Although I was quite young when I left England, I have fond memories of holidays to the seaside. I think Scarborough Beach is where I first fell in love with donkeys. & Sally the donkey

I just had to re-visit while we were in Yorkshire, although the donkeys were keeping warm elsewhere until summertime came around again. Tourists have been flocking to Scarborough since the 17th century when healing waters were discovered and a spa was opened. The beautiful sandy beaches are divided into two bays, the north bay being the more peaceful end of the resort.

2.North Bay, Scarborough

The colourful beach huts have stood the test of time, with 166 being the largest collection in the North of England. The pyramid shaped structure in the distance is the Sea Life Sanctuary. More than simply an aquarium, it is a centre for rescuing and breeding creatures of the sea as well as being an important educational facility. The huge apartment complex is The Sands, five-star luxury that certainly wasn’t there in the 1960s. Personally, I prefer the character of the gorgeous guesthouses on Queen’s Parade.

3.Queen's Parade Scarborough

A high rocky promontory separates the north and south bays

4.Headland between North & South Bay

upon which are the ruins of the 11th century Scarborough Castle. The castle has been developed into a fascinating tourist attraction but, unfortunately, at the end of October most of these national monuments are closed for the winter.

5.Scarborough Castle

We didn’t visit south bay and the old town, it is the main tourist area with a long, sandy beach, cafés, amusement arcades and theatres. Instead, we drove to Whitby and then across the Yorkshire Moors back to Harrogate.

6.Yorkshire Moors

We watched the steam train of the North Yorkshire Moors heritage railway as it carried passengers through twenty four miles of Yorkshire’s stunning scenery. Maybe next time we’ll hop on board.

7.Yorkshire Moors

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.


wilderness & wine

The second day of our transcontinental journey on the Indian Pacific was spent relaxing, reading and watching the scenery pass by.

There were sporadic signs of human habitation in the otherwise desolate landscape.


The terrain changed the further we travelled through South Australia

and just north of Peterborough, the fertile green fields of farmland contrasted with the barren outback.


Passengers can commence their journey in Adelaide, where the train stops for supplies and welcomes a new crew. This allows a few hours to enjoy an off train excursion to the National Wine Centre. Built in the year 2000 in the shape of an oak barrel, it has won many architectural awards.

We were taken on a Wine Discovery Journey, beginning with the open cellar.

With the capacity to store up to 38,000 bottles, it is one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

The ‘Wined Bar’ would be a lovely place to linger, with 120 different wines to sample in one tasting room.

We were introduced to the technology, varieties and styles of wine

as well as this 150 year old Shiraz vine, painstakingly extracted from St. Hallett’s vineyard in Tanunda.

We made our way back to the dining room, passing some interesting art pieces,

to indulge in canapés and a delicious dinner – with wine, of course. A rainy night greeted us as we left the wine centre

and boarded a coach to return to the station.

I think a good night’s sleep was had by all.