??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


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Waking on the Ghan for the last time

I must have slept eventually for I saw 2:40am on my clock and then 5 :45am πŸ™‚ even as I write this page at 7 am Brian is still sleeping…so jealous.
I awoke to sunrise but my cabin was on the west side. My view was of a variety of purple/pink hues on the horizon blending up to a pale blue sky. The full moon still glowed in the sky, staring at me, not willing to leave the stage yet, taking its last final bow.

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The shrubby landscape has been replaced by spindly gum trees and termite mounds of reddy- orange dot the floor between the trees. Most stand about a metre high.

The train stopped in Katherine for 3 hours. Unfortunately we couldn't get on a gorge tour as they were sold out to those on the train already at Alice Springs. We took the other opportunity of a trip to the town. Although its not a buzzing metropolis we did get a Coffee Club breakfast and then a chance to look at trips to do on the gorge as we will head that way after Kakadu. On the trip back to the train the coach driver took us past a beautiful stream with tiny rapids. Looked so peaceful and cool in this heat. He said it is refreshing but the occasional croc ventures there Ughhhhhhhh Ha ha guess I won't be sitting in hat babbling brook .

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Boarded the train, and before we knew it we were approaching Darwin. Our first view of the distant city horizon was as the train traveled over the Elizabeth River. Excited I packed up my carry on luggage in anticipation of disembarking in Darwin πŸ™‚

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Arriving in Darwin I saw my suitcase wore the tag of shame…lol…HEAVY only 17 kgs haha. Taxied out to the Mantra on the Esplanade hotel room. Our view from our top floor room was amazing!! The beach water here looks like that of around Hamilton Island .it is the prettiest, inviting turquoise however the signs say swimming not recommended due to it being box jellyfish season and potential crocodiles. Still it is a captivating sight. The sun setting on it, is a vision.

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Last day in Central Australia

Last day in Central Australia

Caution: This chapter is not so much reflective with interspersed humour, rather it is an educational recount (well mostly). Ok so now i can tell kids why we need to learn this writing style HA HA HA

Oh the luxury of a sleep in , in a hotel room πŸ™‚ Had a late breakfast in Alice Springs then we strolled around Todd Mall cause Brian had his heart set on buying a painting of the area. We’d already bought a local art style piece at Uluru you may remember πŸ™‚ Found one to his liking, purchased it and organised to have it sent home.
Then, with about 4 hours to kill we headed to the Araluen Precinct. It is a five minute ($10 of course) taxi ride from the city.It houses art galleries, a museum, craft store and aviation museum as well as a sacred site.
First we visited the art gallery. It had both local traditional art styles as well as an Albert Namatjira exhibit. It had a lot of interesting information about the art styles as well as the artists.
Next stop was the Central Australian Museum . This informative centre started with the beginning of the area’s formation, explanations for the formations we see today and examples of meteorites that have landed in Central Australia. . Some pieces were cut in half to reveal their shiny metallic interiors.
As you moved through the centre the next display related to the mega fauna evidence located at The Alcoota site out past Alice Springs. Recreations from bone discoveries were included…fascinating to see as I had researched mega fauna finds at that site for my own interest years before.
The last part of the exhibit was dedicated to present day local fauna and some discussion on introduced pest varieties and their impact. This place must be a well used resource by schools no doubt ( always the teacher sneaks out even on holidays…ha ha) .

On the first floor , was a display regarding an anglo man called Strehlow. Apparently he grew up in Hermannsburg and after leaving the area to study literature at university he returned and began documenting the lives of the area’s indigenous people to the point they initiated him as their elder and entrusted many artifacts from sacred ceremonies to him . After much disagreement on who should have these when he died they are now held in this museum…well some are but I believe some were sold privately. Must google this when I have time .

In a bit of a rush then for we had spent more time here than we thought we would ,we raced to the Aviation Museum. We had a quick look at the engine and now memorial to the Kookaburra ( a plane that crashed while out looking for Kingsford Smith who ironically was found safely) and read information about its journey and the peril of its pilots lost to dehydration and heat exposure. I have experienced the conditions of this place and can imagine how it was for them in their predicament – the hopelessness they would have felt in this desert.

