This site last updated on  21-Nov-2003
The journey starts off in Perth, with a blurred me waiting to depart! The train has lovely facilities. Though the cabin is small, there are two lovely dining cars, and two lounges. We set off from Perth passing through the suburbs, where the Jacaranda is just coming out. We then head up through the beautiful Avon River Gorge. We stopped in Kalgoorlie at night, where Beth Evans gave me a guided tour.
The next day saw us on the Nullabor Plain, a truly arid desert, where it had been raining overnight!! We stopped at Cook, which is used to water the trains. It was once a small, isolated community, but now boasts a population of 2! It still has a Hospital, Swimming Pool, High Street, Gaol and Suburbs. Sort of!!This is part of the longest straight piece of railway line in the world at 465 km's. So a long train was OK! The plain ends with a range of sand dunes, where a retired railway worker called Ziggy lives with his 9 dogs. He is 82!
Adelaide is renowned for it's buildings and churches, all constructed in local stone, marble, and bricks, due to the absence of suitable wood for building. Established in 1836, the first settlers had to wait in the sand dunes for 3 months before being allowed into the planned city. The first picture is of an early house, built in 1850's. The Cathedral took a number of years to build, and a number of houses were very grand. The Market Place was not too shabby either!
The wine tour began with a visit to a toy factory, with a Giant Rocking Horse. The background is quite interesting. They also had a few animals around, including a Red Kangaroo, the biggest marsupial. On the way to the wineries, we stopped at Herbig's tree, where a German immigrant first set up home! The Barossa Valley was settled primarily by German Lutheran's escaping persecution. We visited Saltram, Dorrien, and Yaldara wineries, and of course, the Jacob's Creek visitor centre, where we saw the actual creek, and a 150 year old Gum tree that must have been there when the first vines were planted. The final stop was "The Whispering Wall". These people are talking to each other without shouting!!!
The final day was dedicated to Penguins! First, we had a tour of a couple of wineries, and visited this old train, where you could have an Almond tasting, including Chilli Almonds!! We also toured a little of the coast, visiting this beautiful bay in Encounter Bay, where Lt. Flinders met the French!! However, the main reason for the day was to see the Fairy Penguins on Granite Island. They were quite wonderful. We saw chicks waiting for Mum and Dad to feed them. We saw them guarding their burrows, and preening as they came out of the water. Apologies for the light, but they use red light to illuminate them. They are, in fact, Blue and white, and very tiny.