The Great Train Journey

Trip Start Jan 06, 2010
Trip End Mar 12, 2010

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Where I stayed
Atlantic Tower Motor Inn Glenelg

Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday 7th February 2010

After breakfast I went to pay my bill, only for my M & S credit card to be declined! Embarrassing or what, luckily my Barclaycard was accepted. It still being the middle of the night in UK the M&S help line was closed. What was the point in ringing them up before I left UK to give them my itinerary? OK moan over!

I made my way to East Perth Railway station to catch the Indian Pacific Train to Adelaide. No sooner had I settled in my cabin we were called to lunch, after which we were given a welcome on board speech and a free glass of champers. We were fed again at 6p.m., a proper 3 course meal, and very nice it was too.

The train's first stop was the Gold mining town of Kalgoorlie and I bought a coach ticket for the late evening tour, which wasn’t too bad seeing it was dark outside. The one impressive feature was the "Super Pit" The Fimiston Open Pit, colloquially known as the Super Pit, it is Australia's largest open cut gold mine.  The Super Pit is located on the south-east edge of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in WA.  It is approximately 3.5 kilometres long, 1.5 kilometres wide and 360 metres deep. At these dimensions, it is large enough to be seen from space. The mine produces 850,000 ounces (28 tonnes) per year of gold, and employs around 550 employees directly on site. Australia is the 2nd biggest producer of the world’s gold behind China.

Once back on the train we were told to wind our watches forward by an hour so it was 0130 by the time we got to bed, and although being tired I was kept awake by the jolting of the train.

Monday 8th February 2010

I was woken up by the cabin attendant with a nice cup of tea.  I had a full Australian breakfast, the same as a full English but with twice of everything!

As we got deeper into the Nulaboor Plain the scenery got sparser and sparser. The highlight of the morning was passing the Indian Pacific coming the other way and crossing the border into Sothern Australia! I gave lunch a miss as I was still stuffed from breakfast!

The highlight of the afternoon was a stop at Cook, which was an old railway workers town, when the railroad was first being built; it even had its own school and hospital which have long since closed down.

It now has 5 inhabitants who ruin the small gift shop in aid of the Flying doctor service, and provide water for the trains, and not forgetting the 5 million flies! It was very hot at 41.7C, so most of us didn’t loiter long and headed back to the coolness of the train.

Tuesday 9th February 2010

The train pulled into Adelaide at 0720, after adjusting our watches for the second time; we are now 10.5 hours in front of UK. It was a real experience and gave you a taste of just how big Australia is! I collected my case and caught the transfer bus to the airport to collect my hire car. A very nice Toyota Corolla, I hope I don’t hit any Roos on the way to Melbourne.

I drove to Glenelg, which is a small seaside town just South of Adelaide, and checked into the Atlantic Tower hotel. I was told my room wasn’t ready, well it was only 9 in the morning, so I went for a walk round town and had a coffee.  I received a text message from the hotel to say my room was ready (nice touch)!  I got unpacked, had a shower and a sleep, still train lagged! I went out for my evening meal and I had a nice sea food platter and a couple of beers. The King prawns are King about 6” in size.

Wednesday 10th February 2010

I had a lazy morning lounging about reading. Oh and I did manage to get through to M & S credit card help desk and asked them why my card had been declined in Perth. There answer was that the hotel used an old fashioned card reader and not a chip and pin one. What a load of b******s.They were extremely apologetic and said it wouln't happen again.

I had a walk into town to buy some fresh fruit and water but soon retreated back to the air conditioning of the hotel. It was 37C, too hot for me, only mad dogs and Englishmen etc...

This evening’s treat is a nice steak from Fiery Joe’s washed down with the obligatory couple of pints of draught lager.  I then went for a walk to the end of the pier (No not a long walk off a short pier), and took some photos of the sunset.

Thursday 11th February 2010

I had breakfast and read the local paper which reported that Cliff Richards and the Shadows had put on a great show last evening and that there were still some tickets available for this evenings show. So after breakfast I got online and managed to secure a ticket.

As I am moving on in the morning I thought I had better catch up on my washing, drying and ironing. After which I drove into Adelaide and picked up my ticket for this evening. The last time I saw Cliff Richards and The Shadows live was 1963 on a day trip out from The Army Apprentices School Harrogate to Blackpool and we had to wear uniform, which in those days was BDs (Battle Dress)! Anybody remember how itchy they were?

The next episode from your roving reporter will be from Melbourne in about a week’s time... TTFN
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