If You Have The Opportunity To Travel To Australia, One Of The Highlights Is To Travel By Train.
There are many great trips. I was fortunate to travel on The Ghan, from the station near Coober Pedy or Manguri Station, to Adelaide. I was in Coober Pedy, a fascinating underground Opal mining town in South Australia. Just as the group I was with had received our dinner our guide came to the restaurant saying the Ghan was early, and we needed to leave now! We left Coober Pedy, by van, in a sand storm with no visibility and 45 minutes later arrived at Manguri Station. Luckily, we had driven out of the sand storm after about 15 minutes. Stepping out of the van, the vast desert was dark, but the night sky was full of stars! We were standing on the desert in the middle of the outback and not a building in sight! The driver started a huge bonfire to let the train know we were there so it would stop.
The train engines approached, and then passed!
The train seemed miles long! Finally, it stopped and we boarded the car, which had stopped in front of us. We were shown our sleeping compartment, the Ensuite cabins, which are serviced by your own steward. In the morning, the steward delivered all of us a “cuppa” (Australian for a Cup of coffee).
Get ready to relax and enjoy fine food and wine while traveling across a beautiful continent in a world-famous train with panoramic views. During the day the scenery is fascinating! You see red earth and skies, with ever-changing colors in the landscape. You will see train tracks that stretch out to meet the horizon. Not only do you get to see the Outback, but, it is a fantastic way to meet locals. The lounge car of The Ghan was a high-light because we met so many people from Australia!
When riding the train in Australia, you can either take short trips, or go across the county. Tours are included on the longer trips with both The Ghan and the Indian Pacific. These tours, which last from a few hours to a full day, include an extraordinary range of opportunities for discovering the region’s most fascinating sites.
“Weren’t you bored?” is often a question people ask when finding out the train takes two or three days through a largely uninhabited area, Not for a moment! The lonely desert landscape is just one scene that rolls by the train’s windows. There are ever-changing backdrops for a two-day, 1,851-mile trip from the southern city of Adelaide to the port of Darwin on Australia’s tropical north coast. Departing from Adelaide, the view slowly changes. The train leaves Adelaide’s Keswick rail terminal, from the city’s suburban sprawl into wheat fields and then into salt-encrusted plains near Port Augusta, an industrial town which calls itself the gateway to the Outback. After Port Augusta, 190 miles north of Adelaide, the Outback begins in earnest, with vegetation fading away to spinifex , a spiny bush that was the bane of early explorers, and short eucalyptus trees whose pale trunks stand out against the famed red earth of central Australia.
Meanwhile, you are experiencing the wonderful hospitality of Aussies, listening to their great stories, eating meals freshly cooked by on-board chefs, and sit or sleep, in reclining airline-style seats or private cabins with fold away beds.
If you are considering a trip down under, don’t forget to travel by rail!