First Night On Board The Ghan Plus Alice Springs

Previous page - Ghan stops in Katherine for sightseeing


Gold sleepers on the Ghan

We didn't get a huge amount of sleep last night. Ian's bed (top bunk) sloped into the wall in a big way and it was uncomfortable for him to be resisting the angle all night. I slept poorly just because it was a strange bed and I was feeling the diddly-dum train reverberations all night.

It wasn't cold in our cabin. Quite the opposite and we slept with just the sheet on us. Ian got up in the night to use the loo and stepped into a cold puddle of water left from our shower last night. The water doesn't seem to drain away sufficiently because it was still there in the morning when we got up.

We mentioned the wet bathroom floor to Philip (one of the attendants) first thing in the morning and the problem was immediately dealt with. We'll be doing some mopping up ourselves tonight after we have our shower now we know the problem exists.

Beds on The Ghan

The sloping bunk seems to be simply the way things are on the train. Our neighbour's top bunk was also at an angle sloping into the wall. Tonight we'll use some of the spare blankets and use them under the mattress to level it out. I suppose the bunks are sloped inwards to decrease the chance of anyone rolling out of bed. However Ian's bed will be more level tonight!


Breakfast on The Ghan was substantial Breakfast on The Ghan

Breakfast on the Ghan

Breakfast is at 7.15 am. It is early today because we get off the train shortly for our tour of Alice Springs. Breakfast was totally yummy: Choices of orange, apple or tomato juice, followed by a choice of three cereals or a fruit compote. Then we could choose either a cooked meal of bacon, eggs, tomatoes, sausage and mushrooms or banana toast with sliced banana and maple syrup. A plate with plenty of toast was supplied along with the usual butter, jams, Vegemite etc. Cups of tea and coffee were supplied too. All totally delicious.

Phillip, Marie and Sally looked after all of us so well Phillip, Marie and Sally


We are finding nothing is too much trouble for the staff who are looking after us. At breakfast Neville asked if he could have tomato sauce with his cooked breakfast and Sally was able to instantly produce some for him. Sally has such a friendly and happy disposition. She is the perfect person for this type of job.


Scenery from the train window as we approached Alice Springs View from train heading into Alice Springs



Touring in Alice Springs - the Ghan waits for us

The Ghan arrived in Alice Springs just after 9 am. The temperature was much cooler than Katherine or Darwin. A perfect temperature I'd say. As with the town of Katherine there was a variety of tours to go on:

Helicopter ride over the McDonnell ranges
A camel ride
A tour around the town
A visit to the Desert Park

The RFDS office in Alice Springs The Royal Flying Doctor Service


Alice Springs Bus Tour

We chose the tour around town because we had previously read about the places they were going to on this particular tour. By paying for the tour we automatically gained "free" entry to the places the bus took us to.




Interior of an RFDS plane Mock up of an RFDS plan

Royal Flying Doctor Service

First up was the head office of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. We were given a very informative talk when we first arrived, then we saw a short film and then we were able to look around the various fascinating exhibits.


Painting on the prison wall Painting done by a prisoner in his cell




The Gaol and Labour Prison

From there we were able to walk the few metres to the Gaol and Labour Prison. Again we were given a very interesting talk about this historic building. The building now houses the National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame - an exhibition inspired by Molly Clark who was one of our true pioneers. The Hall of Fame focuses on the achievements of Australian women in fields that previously were dominated by men. Ian was the only male on this part of the tour and he agrees the other men missed out on something special.


This Hall of Fame celebrates the contribution of women The Australian Aviatrix Pioneer tapestry

We head to the Telegraph Station

Back on the bus we headed to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station. By chance we were at the old station on the day that "Alec" was giving the tours. Alec is an older Aboriginal man who has very strong ties with the station. His tales of the place fascinated every one of us. We could have very cheerfully stayed there all day listening to this incredible gentleman. His stories prompted us to buy his book called "ALEC - A Living History of the Alice Springs Telegraph Station". The book is available at the station shop and cost about $10.

Now when I read the book I can clearly hear his voice talking to me. We strongly recommend buying the book. In the centre of the photo below (left) is the small area of water that Alice Springs is named after. (The water is shining).

The real Alice Springs The centre of the photo shows the "springs'
The Overland Telegraph Station The Famous Overland Telegraph Station









We hopped back on the bus for a very quick trip to the Alice Springs lookout. We were running a few minutes late so we weren't able to stop there for long. Then, back to The Ghan train to continue our journey southwards.



Next page - Our ride on The Ghan comes to an end







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