Day 4 of the “Ultimate Australian Rail Holiday” Saturday 21st May 2016
We are now “as one” with the rhythm of the train and its life on board. We look forward to each meal, wondering what choice of delicacies will be on offer. We enjoy the variety in the company, and have discovered there are twelve of us who have signed up for the “Ultimate Australian Rail Holiday” package. I enjoy a brandy and dry before dinner, and am working my way through the wine list – beverages are all inclusive, only top-shelf spirits are additional. Our cabin is comfortable, and the staff responsive. The rocking, rolling, dragging and stopping of the train is variable, but we have discovered that showering on a moving train is not that difficult. I also discovered that the bottom bunk is more comfortable than the top. It is wider, and somehow more “encompassing”, like being in a cot at sea, but both bunks enable a good night’s rest.
As we slept away our third night, vast expanses of Western Australia rolled past our window unobserved. By breakfast time, we have reached Southern Cross (see map above) and have a “mere” 370 km (230 mi) to our destination. Not that the driver is rushing this section. We are not due into Perth until 3pm, and the scenery becomes more picturesque as we get closer, winding through the bushland of the Perth Hills. It goes on for much longer than I expected, and I am not sure if that is because they are so extensive, or whether we are at low speed.
4352km (2700 mi) after leaving Sydney (NSW) we finally arrive in Perth (WA).
The 2016 pop of Australia = 24.17 million. The State of Western Australia consumes about one-third of the land mass of Australia, yet its population is only 2.6 million, 75% of whom live in and around the capital. . Perth is closer to Singapore and Jakarta than it is to Australia’s federal capital, Canberra. It was colonised in 1829, about forty years after the First Fleet landed in Sydney. It was the last state to cease transportation of convicts, with the ultimate vessel being the Hougoumont, arriving in the Swan River Colony (Fremantle) on 9 January 1868 with 279 convicts aboard. (source: Convicts of Australia website).
Perth is renowned for sunny skies and a generally dry climate, so it is our luck to arrive during a rain deluge. Since we will be here for four nights, I take advantage to do some washing, order room service and jump into my pyjamas for a night snuggled in front of the television.
However! I have been to Perth before, and on that occasion I wandered around with camera in hand, recording the action in the city streets, strolling through a park filled with beautiful sculptures and unusual drinking fountains, and watching the sun set down by the river. For a person raised on the east coast of Australia, sun setting over water is very disorienting the first time you see it. Anyway, it’s cheating I know, but here are some photos from that 2007 trip:
For Reference: We booked our tour through the Australian Holiday Centre.