The Ghan!

So I was looking through my photos from my Ghan trip this weekend, and I realised that I hadn’t written a post about it!

The Ghan is a train run by Great Southern Rail, and travels between Darwin at the very top end of the Northern Territory, down to Adelaide in south eastern South Australia, over two nights and three days. Great Southern Rail also run the Indian Pacific that runs from across between Perth and Sydney over 4 days/3 nights, and the Overland, a day tripper between Adelaide and Melbourne. They are luxury train travel, and give you a chance to see the Australian scenery in all it’s amazing glory.

My trip started with me flying to Darwin on Friday, before I was picked up to board the train early Saturday morning. We travelled down to Katherine, where I took a cruise down Katherine Gorge, and sampled some crocodile delicacies. The crocodile sausage roll was delicious. The cream of crocodile soup was a little too crunchy for my palate! Then back on the train to watch the scenery and socialise with other travellers.

Katherine Gorge

Katherine Gorge

The train is made up of the Red Class – or day/night seats – carriages, and corresponding dining carriage, Gold Class single and double cabin carriages, with lounge and dining carriages, and Platinum Service cabins.

Platinum service was a little too much for my nurses’ wage, but it includes a premium ensuite cabin with twin or double bed, private lounge space, all meals and snacks included, and personalised cabin service. Red Service includes a lounge style chair, communal shower and toilet facilities, and food and drinks available for purchase.

Gold Service, which I travelled, includes single or double cabins, communal showers and toilets, access to the lounge with drinks, snacks and all meals included in your fare. Also, off train excursions are included in your fare.

The Ghan

The Ghan

You can choose to spend your time in your cabin, watching the world go by, or head to the lounge for a drink and a chat with fellow travellers. I did both. I spent a lot of the time staring out the window getting lost in the Australian countryside, and reading along to the lull of the rocking of the train… but I made sure to head to the lounge for a drink and to socialise before dinner. Everyone I travelled with was lovely – as many of the carriages are singles, there are a lot of people travelling solo. I made friends with a few people, who were doing the same tour as myself, with a stop off mid-train-trip at Alice Springs, Uluru, and Kings Canyon. A big shout out to my travel companions Les, Nancy, Bev and Brian. The food on the train was amazing, and you get seated with others so another chance to meet people and make friends.

Kata Tjuta

Kata Tjuta

Uluru

The stunning Uluru at sunset

View from the top of Kings Canyon

View from the top of Kings Canyon

For me, the one downside to the train was that you can’t see the scenery overnight. Duh, you say. Well, yes, but I didn’t think that one through completely before I left, and one of the main reasons I did the trip was to see the scenery. And when it’s dark between about 7-7, that’s 12hours of travel that you miss seeing the country.

I got off the train at Alice Springs, and took a tour out to Ayres Rock resort and Uluru, and Kings Canyon. Both were absolutely amazing! We climbed up Kings Canyon, descended down inside, back up the other side, and then down. The scenery was beautiful, and the walk was amazing (and only for those fit enough!)

After the tour, I returned to Alice Springs overnight and re-joined the Ghan for the trip to Adelaide, where I spend a day exploring the city, before finally returning to Melbourne.

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

Adelaide Botanical Gardens

The crew on the Ghan were all lovely, friendly and helpful. They schedule your meal seatings, make up your bed while you’re at dinner, and back to a chair while you’re at breakfast. The single cabins were functional, comfortable and warm. I struggled with the shower – more due to the fact that the train rumbles along and with a wet floor I didn’t want to knock myself out! For this reason I’m glad I split the trip and had hotel stays on the inbetween days 😉

I travelled in July, for me the perfect time of the year. I VERY much prefer Winter to Summer, and although it was cold overnight on the train, and out in Ayres Rock resort, Kings Canyon and down in Adelaide, it was still warm in Alice Springs and over 30 degrees celcius in Darwin. Darwin in Summer = wet season = hot and humid = no fun for Chelsea. I was happy with the cooler weather as we spent a bit of time exploring and walking which warmed me up, and on the buses and trains the temperature was well controlled. Also, at this time of year the Ghan runs twice a week rather than once, which enabled my tour itinerary.

This is a great way to see the Australian countryside, I totally recommend it. I also plan on giving the Indian Pacific a go to see the Nullabor!

