Friday, October 26, 2007

The Legendary Ghan

We left the legendary train, The Ghan, last night. Three days and two nights of going back in time through some very remote territory in the middle of Australia. When someone says that "the outback" is remote, listen! It's more than remote! There's no water; there's are few critters; there are a lot of trees and termite mounds and not much else. It's interesting to see how remote, remote can be. From Adelaide to Alice Springs there are a few whistle stop towns. After Alice Springs, there's nothing for hundreds of kilometers.

In Alice Springs we took a helicopter ride to see the mountains rifts that shoot up at 40 degree angles from the landscape. The Outback was a sea at one point in time, so that now, hundreds of millenia after, there are convoluted patches of earth that have been upthrusted and eroded to form interesting mountains and valleys.

After Alice we cruised along in our Gold Kangaroo serviced sleeper car and lounge. We had a "butler" taking after our every needs and regular meals in the dining room. Travel on the Ghan is nice and easy.

In Katherine we took a "nature cruise" on the Katherine River and looked at fresh water crocodiles which are said to be harmless, unlike their salt water kin. We spied hundreds of rainbow bee-eaters, a colorful little bird, as well as crested cockatoos...birds are certainly different here. It was on the cruise that we saw our first ' Agile Wallaby.

We are now in Darwin, a tropical city in the northern part of the Northern Territory. It's hot and humid and summery. We head for the Great Barrier Reef tomorrow leaving behind fond memories of The Ghan, a train we have wanted to ride for 21 years!

Life is good.

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