IT is often said that getting there is half the fun; never has this seemed more true than when travelling on the Indian Pacific, the iconic transcontinental rail journey from Perth to Sydney.
While air travel continues its transformation from a travelling experience to a means of getting from A to B, rail travel is headed in the opposite direction.
Forget long check-in queues, security procedures and uncomfortable seating – when travelling by rail, the holiday begins the moment you board.
The Indian Pacific is celebrating 40 years since the first continuous transcontinental rail journey across Australia.
My wife and I recently boarded the train at East Perth rail station for the three-day, three-night journey, travelling in the Gold Service carriage.
While the initial reaction is to think the cabin rather small, it is actually quite roomy, with a three-seater lounge that converts into twin bunk beds, plenty of leg room, and a private ensuite.
A Platinum service is also available, with twice the space of Gold cabins, while Red Service cabins and Daynighter seats provide cheaper options.
The staff are professional and friendly, beginning with a welcome reception where they provide information about the journey and answer questions.
Information is also provided through updates over the speaker system.
Another important part of the experience is the Queen Adelaide restaurant carriage and Outback Explorer Lounge.
Gold and Platinum service customers are provided with all meals throughout the journey. Passengers occupy different tables during each meal sitting, giving everyone a chance to meet fellow passengers and share stories.
Similarly, the Outback Explorer Lounge is a place where guests gather during the journey and chat with fellow passengers or enjoy the views.
Of course, the true highlight of the journey is the countryside itself.