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Things That Make Me Happy

Things that make me happy, or things that I love. I saw this done by Ti over at “Book Chatter” and thought it was a great idea! I think sometimes I get bogged down in responsibilities, things I have to do, and just, well, life, and I can forget the good things. So when I read Ti’s post, I thought why not? Bring on the happiness 🙂

A favourite photo of mine from a trip to Canada

A favourite photo from a trip to Canada

  1. Reading
  2. Hand cream
  3. My best friends
  4. My family
  5. Candles – making them and burning them
  6. Pretty or interesting scenery
  7. Lip balm
  8. Indulging my inner photographer – can’t vouch for the talent, but it’s definitely fun!
  9. Criminal Minds… and Shemar Moore specifically…
  10. Fresh baked brownies
  11. Coffee
  12. Thai food
  13. Purple flowers
  14. Driving long distances – helps to clear my head and gives me time to think… and sing my little heart out!
  15. Quality photography – professional, friends, family. I love going through photos that mean something to someone – you can totally tell, feel the love through the lens
  16. Good, chunky, sink-your-teeth-into books
  17. Owls – pictures, mugs, decorative, jewellery
  18. Reading on the train
  19. Chocolate
  20. Walking
  21. Nail polish in muted colours – my nail beds are tiny and look funny with bright colours.
  22. Winter
  23. Light, short, easy, read-in-an-afternoon books
  24. Swimming
  25. My Birthday. Feel the love 🙂
  26. Other people’s birthdays!
  27. Catching up with girlfriends
  28. Going out for lunch
  29. Shopping
  30. Knitting
  31. Studying… sometimes more in theory than in practice
  32. Going to weddings of people I love
  33. Christmas
  34. Christmas present shopping
  35. My colleagues – I work with some fantastic people – KQ, NC, JM I’m lookin’ at you!
  36. Finding a bargain
  37. Cosy nights in
  38. Great spontaneous nights out – often the best ones are those that are unplanned
  39. Home crocheted blankets
  40. Baking
  41. Winter boots
  42. Reading as the last thing I do before I go to sleep 😉
  43. Getting a letter in the mail
  44. Personal email – IE letters not forwards
  45. Slippers
  46. A clean and tidy house
  47. Cross stitching
  48. Unexpected friends visiting
  49. Weekends away by myself
  50. Relaxing with a good glass (or 2… or 5) of wine
  51. A long gossip session with a close friend
  52. Hot showers
  53. Book marks – I pick one up everywhere I travel to, along with…
  54. Playing cards
  55. Finishing up an exercise session. Getting started, not so much!
  56. Tea – black, peppermint, oolong, green
  57. ‘Me’ time in a spa bath
  58. Train trips – with a little space around me
  59. Pretty dresses
  60. Massages
  61. Facials
  62. Babies and kids – spending time with my friends and their families
  63. The end of a big or stressful day when it’s all over and it’s relax time
  64. Unexpected bargains or freebies
  65. Novels of short stories – either by one author or varied writers
  66. Finding a piece of jewellery that I love
  67. Warm blankets
  68. Surrounding myself with photos of loved ones
  69. Comfortable shoes
  70. Original ideas for book plots
  71. Taking time to have a proper lunch break at work
  72. Live music
  73. Coffee table books
  74. Author events
  75. Chatting to Mum
  76. Making good headway on an assignment
  77. Looking back over my holiday photos and reliving the experience
  78. Travelling to new and exciting places with a good friend
  79. Going to the movies
  80. Homemade apple crumble
  81. Handbags
  82. Going to the Australian Open
  83. Big warm doonas
  84. When my students write a kicker of an assignment
  85. Melbourne Comedy Festival
  86. A cold glass of water when I’m thirsty
  87. New books (Happy Dance!!)
  88. Going to the footy and watching my team win. Go Bombers!
  89. Finding out an author I love has a new book coming out
  90. Phone calls
  91. Rain
  92. New Professor Layton games for my Nintendo 3DS
  93. Finishing a game of solitaire
  94. Vegemite toast
  95. Interesting memoirs and biographies
  96. Popcorn and M&Ms mixed
  97. Musicals
  98. The smell of mint
  99. The colours purple, blue, green and red
  100. Spending a whole day doing nothing but enjoying good coffee and reading!!!

What would be on your list?