Crisscrossing Australia on the Indian Pacific and the Ghan
Framed by a miraculous sunset, the Indian Pacific arrives for a two-hour stop at Kalgoorlie. Gold was discovered here in 1893 and the town’s main attraction is the Super Pit, a monstrous “open cut” mine that’s a mile across and nearly 1000 feet deep. Many of the buildings have a distinct Victorian design, and there are even three legal brothels. As our tour bus slowly passes one called The Red House, two of the girls wave cheerfully from a picture window, prompting our driver to note rather wistfully that there were once more than 40 such establishments here in the town’s heyday.
The sleek silver Ghan stands waiting at the station platform the next morning: 23 rail carriages behind two 4000-horsepower locomotives. The train’s name comes from the nickname given to Afghan herders who came to Australia along with the camels that carried men and supplies into the Outback during the late 1800s.