About four years ago I travelled the Indian Pacific train from “left to right” or from Perth to Sydney.
This time I wanted to travel from top to bottom and so it was time for the Ghan from Darwin to Adelaide over three days and theee nights.
The Ghan now has a trip called the Ghan Experience which includes longer stopovers in Katherine Gorge, Alice Springs and Cooper Pedy – all places I hadn’t seen before. So I joined the 39 carriage train – always entertaining to watch drivers faces when they are stuck at a level crossing waiting for us to go through – they know it’s going to be a long wait:)
About to board the famous Ghan train
Katherine Gorge is very remote and not easy to get to so it was nice to disembark the train and float through two different gorges on a beautiful sunny day.
Feeling very small in the shadows of the giant gorges at Katherine
Second stop was three walks around the Alice Spring’s area (much needed after a lot of good food on the train) including Simson’s Gap. I particularly loved the Ghost Gum Tree.
The not so friendly beaches around Darwin
Highlight of this trip was a day I’d planned flying over the Kakadu and Arnhem Land with a stop for a boat trip through the wetlands. Although I’ve visited Darwin a few times it has always been during the wet season when it has been unbearably hot and humid – so I cannot express how much more pleasant it is at this time of year. Warm and sunny but much less humidity.
Arrived in Darwin yesterday – apparently it has a Harbour that is four times the size of Sydney but despite such prime real estate there are very few people who live on the water – flooding, cyclones and crocs make that unwise!
Here’s Darwin from the plane.Then this morning I moved from a big Qantas plane to a small Cessna – as I love flying (or rather being flown) this was very exciting for me and I got to sit at the front with the pilot (there are quite a few advantages to traveling solo).
Arriving in Darwin from Uluru
The plane and our very tiny airport strip in Cooinda. Still, at least no waiting at immigration required
Tiny plane and teeny airports abound in the Kakadu
And here are some scenes from Arnhem Land and the Wetlands that we flew over. A bit bumpy at times so not always easy to take a picture but best effort and still impressive. This is all national park and is 2/3 of the size of the whole to Tasmania – we were in and over it for a full day and apparently only saw 15% of it.Watch out for crocs tomorrow – I get up much too close for comfort but live to tell the tale. Ps. Crocs freak me out.
The wetlands and rocks of the Kakadu and Arnhem Land. Spectacular
Another wonderful day in Uluru visiting the rock and catching if from different angles, lights and colours and then the joy of yet another amazing sunset in the desert – every night is stunning but last night was particularly lovely as there were some clouds in the sky causing a vast expanse of colour and drama over 30 blissful minutes.
Love being here again. It’s one of those places that is even better than you expect it to be – and those are rare.
Next stop Darwin.
Awe inducing Uluru – somewhere everyone should try and visit once
Sunset in Uluru June 18, 2017
The field of Light designed by British light installation artist Bruce Munro was an amazing vision. 50,000 separate light rods covering the equivalent of 4 soccer fields and completely solar powered appeared as if placed by sprites as dusk fell and darkness took over. They were different heights and different colours and changed colours very subtly. The whole effect was quite beautiful and we were able to stroll through the fields once it was totally dark to really appreciate the effect. It was spectacular but like the equally spectacular natural show of stars in the sky it is very hard to capture the overall effect on camera. One of those things you have to remember best in your head but I had a go.
Bruce Munro’s Field of Light in Uluru
Emma and Susie fortify themselves with champagne
And after seeing a wonderful night time of lights, I woke up to yet another spectacular show of nature as the sun rose over the desert.
Staying at Desert Gardens Hotel and this is the view that greeted me when I checked into my room. It’s been six years since I last visited but I’ve never forgotten how truly awesome and humbling this area is. So I’m really excited to be back. Tonight we’re off to see the art installation Field of Light by Bruce Munro which has been so successful that it has been extended by a year and is a key reason for my visit.
Now off for a pre Field of Light drink with Emma.
Uluru always impressive – this is an 3.30pm