Tag Archives: the ghan

Desert Stop

After dinner that night, we stopped at the remote rail siding of Manguri, around 50km from Coober Pedy. The train’s well-lit windows made a cinematic backdrop to the scene.

Manguri Stopover

Even in the desert, some people seemed only interested in their phones.

Manguri Stopover

A bonfire was ready and waiting, and most passengers gravitated towards it. The 15C or so temperatures was a cool change to the tropics.

Manguri Stopover

Meanwhile, I was more interested in capturing the stars on a clear, desert night.

Manguri Stopover

My attempt was short-lived though. Moments after this, an over-zealous security guard type said I couldn’t step out of the light due to “OH and S considerations”. That just killed the fun out of the desert night experience for me.

One more morning, and by noon the following day we were back in civilisation – Adelaide.

Terminal

Nitmiluk Gorge – Part 1

By mid-afternoon, we arrived in Katherine, 317km south-east of Darwin. It was time to get off the train and explore.

Cruising Nitmiluk Gorge

We chose to go to Nitmiluk (formerly Katherine) Gorge, which was a good 30 minutes coach ride away from the train station.

Cruising Nitmiluk Gorge

It was a very hot 37C in Katherine (with humidity!) and we were glad to get on to the boat and under cover.

Cruising Nitmiluk Gorge

Boats are practically the only means of seeing the Gorge in March as the water levels were still high, and so was the chance of seeing a salt-water crocodile!

Cruising Nitmiluk Gorge

The Ghan – Part 2

And we were off on our north-south crossing of the continent! One thing I was looking forward to was to be able to watch the landscape change from my cabin window. Out of Darwin, it was a Savannah landscape common to a lot of Northern Australia, from Broome to Townsville.

On the Ghan

It wasn’t long before we made our first trip to the restaurant, about 3 carriages away.

On the Ghan

Lunch was in several sittings – we had an early sitting and the dining room was still quiet. It filled up pretty soon though.

On the Ghan

The food in general was of a very high standard. A sample of some of the dishes we had…

Salmon mousse sushi for entree.

On the Ghan

Chicken galantine as a main.

On the Ghan

There was some emphasis on native Australian ingredients, so we had our share of crocodile, buffalo and kangaroo along with some native herbs, spices and fruits.

A sample of our breakfast menu shows that we never went hungry!

On the Ghan

The Ghan – Part 1

Darwin wasn’t the end of the trip but the mid-way point. Next, we were off on the Ghan – the famous train service that runs from Darwin through the centre of Australia to Adelaide – a route that is 2,979km long. The train is named after the Afghan cameleers that used to transport goods and services in Australia’s centre before the advent of the train or motor car.

On the Ghan

We started off at the Darwin end at their railway station. Surprisingly, it’s a good 30 minutes from the city, but that’s because the Ghan required a mighty long platform – the train was almost a kilometre long with around 30 carriages. First task was to find our carriage. Luckily it was close by.

On the Ghan

Inside our Gold Class carriage, it was pretty swish.

On the Ghan

Our cabins were in day mode and were comfy and snug. Hint – any luggage larger than a backpack will get you in trouble. I saw people hauling large suitcases and wondered where they put them.

On the Ghan

The bathroom was a bit of wonder for me. Shower, toilet and basin all in a 1.5m squared room. That’s tiny living!

On the Ghan