Winning Ways on the Indian Pacific

The day Cheryl and Ed Gross landed back in Adelaide after a trip to Hamilton Island didn’t quite go to plan. Instead of locking down for two weeks of isolation, they found themselves planning a journey on the Indian Pacific after winning their choice of rail journey – with flights and accommodation included – in the first Journey Beyond Travel Club competition. This is how it all went down.

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1. What was your reaction when you received the news that you won the competition?

We had just landed back in Adelaide after a trip to Hamilton Island and thought we were going to have to start two weeks of isolation, however, instead, we got two phone calls. One was from our daughter to let us know that the two-week isolation requirement had just been removed. The other was from Journey Beyond to say we won the Journey Beyond Travel Club competition. We thought it was a prank phone call until we received the follow up email to confirm that we had actually won the competition.

2. What made you choose the Indian Pacific over The Ghan or the Great Southern?

We travelled on The Ghan in May 2021 and after that, dreamed on travelling on the Indian Pacific. We will 100% be booking the Great Southern soon, and we have some friends that would like to join us, too.

3. How did you find your gold cabin aboard the Indian Pacific?

The Gold cabins are great! They have everything you need, as well as a private toilet and shower.  The beds are also very comfy and when folded up are a perfect lounge to sit back on with a book.

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4. It can take a little bit of adjustment to get used to sleeping on a train. How did you find it?

Ed always sleeps so well on trains, whereas it takes me a little bit of time to adjust.  Once adjusted though, it’s nice to fall asleep to the subtle rocking of the train and stargaze out of your cabin window.

5. How did you find the service?

The staff make the experience truly exceptional – the level of service, patience, attention to detail, friendly and positive attitudes, as well as how hard they work, and nothing is ever too hard. In particular, Bono, Lozza, Christine and Lisa, the staff in our carriage, really made the trip wonderful for everyone.

6. What was your favourite Off Train Experience?

Rawlinna Station was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. The weather was fabulous on our arrival, and everyone had such a fun time.

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7. Did you make any new friends while you were on board the Indian Pacific?

We made quite a lot of friends on the train. Our lounge was called the ‘party carriage’, as we all got along so well. We shared a few drinks and a lot of laughs. Some fellow travellers changed their travel plans after we got off the train so we could meet in Margaret River a few days later for lunch. They are friends for life now.

8. What is your best travel tip for someone who hasn’t travelled by train before?

Pack light! I have learnt that when travelling on a train you don’t need many clothing options – just lighter clothes that you can layer and that don’t need to be ironed.