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Apr '15

Day 8 – Arrival in Adelaide

collage_20150411150146900I thought we would be back to civilisation once we got to Port Augusta, but there really wasn’t much other than some sheep and a wind farm until we hit the outskirts of Adelaide.
We started our last day on the train with another scrumptious breakfast and pulled into Adelaide just before noon.

Our hotel in Adelaide is just off the eastern end of Rundle Street where there are plenty of cafes and restaurants. We walked to Exchange Specialty Espresso where we grabbed a coffee and a sandwich for a quick lunch. We spent the afternoon exploring Rundle Street. Dinner was at United Latino Cocina where we had Arepas and Ropa Viejo washed down with a margarita. The Arepas were excellent while the Ropa Viejo lived up to its name ????.

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Apr '15

Day 7 – Ghan to Alice and beyond

collage_20150409121228811Did I say that the food on board the train is amazing!?  Sleeping on the train,  not so much. Of course,  being over full from the excellent dinner,  and an extra glass of wine or two,  didn’t help.

After a very tasty breakfast we had a 3 hour + stop in Alice Springs.  We had done the town tour and Desert Park when we visited Alice Springs several years ago,  so we opted for a helicopter ride. The views were spectacular.

About 9 hours south of Alice Springs,  and after two more delicious meals,  we stopped for some star-gazing at Manguri. For lunch I had Coorong Mulloway with bok choi and coconut rice,  while Frank had the Beef Tenderloin with speck, polenta cake and onion jam. A few hours later we were back in the dining car. We had Yabby and Crab Bisque served in an espresso cup as an appetiser. For the entree Frank had the South Australian Regional Seafood Tasting Plate, while I had a Woodside Chevre Souffle. We both had the Rack of Lamb for our main course and skipped dessert.

At Manguri, in addition to a huge bonfire and more food, two telescopes were set up so we could see close ups of Jupiter (with 3 moons) and a gorgeous orange 3/4 moon. We were very lucky as it had been overcast most of the day,  but cleared just in the right spot for us to see several constellations as well as the Milky Way.

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Apr '15

Day 6 – Ghan to Katherine

collage_20150409120902141The second part of our journey begins. After breakfast at the Duck’s Nuts Cafe, we were taken to board the Ghan in Darwin. The train is over 700 meters long with about 200 passengers this trip, with about 30 in the Platinum section with us. The food on board has been amazing! We were given sparkling wine as we boarded, and served lunch soon after. Frank had barramundi and I had chicken.

The first off-train excursion was to Katherine Gorge. The scenery in the gorge was spectacular!

Once back on the train it was dinner time. We started with a taste of cream of cauliflower soup, followed by a smoked duck entree. For the main meal we chose a combination of Kangaroo and Crocodile that was quite tasty. Dessert was cheese and/or a wattleseed meringue roll.

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Apr '15

Day 5 – Darwin Museums

collage_20150407203030888Free day in Darwin,  so we visited three popular attractions.  First up was the Defense of Darwin Experience. The main attraction there was a video presentation about the bombing of Darwin in February 1942 by the Japanese.  The museum also has a collection of military vehicles and artillery including a fixed 9.2 inch gun to defend Darwin from attack by sea. The gun was constructed during WWII,  but was never used in battle – the style of naval attack it was meant to defend was already obsolete.  By the 1940s strategy had moved to carrier based air attacks with ships remaining out of range of land based artillery.

Next up was the NT Museum and Art Gallery. The Cyclone Tracy exhibit was excellent.  We hadn’t realised how wide-spread the devastation was, nor how many people were evacuated immediately after the cyclone.  The museum also houses and extensive collection of aboriginal art and excellent natural history displays.

Finally we visited Crocasaurus Cove where we saw some huge crocodiles and other native fish and reptiles. I held a snake and a lizard, and we were able to feed some juvenile crocs.

A pub dinner featuring barramundi finished off a great day.

Tomorrow we board the Ghan for a 2-1/2 day train ride to Adelaide. Not sure whether we’ll have internet access before Friday.

Apr '15

Day 4 – Ubirr and East Alligator River

collage_20150406165819767Day 2 of our Kakadu adventure started at Ubirr where we saw rock paintings and hiked up to the top for a 360 degree view. The rock paintings here showed the animals that were hunted in xray view with the tastiest bits highlighted. That’s a barramundi in the top right corner photo. Just below it is a stick figure with swollen joints. This is to warn people that they will get sick if they stay too long. There are uranium deposits nearby,  so most likely they are warning about radiation sickness. Similar figures were drawn at Nourlangie which is near the Ranger Uranium mine.

The two central photos show the magnificent views from the top of the rocks near Ubirr. Each direction had a different landscape: wetlands, savannah,  rocky plateau.

The other major activity for the day was a boat ride on the East Alligator River.  This river is the border between Kakadu and Arnhem Land. Our aboriginal guide told us how his people used various trees and plants that grow along the river. We were able to get out on the Arnhem Land side of the river at a rock outcropping with great views.