Westward Ho - Great Indian Pacific Rail Tour 1998

Prologue and Preparations

26th June, 1998
20th July, 1998

Friday 26th June, 1998

Drop Cap his year, what with large expenditure last year in the New World, and the dollar heading down the tubes at a great rate (or rather a dismal rate) we decided to spend the holiday dollar in Australia. We have seen a great deal of Australia already, from the Northern Territory to Tasmania but have never been west of Adelaide. Therefore we decided on a tour of Western Australia.

Drop Cap e checked all the brochures and even considered taking the car on the Indian Pacific and driving back over the Nullarbor Plain. But in the end, my aversion to navigating and the fact that it is unfair on Mac to give him all the work and little of the sightseeing led to us booking an Australian Pacific Tour.

Perth Skyline photogaph

Perth Skyline

Drop Cap he tour we have chosen is called the "Great Indian Pacific Rail Tour", an 18 day air, coach and rail tour. We begin on 9th August, taking an early morning flight to Perth. It takes five hours. This is a very big country! We could get to New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji or Tonga with less flying time. In Perth we get picked up at the airport by the tour company and start the tour of about half the state. We will go up the coast as far as Monkey Mia (I hope the dolphins are at home), into the desert to see the Pinnacles and Wave Rock and the gold mining areas around Kalgoorlie. Then we head down to the coast again to Esperance, Albany, Cape Leeuwin and Margaret River. We will see the Tall Timber country and all in all a representative selection of the best the state has to offer. (I have obviously been reading too many brochures).

Drop Cap o get home to Sydney we will be travelling first class on the Indian Pacific train, across the Nullarbor, through South Australia, Broken Hill, the Blue Mountains and home. Mac has wanted to do the Indian Pacific trip for years and they keep threatening to discontinue the service, so we thought we would finally do it. It is part of the tour, which is pretty expensive, but will be just about all covered before we start.

Drop Cap t this time we have paid for everything major, including a night at the Airport Parkroyal Hotel on the Saturday night before we leave. It is an early flight so it is much easier, as we discovered last time, to take our luggage in the train and get a cab to the hotel the day before, than to try to get to the airport from home for 7.30 in the morning. We only have to get lunch most days (but as all breakfasts and most dinners are provided, we should not need large meals in the middle of the day. On the train, everything except drinks is included, as on the cruise ship last year. So, light lunches, film and souvenirs should be all we need to spend. I am really looking forward to it, hope the weather is good, and not too hot.

Pinnacles photograph

The Pinnacles, near Cervantes

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Monday, July 20, 1998

Drop Cap e went to Jetset on Saturday morning last, to pick up all the tickets, vouchers, itineraries etc. For once, it has all come together in good time. We had only just made up our minds to enquire about them and Annette forestalled me. I met her in Penrith Plaza last Wednesday and she told me everything was here.

Drop Cap et again, we have been given carry on bags, bright red, with "Australian Pacific Tours" on them. We have such a collection of carry on bags, Insight, Globus and now Australian Pacific. We have a voucher for the night at the Parkroyal and a Cabcharge voucher to get us to Perth Railway Station from the hotel after the tour! We have airline tickets, rail tickets, tour vouchers, suitcase tags and a comprehensive itinerary.
It is very efficient and looks very exciting.

Drop Cap ll we have to do now is decide what to pack, get hair cuts etc, clean the house and the fridge and go.

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