Darwin to Adelaide by The Ghan September 2019 - Day 10

The Ghan Day 1: Darwin to Katherine Gorge


After a night back in our hotel in Darwin we were ready for the train trip to Adelaide - The Ghan. Check in a bag drop was organised at our hotel and soon we were on the bus for the 40 min drive out to the Ghan train terminal. We joined the throngs of people milling around the platform and having their photos taken in front of the engine, the carriages, the station, other people, the trees....

As it happened, our berth/cabin was at the rear of the train, in fact we had the last room occupied by a paying passenger. Apparently nearly everybody else had booked through a tour operator of one sort or another and they got rooms nearer the dining rooms. As they paid the same price as we did, we felt a little undervalued. So after photographing the engine we headed off to the rear of the train - 1.1km away.

The Ghan, as with its sister the Indian Pacific, is now touted as a "cruise on wheels", a tourist venture where the train and its side excursions are the attraction, rather than Adelaide as a destination. The first stop was a few hours out of Darwin at Katherine Gorge.

Boating on the Katherine Gorge

The gorge is a narrow section of the Katherine River, bounded by high cliffs of red and orange sun-baked sandstone. Tours through the gorge are now a major tourist atttraction and the Ghan obviously provides a big slice of the market along with many bus tours. The Ghan offers two versions of the tour: the full experience boating on the lower and upper parts of the gorge with a short easy walk between, and a short version on the lower section and a view of the Aboriginal rock art. The pre-tour descriptions describe the longer tour as strenuous with participants needing to walk on rough tracks with many steep steps. Don't believe a word of it - it was nearly all close to wheelchair accessible!

"Don't cross the yellow line - the engine might run you over"... yeah right!
Train spotters...
The mandatory photo in front of the engine
Your cabin is that way...
Yes I realy am at the last door.
Sheep milling around hoping their cabin is near he front - it wasn't.
Phew, glad they have finally gone.
That was Darwin after all..
Crossing the Elizabeth River
Darwin in the distance.
Anthills abounded.
Arriving at the boatramp for Katherine Gorge.
Heading up the gorge.
Beware crocodile nesting area.
Inside the road tunnel and entrance to the caves
Entrance to the Lucas Cave.
People - strolling in the river.
The river level was very low.
Hardly a tough walk on rough boulders suitable for fit people only.
Aboriginal art near the boat ramp.
Who's that waving at me?
Croc trap. No takers at this time of year.
With the air temperature over 30°C this wine might be a bit too warm when the party arrives in 2 hours time.
Back to Katherine rail station...
..and off into the sunset.

Dinner and a good night

Back on the train and we headed on south. Time for pre-dinner drinks and then a nice meal. The Ghan provides an excellent dining service. The dining cars are well laid out and the menus provide a good choice at each meal, accompanied by a good selection of Australian wines.

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Last updated: 14/06/2020