A few days ago, I had the absolute pleasure of travelling on the Indian Pacific train from Adelaide to Sydney. And I had such a fabulous time that I want to encourage everyone to try this mode of travel across Australia at least once.
I first started looking into travelling on the Indian Pacific a few months ago when my boyfriend and I decided to move to the Sunshine Coast. Being a blogger I didn’t really have any urgency to get across. And I wanted to come by a more adventurous manner than flying. However, I had unfortunately left it too late and the train was fully booked for the time I wanted to travel.
So I flew across. But I kept obsessing over how cool it would be to get to travel by this method. Especially after my dad told me stories of how he travelled on it as a kid because my Nonno worked on the railway lines.
I knew I would eventually end up back in Perth for one reason or another so I kept it on my radar. And thankfully, the opportunity arose. I was back in Perth for my sister’s wedding and didn’t have to be back in the Sunny Coast by any specific date. So I decided to look into the train again.
And this time there was availability for the dates I wanted to travel.
Sadly, the train departs Perth on Sundays and my sister’s wedding just so happened to be on a Sunday. But rather than give up on the trip completely. I decided to meet the train in Adelaide and complete the second half of the trip. Turns out this was a good decision. As a freight train derailed on the railway line and that meant the Indian Pacific was stuck in Perth. But they had another train in Adelaide ready to go so it worked out perfectly for me.
So, what’s it like travelling on the Indian Pacific?
For me, it was an absolute delight. And it seemed to be the general consensus from all the people I spoke to along the trip. From the moment you check in at the terminal in Adelaide Parklands you are taken care of. There are so many Indian Pacific staff waiting to greet you. They take your luggage through to the reservations team and your bags are breezily checked in. From that point on, your purse can be safely tucked away as you won’t need it again until you hop off the train in Sydney.
Absolutely everything is covered, and nothing goes amiss. In the terminal waiting area you can help yourself to complimentary pastries, tea and coffee, water, or even champagne if you’re more partial to a morning drink. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the sounds of your country musician to keep you entertained.
Boarding the Indian Pacific
Just as expected, we were invited to board the train right on time. My excitement mounted as I walked down the railway platform to find my carriage. The first thing I noticed was just how big the train is. It hadn’t actually dawned on me until I was standing right next to it and trying to find my section.
Here’s some fun facts I discovered about the size of the Indian Pacific.
- The average length of the train is 774m (includes two locomotives and 30 carriages)
- Its average weight is 1400 tonnes
All the staff were so lovely and welcoming as they pointed me in the right direction. I came to my carriage and hopped on board. And this was the moment it hit me, I’m about to be travelling on the Indian Pacific.
On Board the Indian Pacific
I climbed aboard and started the walk down the corridors in search of my cabin. Doing so, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in an old school movie or novel. And a sense of nostalgia washed over me. We put so much emphasis on getting to places quickly these days, that the old world appeal of travel has been lost. But to me, the journey to a destination is just as special.
That’s why I chose to take a 25 hour train ride instead of a 2 hour flight.
When I told people I was travelling on the Indian Pacific to get back to the east coast, some said it sounded boring.
What would I possibly do for all that time? Safe to say I kept myself pretty occupied by simply staring out the window and taking pictures most of the time. In between meals, excursions, and chatting to people in the lounge area, this was my absolute favourite way to pass the time.
This is actually why I LOVE travelling by train. You get to see all the things you wouldn’t see if you were on a plane. And if you were driving a car you’d see the stuff but unless you stopped your car every 5 minutes you’d never be able to capture all the images.
And Australia has such diverse and incredible scenery. I seriously can’t think of a better way to see it all.
Cabins on the Indian Pacific
When travelling on the Indian Pacific you have a choice of 3 room types. Platinum Service, Gold Service Twin Cabin or Gold Service Single Cabin. I was in a Gold Service Twin Cabin which gave me a little extra room to move. But if you were in a couple this would still be more than enough room.
And between excursions you’ll probably end up spending most of your time in the lounge and restaurant areas anyway.
The Indian Pacific cabins take you back to a time when travel was a luxury, not a necessity. Wood panelling and old-fashioned upholstery set the vibes for a classic rail journey. The cabin designs are resourceful with every space being used well, but in a way that is still comfortable for the passenger.
What to do on the Indian Pacific
Not so long after you board the train, one of the friendly cabin crew will come and greet you and personally explain how things work. They’ll also tell you where to find things on the train and confirm which excursions you’d like to do. Between Adelaide to Sydney there’s two options for excursions. One in Broken Hill (where you can choose from the Main Drag, the Big Picture or the Regional Art Gallery) and then if you choose you can see the Blue Mountains before being dropped in Sydney.
Then the lovely restaurant manager will come to confirm your meal times.
After that, you’re pretty free to roam about and do as you please. Carriages are defined by letters and divided into sections with a restaurant and lounge area. The lounge area is accessible at any time of day and you will be escorted through to the restaurant at your set meal times.
A huge appeal of travelling on the Indian Pacific is the lack of wifi and phone service.
At first this was a little hard to swallow. Considering I need to always be sharing my adventures on social media. But, once I settled in I actually really enjoyed the disconnection.
And guess what it created… an environment for real life CONNECTION. Go figure?!
