May 5 All Aboard! (Day 221)

We were up very early, finishing up breakfast and last minute house cleaning before we packed the car and headed out to return it.

We saw our first urban kangaroos! And the first on the continent, this morning at sunrise on our way to turn in the rental car.

We caught the metro train from the airport to the central train station to board the Indian Pacific!

Our first sight of the train!

After a buffet-continental breakfast on the station platform, consisting of pastries, both sweet and savory, fruit, coffee or tea, and juice we were shown to our cabin to settle in.

We enjoyed our first glass of wine in our cabin as the train started moving through Perth!

We followed the Avon River out of the suburbs of Perth and even spotted areas with motorhomes and caravans camping along its banks.

In no time at all it seemed we were free of the urban/suburban boundary and traveling through the Western Australia Outback! We joined our fellow travelers in the lounge car to enjoy the view and meet new friends!

Our trip started at 10am and we were soon seated for lunch, the first of many gourmet meals! By sunset, around 5:30pm we were ready for our next meal, but our seating was at 6:15, oh well, time for another glass of wine!

Dinner is a 3 course affair, this is the main course. By the dessert course it was dark out!

As we all relaxed to digest our wonderful meal, at almost 10pm we made our first stop, Kalgoorlie, the iconic Western Australia (WA) goldmining boom town! Those of us choosing to take the tour, which lasts until midnight, boarded coaches and were whisked through the dark, quiet streets that echoed with the bustle of the goldmining boom of 1893! We disembarked our buses at the SuperPit, a huge hole in the ground that has been producing gold ore since the heady days of the boom. In 1989 the Kalgoorlie Consolidates Gold Mines was able to buy up many mining leases spread along the “Golden Mile” of lucrative ground, amalgamating them into one giant hole or SuperPit!

Since it was ‘a dark and stormy night’ with lightning in the distance, the view of the pit was underwhelming, so I took a picture of the signboard showing an aerial view of the pit! The huge trucks used to move the ore looked like tiny dots of light in the depths of the pit.

From the SuperPit we continued the tour to a museum based over an old mine, Hannans North Tourist Mine, Paddy Hannan being one of the miners that discovered the gold field here! We were entertained with a short play, which I didn’t understand much of, being delivered in ‘Australian slang’, or maybe an Irish-Australian accent!

The vignette of early Kalgoorlie townsite was the backdrop for the play.

The buses then returned through town, and took us along Hay street, THE most notorious Red Light District of Australia! The blurry picture of the ‘pink doors’ is the last brothel, no longer operating only recently! The Questa Casa was the oldest operating brothel in Australia! Apparently tours are conducted at 3pm daily, but there are no more after-dark services offered!

We were then deposited back at the station to board the train and climb into our beds for the first night of rocking and rolling along the rails!

The green line is the extent of travel today, from Perth to our first stop, Kalgoorlie. Overnight we will continue traveling east to reach our next stop, Cook, tomorrow!

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