Sunday, 30th September – Indian Pacific train

Got picked up from the hotel in a VERY swanky BMW limo to take us the 10-minute journey to East Perth railway station. Check-in process reasonably smooth and our bags were taken away, the main suitcases God knows where, our overnight bags to be deposited in our room (Carriage G, Room 3).

Bit of a party going on on the platform:
The train is VERY long:

Got into our room with little fuss. Very bijou:

Start as we mean to go on:
After a comprehensive explanation of how everything worked from Rachel, our cabin assistant, we went into the lounge. Bearing in mind that it wasn’t even 11 a.m. yet, the party was raucous and the champagne was being downed in quantity (this is an all-inclusive package, after all). What else could we do but join in?
Lunch and dinner were to be had in the rather nice looking dining room:
The train set off very punctually, but there were several stops out in the middle of nowhere on the way. This apparently was because there had been a violent storm ahead of the train and the signalling was quite badly affected.

The package includes a tour round the gold mining town of Kalgoorlie, and we weren’t scheduled to get into Kalgoorlie until around 9 p.m. In the event, despite the storm, we got to Kalgoorlie on time, but of course it was pitch black and there was still some lightning around. As a result, the visit to the “super-pit”, where gold is still mined, was cancelled for ‘elf and safety reasons. One wonders what one would have seen in the darkness, anyway….
We were then treated to the rather bizarre experience of a tour round this town of around 30,000 people at dead of night in a coach, having had dinner and a few glasses of wine. Not many people were really up for this, including yours truly. There was a lot of “on your left there is”, but we couldn’t see it anyway. However, the coach driver/guide was quite entertaining and full of stories about this town as the coach went around the houses and streets.
Mining operations are no longer as extensive in Kalgoorlie as they once were, so some of the old pit areas have been turned into a tourist attraction. We were treated to a 15 minute playlet telling a story about Paddy Hannan, the Irish prospector who first discovered alluvial gold here in 1893, and Clara Saunders, a girl of 15 when she first arrived in Kalgoorlie as a housekeeper. OK, I suppose, but I really wasn’t in the mood for this kind of thing, even though the story is actually interesting. Good old Wikipedia yet again:
Had a look around the site – some truly impressive and gigantic machinery:

Then the inevitable retail opportunity and delivery back to the train at around 11.15 p.m., to be greeted by our cabin made up into a double bed:
A pre-ordered gin and tonic was at the bedside, so a nice nightcap after a somewhat weird experience.

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