Taxied it back to the hotel, collected our bags and arrived at the Ghan Station about 15 minutes before check in. That meant time to have a coke , packet of chips…oh and to buy a souvenir pen πŸ™‚

Boarded the Ghan at 5:30 pm for a 6pm departure. Again we were in the same cabin! The sunset while we were not far from Alice Springs, the Internet cut out ,we ate dinner then settled in for a long trip to Darwin. Got up when the train stopped at Tennant Creek (11pm) and looked at the scenery floodlit for the train’s arrival. This area is not far from where Peter Falconia went missing. The flora growth was shrubby and the full moon cast an eerie glow as we departed an hour and a half later…yes I was STILL awake . With a full moon , that scrub would offer no place to hide… Not that I’m making judgment on what happened that fateful night πŸ™‚
Some random photos πŸ™‚

Road to Ellery Creek Waterhole

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Glimpses of the West Macdonnell Ranges

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Nightclub wristbands ha ha

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Chapter 3 All Aboard or Ramblings of a sleep deprived woman

There was an advertised bush poet on the train but apparently she only read her poems in the gold class lounge ( we are in pauper red since there was no upgrade when i told them it was my 25th wedding anniversary and that usually works usually wonders hee hee )

So since I’m up and cant Facebook or draw something as there is no Internet access, I will create some poems of my own.

An acrostic poem hahaha

Good
Happy
Amazing
Nice

a rhyming couplet

On a train called the Ghan
Many years it has ran
Heading out along the plains
I hope it doesn’t rain

Hahahahaha kid style lol

Wonder what time they start serving coffee. My ticket entitles us to 4 free coffees πŸ™‚

Yaaayyy the lights are back on.


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Chapter 2 of All Aboard…or All are bored :))

Yeah right next time I wake I will be in Central Australia in Northern Territory !!!!! bwahahahaha ( insane laughter of a woman on an few hours of broken sleep lol) . Next time I awoke after drifting off was 10:05 pm and even without my iPad GPS I just new I wasn’t out of SA lol. I decided to look out the window and saw the most amazing black sky splattered with white stars and so many large ones. Too good to miss, I woke Brian ( yes he was asleep ha ha) to see this but he informed me the window didn’t go up as far as the second bunk, so he just went back to sleep. The train stopped at just after 10 30pm it has scheduled stops for what I’m not sure cause on my side of the train I saw no action. The next scheduled stop was to be at 11:30pm ( I knew this from having read the current edition of Platform magazine which they give you ) . Again for what the stop was for I’m not sure. Anyway through fit fell bouts of naps I remembered there was a 2 hour stop at a place called the link for people going to Cooper Pedy. I knew that would signal a chance for 2 hours of sleep . The train was scheduled to arrive a 1:40 and it did ( yes I’m clock watching lol) and luckily for me once again whatever was happening was silent and on the other side of the train. I willed myself to sleep and it seemed it worked! For the next second I was woken by the familiar rocking starting and the engine sound droning. What? So not fair! They headed off at 3:31 that’s 9 minutes early! Whoever heard of a train leaving early??? Argghhhh
Decided at this point sleep was done for the evening so dressed and headed for the lounge car , where I am writing this in a room with 4 other insomniacs πŸ™‚ There is one man in here who has watched movies on his laptop for the duration of the trip. He watched them all day yesterday, was here when I left for bed and was still here when I returned. He isn’t laughing so I guess they are serious movies. Sleep is vastly overrated. I just watched the moon adopt an orange hue as it moved slowly down towards the horizon. I can see a black sky burning bright with the twinkle of a million lights that would do Vegas proud. No dream in slumber could be that amazing.

It’s 4:30 am. The staff wander through occasionally always with a walkie talkie in hand but this time a male staff member walked through with a huge torch . Wonder what job he is headed for …. Oops now the lights are on an emergency glow like look. I guess he is doing something that necessitated the lights being removed. Headed back to the cabin and in there poor Brian had his slumber disturbed cause the emergency light switched on in here too.

