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Published: August 31st 2020
What a year!! We had two overseas trips planned and paid for but Covid-19 struck and so they were on hold. However, we saw that The Ghan was recommencing and there was a generous package being offered for a trip on the train, seven nights in Darwin and various excursions all for the price of what it usually costs for the train alone!
So here we are, on the train on our way tot he Top End. We left on Sunday morning. Tracey kindly drove us to the Rail Terminal and we were quickly through the check-in process, including showing our border permits which allow us entry to the Northern Territory. Strange to have to think of borders in your own country!! We waited in the comfortable lounge until it was time to board. Our cabin was in Gold Class, carriage H room 8. Small but comfortable it has a compact bathroom and bunk beds which are prepared each night by the attendants. During the day it is a comfortable lounge.We settled in , finding spaces to stow our belongings. Our carriage stewardess is Shereena, a bright bubbly lass who welcomed us on board and then explained the
different aspects of the cabin and the options for excursions at our stops in Alice Springs and Katherine.
We then went to the Lounge where we had a pre lunch drink and met some of our fellow travellers. This is a comfortable space with free WiFi so will certainly be our second home on board. Lunch was at 1pm and was in the Queen Adelaide Dining Room, another well presented carriage. Our lunch was delicious. Beef fillet to start and then chocolate mousse dessert while Fletcher had the fig icecream. They are very generous with the wine to accompany it and it is all included. Great value!!
We watched the passing scenery with the green fields of the Adelaide Plains slowly giving way to the red dust of the Outback. We went through Port Augusta and continued northwards. The afternoon was spent watching the passing scenery reading and dozing as we thundered through the Outback. We had seen much of this scrubby countryside last year on our road trip so it was very familiar. about 6 we went to the lounge where we had our pre-dinner drinks and chatted to several guests. The demographic on the train is
predominantly older couples, and we chatted to Danny and Val, Mary and Lloyd and Tim and Andrea. A gin and tonic got us in the right mood followed by a glass or two of white.Lachy , the bar man, assured us we would all be walking straight on the train the more we drank and was very generous!! At 7-30 we had our dinner sitting. This time the food was even more delicious. We both chose the Kangaroo entree, very soft and with a fruity sauce. Then a Seafood Tasting plate consisted of Coorong Mullet, octopus, sardine and prawns. Very yummy. We opted for the cheese plate for afters as two huge meals in the one day caught up with us, or at least me!! We then retired to the Lounge where we had after dinner drinks, a Baileys for me and Glen Fiddich for Fletcher and three other couples joined us. We had a great night chatting to interesting people and having a few more nightcaps. The bar closed about 10pm and we returned to the cabin to prepare for bed. Our bunks were all ready and Fletcher, gallantly, went up the ladder and into the top bunk. The
train sped along the sometimes bumpy track while we slept as well as we could.
We had an early start this morning with coffee delivered to us about 5-40am. The train had been stopped for a while and we had bot woken about 5-30. We were in Marla, a town still in S.A. but right out in the desert. We alighted from the train and followed a path of lanterns down to two roaring fires with tables and chairs set out in the middle. We were here to watch the sunrise over the desert. I was glad of the fire as I had not brought warm clothes and it was rather chilly. The sky gradually lightened and about 7am up came the ball of golden fire to herald another day. Very spectacular. We are now heading to Alice Springs where we will have an excursion off train to see some of the sights.
So far it is an enjoyable trip and so nice to get away from home and be travelling again!!
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