge.

I finished the book on the journey and left it behind for others to enjoy. The superb meals were served in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant and it was a great way to get to know our fellow travellers.

While we were out, the cabin elves created a cosy bedroom.

There was only one thing left to do after a long day.