Between chatting to people in the lounge. Or being randomly paired with people at dinner. You had a great chance to really connect with people and learn their stories. I loved listening to one couple sharing their tales of growing up on farms that we actually passed along the way. Another man talk about the farm which has been in his family since 1869. A couple who had flown from England to visit their son who has been living in Australia for the last 6 years. I was probably a few years younger than a lot of the passengers but it was so interesting talking to them. Learning about their previous travels, their families, their life experiences.
And something even cooler. When I shared my work as a blogger, they were genuinely interested in what I do. To a lot of them this is something really different and it was so refreshing to see what I do from a different perspective.
This kind of connection is something I’ve never experienced on plane travel.
Here’s one lovely couple I met in the lounge – Charlie and Veronica King – who asked me to take their picture. And said they would follow up on my blog post. If you’re reading this, it was a pleasure meeting you both. And Veronica, I passed through Leura and Katoomba on our Blue Mountains excursion and both were as beautiful as you said.
Eating on the Indian Pacific
Now to the really good stuff… if you know me, you know I’m a huge foodie. And my oh my, I was warned to bring my appetite, but even my expectations were well exceeded.
This is fine dining at it’s absolute finest. You’re told to wait in the lounge area a few minutes before your selected meal time. Once there’s a few people the restaurant manager will take you through to the Queen Adelaide Restaurant and seat you with a few other passengers. This is totally at random and is a great way to meet new people at every meal. It’s a very cute and intimate setting.
Now for the actual food. On the Adelaide to Sydney trip you have 3 sit down meals. Lunch and dinner on day one, and then breakfast the following morning. Each meal has a set menu with 2-3 options for you to choose from in each section (entree, main, dessert). Drinks are constantly flowing no matter what time of day it is so you can choose whatever you like to accompany your meal.
I don’t want this blog post to become just a post filled with images of food, so if you want to see everything I ate while travelling on the Indian Pacific you can check out my Facebook post here.
Sleeping on the Indian Pacific
By day your cabin is a private lounge area, and for night it converts into a bedroom. When you’re out for dinner you can leave a sign on your door to let the cabin crew know you’d like them to make up your bed. And by the time you get back your room will have transformed.
Whilst it’s been a while since I’ve slept in a single bed, I found it comfortable enough. I mean, I’ve slept on enough planes, and this was a dream compared to that. Some people have issues sleeping with the speed and bumpiness of the train but I didn’t really have a problem. The only thing that was of slight discomfort to me was the air-conditioning being too cold and I didn’t have a jumper to warm up. I’m sure if I had asked, the crew would’ve brought me some extra blankets. But I didn’t want to disturb them and I still managed to get a decent sleep.
**The first picture is how my room actually looked. The second picture was me pulling out the top bunk to show you what it would be like when two people are sleeping in the room. From what I’ve seen, if you wanted a double bed for a couple you can get this in the Platinum Service cabin.
Waking up on the Indian Pacific
This was one of my favourite parts of travelling on the Indian Pacific. I slept with my window shades open so I could see outside. I was hoping to see the stars at night but slept right through that. However, I did wake up to the most beautiful sunrise shining through my window and that was the main reason I kept it open.
It was also a lovely surprise waking up to see green rolling hills and countryside. A stark and beautiful contrast to the red dirt and outback scenery from the day before.
Departing the Indian Pacific
In the morning you have the option of getting off the Indian Pacific and spending the day exploring the Blue Mountains. In which case the company will charter a private train to take you back to Sydney at the end of the day. It’s about a 2.5 hour journey from the Blue Mountains to Sydney.
They will keep your luggage and have it waiting at the station for you ready to collect as soon as you arrive.
Or, if the excursion doesn’t appeal to you. You can stay aboard the Indian Pacific and go straight through to Sydney. I chose to do the excursion which I will share all the details about in another post. But in terms of the train, organisation and comfort. Some people might be a little sad not getting to finish the trip aboard the Indian Pacific. But I’ll choose an extra excursion over that little luxury any day.
And the way it was organised with the private charter was wonderful. The train was still comfortable, and the readiness of our luggage was perfect. Everything ran perfectly well without a hitch.
All in all, I had a truly wonderful experience aboard the Indian Pacific and I’m already looking into when I can do other rail journeys around Australia. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a much more relaxed and comfortable way to travel. It’s a true bucket list kind of experience I think everyone should have.
What will travelling on the Indian Pacific set you back?
Costs for travelling on the Indian Pacific range from $619 to $4,799. This depends on many factors such as high or low season, advanced or standard booking, and of course cabin type.
To some this may sound expensive, especially when you factor in how quick and easy it is to just fly across Australia. But keep in mind, this is an experience. It’s about the journey, and from the moment you check in absolutely every aspect of the journey is covered.
From your travel, accommodation (for the nights you’re on the train), all meals, free flowing drinks, excursions and exceptional service. Everything is carefully taken into consideration to ensure you have the most wonderful experience.
For more details or to book your own journey with the Indian Pacific you can go right here: https://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/trains/the-indian-pacific
And to learn more about the off train excursions you can go here: https://www.greatsouthernrail.com.au/trains/the-indian-pacific/off-train-excursions
As usual if you like what you’ve read please feel free to like, comment, or share. Your support means the world to me.
**Please note, this trip aboard the Indian Pacific was a sponsored trip thanks to Journey Beyond. However all opinions and experiences in this post were real and are my honest feedback. I do not get any payment or kickbacks if you do book a trip with them. I am simply sharing because I had a wonderful time and would like others to experience this for themselves**