I hope that sunrise isn’t too far away. I’m guessing it will be around 6 am.


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All aboard

Had a sleep in…well deserved and needed. Caught a taxi to Rundle Mall for breakfast. Adelaide it seems is the city of the $10 multiples cab fares. Always $10 or $20 haha. Had the breakfast special of bacon and eggs for , you probably guessed it ‘$10’. Poor Brian tho, they had run out of orange juice, fancy running out of a staple :)) During breakfast Brian remembered his favourite store of Adelaide was nearby…not Rivers this time but Haig’s…a more palatable choice I might add . We dragged our suitcases to the place he remember and sure enough it was there. In he went and came out with only a packet of chocolate coated sultanas, an unusually small purchase for the chocolate fiend .

Caught another $10 can ride to the Adelaide Parklands Terminal. The train was in the station and the length of it , despite all my google knowledge arming me with the knowledge, was amazing to see! Lucky for me our carriage was about midway which was close to the entry doors onto the platform. No upgrade tho 😦 the booking clerk was obviously just being polite about it being our anniversary ha ha. My plan broken down by the fact the rail company had a special on this month to obviously fill the train boo hoo !

We were escorted to our cabin on embarking. Cabin is a hyperbole. Perhaps they should be named ‘ Can you really fit two adults in a rectangle 2 metres by one and a half metres wide’ haha . Those measurements may in fact err on the side of enthusiasm lol. We sat there practising contortions cues I had my bags that needed space too πŸ™‚ We checked out the goon bags oops ghan bags ( iPad predicted textlol) they had in the cabin for us. Inside were tissues and toiletries….and ear plugs ( we sensed then the train might be a little loud πŸ™‚ Once the train departed Adelaide (exactly on time I must say) we closed the cabin door. We looked each other in the eyes, a meaningful look….reading each others mind we could hold ourselves back no longer . Attempting to beat each other out the door we made our way to the lounge car hahaha. All jokes aside the cabin was fine as a day seat.The seats were comfortable and sort of lounge size. There was a fold down table too.

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The train gives a commentary about some of the places as we pass. When we travelled through a town called Crystal Brooks we were told how it was on the Goyder Line. In 1865 Goyder observed the vegetation changes and advised past this line the rainfall was not suitable for crops . He wasn’t believed at first and people settled the area despite his opinion. This explained the numerous deserted, broken down buildings abandoned by settlers as they could make no living on the land. We also saw the salt pans of Port Augusta. I hope this all proves rewarding knowledge at my trivia nights one day πŸ™‚

We watched during our daylight hours , the vegetation changes that Goyder had referred to. We saw the houses of Adelaide disappear , the trees give way to scrub and the sandy soil change to red. As the sun set though we realised Uluru is not alone in this world . We saw its sister ( will add photo later for comparison. Obviously Uluru is the Marcia Brady and this one Jan πŸ™‚
Around 6 30 the sky was darkening as the sunset. Then the train began rolling through a tunnel of darkness. We ate dinner, Brian had braised steak and I had pasta bake. Not much choice but it was tasty which was good. Then, we decided to brave the cabin again. The cabin was fairly sound proof of train noises and the journey smooth. I was exhausted, it’s amazing how doing nothing can tire you. It was only 9 pm but I was sure I would be able to sleep. We ,well Brian ( no room for two in there while the beds came down) pulled the beds down. They are slim but look inviting nevertheless with their crisp white linen and maroon doona with GHAN symbols. Slinked into bed and it was surprisingly comfortable. In the darkened roomier was easy for the earlier sense of claustrophobia to disappear. The motion of the train would surely rock me fast into ‘Morningtown’. Everyone else seemed to be heading to cabinsjudging by the steps along the corridor outside.
The train announcement just said we will no longer be in South Australia but Central Australia and that this would be the last message for the night so they bid us goodnight. So, on that note I will bid you all a goodnight too. won’t be able to post this until tomorrow as there is no Internet out here …
Goodnight Jim Bob, goodnight Mary Ellen πŸ™‚

 

Salt pans of Port Augusta

SUNSET past Port Augusta