After much discussion and pondering regarding where to go from Adelaide and how to get there, I decided to let the knowledge of the pub locals decide for me. From very early on it became clear they considered Perth my best option, being as it is some 2800km West of Adelaide! The next connundrum was how to get there? I leapt on the internet to look at bus and plane prices and timetables. The bus companies, for some unknown reason, didn't seem to fancy travelling across almost 3000kms of nothingness! Accordingly, I looked at the plane prices and found flight times which suited me. At this point the locals once again intervened and put me back upon the right path! 'You don't want a plane mate, the only way to see the Nullarbor Plain is by train'. Both poetic and insightful I think you'll agree! Back to the Internet I went and booked the cheapest seat I could find for the next Thursday.
On arrival at the train station to take my place on the, allegedly, famous Indian-Pacific train, I was informed that I had booked a ticket for the following Thursday. Apparently the Internet booking page defaults to the next date more than 7 days in advance! OK, no problem, they should be able to find me a seat anyway. Actually, no they couldn't, they were fully booked until the next week. At this point the only option I had was to take a half-price upgrade to a twin sleeper cabin and take my chances on the identity of a possible room-mate! Having spent two weeks in Adelaide already I decided to take the cabin and hope for the best. In the event I got a cabin to myself and was able to put my feet up as much as I liked. Come bedtime I was able to stretch out and get a good night's sleep.
The next morning we were all woken early by the slightly iffeminate tones of our train host Errol wafting through the tanoy system! After breakfast the tanoy informed us we would soon be approaching the Nullarbor Plain. The word Nullarbor comes from the latin Null (no) and Arbor (tree). I was pretty excited by this as I had been told you could see kangaroos, emus and camels on the Plain. After a few hours of looking out of the window with excitement at the grand nothingness before me I have to say the novelty started to wear off slightly. By the 5th hour, with one sighting of a pair of dingoes under my belt, I started to see why it was called 'plain'! By the end of the day the creature count stood at a meagre three dingoes, one kangaroo and about half a dozen wedge-tailed eagles. In my head I was starting to refer to the place as 'Another Bore' Plain! Don't get me wrong, the pure desolation was pretty awe-inspiring for a while and the thought that almost nothing could live there gives you a feeling of smallness in the face of nature, but those feelings eventually give way to boredom!
Along the way we stopped off at a town called Cook, with a population of four people, which we were informed was the least populated place on earth. You have to take these things with a little pinch of salt as we later passed a place with a population of two people, I sure hope they get on!
After our second evening on the Indian Pacific we rolled into Perth at around 9 in the morning. Though the 40 hour epic journey had not been quite what I had expected I am certainly glad I did it and the guys at the pub were right when they said it really gives you a feel for what Australia is all about.