Once I decided on Australia for my next vacation, everything else appeared to be less of a problem to solve. I had ten days off from work, and I made a plan to explore and feel the vibe of the cities, but also to enjoy the quiet wonders of this island continent. In the end, my journey would take me 4352 kilometers from Sydney to Perth on the Indian Pacific Train.
Since I was to spend a couple of days on a train, I wanted to get the taste of city life first. I began the morning in Sydney, wandering along the streets of Kings Cross and having fun exploring the artisan shops. I also eagerly sampled locally brewed beer and great cuisine. It’s easy to eat well in Sydney, because many places offer a great variety of international dishes. I didn’t have much time to while away a day at the beach, but I had a pleasant afternoon at Sydney Harbor.
Tired but happy, the following day was an out-of-this-world hike in the Blue Mountains, and it was the best idea ever to take a Blue Mountain tour. Other than the animals, music and culture, the one feature that remains vivid in my memory is the region’s amazing eucalyptus forest. Though the thought of eucalyptus as a flavor initially comes to mind, this was the first time I had the chance to see these towering trees in nature. The hike was a truly unforgettable experience, with visits to waterfalls, the Three Sisters rock formation and Australia’s own ‘Grand Canyon’. The trip also included a visit to the village of Leura, whose manicured gardens offer the perfect place for meditating.
My journey on the Indian Pacific continued to Broken Hill, a mining town that speaks volumes of history and provides a peek into the life of small-town Australia. Typical, quaint pubs full of locals crown every corner, and I loved soaking up the warmth of the community and breathing in that country air. After the majestic beauty of Sydney and the refreshing nature of the Blue Mountains, a day here afforded a different yet welcoming experience.
I then boarded the train for the next 24-hour stretch of my trip. To pass the time, I opened Alessandro Baricco’s Land of Glass, a novel in which the author dwells on innovation, transportation and, ironically, trains. For 520 kilometers, I enjoyed both the fairy tale setting and the landscape that surrounded us. My preoccupation with the fictional story and the reality of the extensive countryside made the trip to Adelaide go by rather quickly.
I enjoyed a relaxing, walking-tour of the city, but my favorite activity was, unsurprisingly, a visit to the National Wine Centre. Lucky for me, I had enough time to savor some delicious food and local wine.
By that point of my trip, I had experienced it all—stunning nature, big cities, a small town and the extensiveness of the Outback—and I wondered what else was awaiting me. The answer to that appeared in my next destination: The Nullarbor. The name reflects its Latin origin and translates as “no trees.” The train sped through these seemingly endless and barren plains of southern Australia the entire day, creating one of the oddest but most self-reflecting moments I had, for which I am truly grateful.
On the final day, I arrived in Perth at lunchtime, which offered a great opportunity to taste and compare the cuisine with that of Sydney’s. In the end, it was impossible for me to decide which was better. Despite my limited time in Western Australia’s capital city, I decided to follow the advice of a fellow traveler and go out of my way to visit the nearby port city of Fremantle, with its trendy shops, buzzing cafés and a lively atmosphere. Overall, it was a good tip.
Australia offers visitors an amazing array of sights to see and activities to do, and it would be unwise to go there without a good and detailed plan. The smooth train trip across this vast country is a unique and exceptional experience. The service on the Indian Pacific is excellent, accommodating for all its passengers’ needs in order to create a very memorable journey—and it certainly was.