6:00am – got woken up by the train manager on the PA system wishing us a good morning and to let us know of the days plans. We were due to arrive in Broken Hill at 7:10am, but due to a delay at Ivanhoe while we waiting for an oncoming train to pass, we woke up to be told we were running an hour late. This meant the cancellation of the tour of Broken Hill, which disappointed a few people. We hadn’t planned to go on the tour anyway, so it didn’t bother us. What did bother us though, was that because of the change in plans, they chose to fit first breakfast in before we got to Broken Hill. That meant we had to be in the dining car at 7am to be fed. I really could have done with a couple more hours of sleep !
Leanne had enough time to squeeze in a shower before breakfast too. Surprisingly our shower is actually not that squeezy – it’s quite comfortable to use and a decent height with some good hot water too.
7am – 8am
Breakfast was a choice of fruit and pastries, or a cooked breakfast – bacon, scrambled eggs, hash brown, tomato. We both chose the cooked breakfast – was a bit dry but tasty none-the-less. Some toast and jam to finish with and we were ready to hit the streets of Broken Hill.
Due to a trick of “train time” we managed to fit breakfast and a shower into the half hour before we arrived in Broken Hill. All times announced on board are given in “train time”. So when they say we will be arriving in Broken Hill at 8am – that is 8am train time. Train time changes as we travel through various timezones – but not until they say it changes.
When they put the announcement out over the PA about a change in train time, all previous time annoucements are adjusted accordingly. This resulted in the announcement about us arriving in Broken Hill at 8am actually changing to 7:30am just as we were pulling in (due to the change from EST to CST in Broken Hill). Hence the magic gaining an extra half hour we didn’t think we were going to have from original annoucements.
The whole concept of “train time” is a little disconcerting for those of us who have a pretty good grasp on our timezones and how to calculate travel times when crossing them. But to stop confusion and make it as easy as possible for all the passengers, I guess just letting ourselves go with their system will be the best thing to do.
We pulled into Broken Hill just after 7:40am CST, grabbed some warm clothes and headed off train to stretch our legs. Wandered the length of the train taking some photos in the early morning light (sun was just above the horizon by this time). Headed down to the main street of Broken Hill as well to take some more photos, and popped into the local newsagent which was open, bought a copy of the FIN and an APC Mag too. By the time we walked back and took some more photos of the train, it was time to board again.
8am – 9am
Saw our first Kangaroo about half an hour out of Broken Hill – or perhaps it was a wallaby, it certainly was small and grey.
mmm… two more, quite a bit larger… definitely kangaroos – or else very large wallabies !
Fired up Leanne’s iPod as a distraction while Leanne had a snooze on the bed. Sitting in one of our lounge chairs, facing the window, watching the world go by (enless, treeless plains actually !). Time to start writing a diary of our trip I think – this is what I’m doing now.
Large flock (herd ? gaggle ?) of emus fleeing from the great-silver-snake disturbing their peaceful Sunday morning.
9am – 10am
Passed through Olary. Lucky I didn’t blink.
10am – 11am
Several more flocks of emus, one very large one with several dozen younger birds running down a dirt road.
11am – 12pm
Countryside changes quite a bit – we’re now into cropping districts not just grazing land like we’d seen for the last few hours. Missed Yunta – must have blinked. Disappointed.
Eventually we pass through Peterborough. Interesting seeing it from the train point of view – I’ve seen it many times from the road and while on foot, given my grandma used to live there, and I have an aunt and uncle who still do.
12pm – 3pm
Watch the world go by over lunch – pass through Jamestown (I have a cousin who lives there), Gladstone, where we briefly stop to pick up some passengers.
3pm – 7pm
Pull into Adelaide right on time just after 3pm. Gather our stuff and head off the train to be met by Leanne’s father on the platform. Head over to the terminal building where we meet up with Leanne’s mum and both of my parents too. We stand around for a while deciding what to do with our time before heading over to a coffee shop on Hutt Street for afternoon tea together – spend a couple of hours talking before going for a walk around some of the streets near the east-parklands and then heading back to the terminal. Finally board the train around 6:20pm, taking the opportunity to show off our cabin to our parents. Sit around chatting for a bit longer before the announcement requesting guests to leave the train prior to departure. Train eventually pulls out around 6:45pm, heading back north towards Port Augusta. Was wonderful to spend some time with our parents – even if only a couple of hours.
7pm – 9pm
Dinner in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant again – another scrumptious meal.
9pm – 11pm
watching the world go by again. Train stops a few times for lengthy periods, probably to let other train traffic pass.
Now that our direction of travel has reversed, it is a little more convenient for us, since we can sit on the bed and look slightly forwards – makes watching the world go by easier.
11pm – 12pm
Eventually pull in to Port Augusta – quite late I think. Don’t stay for all that long, I had been snoozing on the bed for a while, so I don’t go out – just sit in the cabin with the lights off looking at the sights out the window. Pull out but then stop again on the other side of town for another 10 minutes or so. Once we finally get going again, I sit and stare at the stars as they get brighter the further we get away from the lights of civilisation. Quite spectacular scenery in the night sky. Head to bed and manage to sleep really well.
Towns/major sidings travelled through today: (asleep) Condobolin, Ivanhoe, Menindee, (awake) Broken Hill, Mingary, Olary, Mannahill, Yunta, Peterborough, Yongala, Jamestown, Caltowie, Gladstone, Crystal Brook, Rocky River, Snowtown, Nantawarra, Mallala, Two Wells, Bolivar, Dry Creek, Adelaide, Dry Creek, Bolivar, Two Wells, Mallala, Nabtawarra, Snowtown, Rocky River, Crystal Brook, Coonamia, Port Germain, Mambray Creek, Winninowie, Stirling North, Pt Augusta, Spencer Junction.