Sydney and Canberra

The Indian Pacific Train to Sydney (Dec 25 - 27)

We left Western Australia on the Indian Pacific train. Three days from Perth to Sydney.

Waiting for the Indian Pacific to depart from Perth

Across the platform was an old steam engine, the Bakewell. Too good to miss !

Our journey was very familiar, as we had earlier traveled on The Ghan, from Darwin to Adelaide, so the experience was very familiar, although a much longer (2704 miles) and 65 hours.

The accommodations were also very similar. This is the club car, where we would wait to go into the restaurant, or would just sit and have a drink and chat with other passengers.

We made four stops along the trip. Three included bus tours, the fourth (Cook) was just an opportunity to stretch our legs while the train was serviced.

The first stop was Kalgoorlie, at night, so the tour was in the dark. Hard to see much. Kalgoorlie is a mining town and all the small mines have been combined into one, huge open pit mine, which is worked around the clock.

The Kalgoorlie Super Mine. The mine produces about 850,000 ounces of gold each year.

Hard to get a sense of scale, but the tiny dots shown in the picture are actually huge earth-movers like this :

Caterpillar earth-mover

The next stop was Cook, in the middle of nowhere.

The middle of nowhere

Perth - Sydney signpost in Cook

Rush hour along Cook main street

The original double jail in Cook - one of the main attractions here

The third stop was Adelaide, but it was misty and raining and as we visited Adelaide on our previous trip, so there no photos worth taking.

The final stop was Broken Hill, which is another mining town. It's quite a pleasant, small town, with several nicely restored buildings.

However, the highlight of our visit was a drag show in the highly decorated Palace Hotel.

Apparently, the film "Priscilla Queen of the Desert used the hotel as a base while working in the area.

The show, which lasted about 20 minutes (long enough !). The performers didn't really seem committed to their parts so sometimes it actually felt a bit awkward. Anyway, the show included a free drink, so it was OK !

The two performers at the Palace Hotel, Broken Hill

After we left Broken Hill, the next stop was Sydney.

Sydney (Dec 28 to 2 January  2017)

The first icons which you see as soon as you arrive in Sydney are the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

Between the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge is Circular Key, which is the transportation hub for tourists in Sydney, with buses , trains and (very important) ferries going to just about everywhere in Sydney. Our hotel, the Marriott is actually in this picture (to the left of the tall blue building in the middle), so it was a great location,especially when we had to get to the Opera House on New Years Eve.

Circular Key, Sydney. Trains, buses and ferries to everywhere

We took a ferry to Manly, which is across the harbor.