Darwin to Sydney

After a nice night in a bed that didn’t rock with the movement, we had a gentle morning at the hotel in Darwin, that mainly consisted of getting up slowly, and getting breakfast.  We saw a couple off the train who were also staying in our hotel which, considering how many hotels there are in Darwin, probably wasn’t really the coincidence we thought it was !

Amusing breakfast choice

The Darwin Hilton hotel is really well located in central Darwin – whilst I enjoy resorts, I also like to leave the hotel.  There’s plenty close by, with restaurants literally outside, a small shopping mall, and although we didn’t walk there ourselves, the waterfront seems just a 5-10 minute walk away where there are restaurants also.

Nice morning the day we left:

Darwin seems a nice small city.  However we had a choice of one night in Sydney and two in Darwin, or vice versa, and opted for the two nights in Sydney. It looked like a day there might’ve been nice and, considering it was heavily bombed in WW2, I think there are plenty of things to see and do if you’re into that sort of thing.

It’s a pretty green looking city too.

Checked in at Virgin Australia for our flight to Sydney.  Darwin airport is, as you would imagine ‘manageable’ in size, so nice to pass through.  We went to the Virgin Australia lounge there too, which is nice and large, so well able to cope.

After a small delay, we were soon on our plane, and on our way to Sydney.

This wasn’t our first Virgin Australia experience, and I have to say it was as good as the others we had taken.  The food, drinks and service were all pretty good.

The flight was a little over 4 hours which, by the time you’ve eaten etc., actually passes relatively easily, although when looking at the flight status map, you appreciate the vastness of this huge country.  Everywhere is a long way.

Luggage collection at the Sydney domestic terminal wasn’t too bad, and after a marathon walk across Sydney airport to get in our pick up car, we were soon on our way to our hotel.  Fortunately, due to the time of night we arrived (8.30 pm ish) traffic had died down, and the ride only took 30 mins maybe.

We are staying at the Shangri La hotel which has a great view over the Sydney Harbour bridge and Opera House – I’m sure it’ll look better in the day light 😂😂😂

 

Final Day on the Train

We woke early again, and headed down for breakfast.  Not super hungry again, but a good menu choice for breakfast.  Our next stop was Katherine at around 900am, so we wanted to be ready.  Passed lots of outback on our journey – lots !

In Katherine, we strolled off on the platform and walked up to the ‘terminal’ 😂. We had booked the river/gorge cruise.  Again, well organised, with buses waiting as we arrived, people helpfully pointing out where to go etc etc.

A brief 30-odd minute bus ride, and we arrived at the Nitmiluk National Park outside of Katherine.  Saw a little Wallaby (maybe it was a kangaroo – would someone please tell me how I can differentiate other than “one is bigger than the other” !) eating in our ‘holding’ area for the tour.  She didn’t seem unduly concerned by us, and finally slowly wandered off for a better meal somewhere I assume.

The boat ride through the Nitmiluk gorge wasn’t bad.  Lots of sandstone formations, discussion about the flora and fauna and the Joawyn people.  Interesting. Not quite as hot as the day before, but still pretty warm.

Bus ride back to the terminal again, ready for a 100pm departure. Nice job by the organisers.

Interesting how the landscape and vegetation changed as we headed further north, into the more tropical part of the country, as opposed to the very arid areas we passed through.

A little hard to tell, but as we gradually got closer to Darwin, lots and lots of termite mounds everywhere.  I know they’re in these photos, I really do.

Finally, we got to Darwin around 500pm.  Quickly off the train, identified our luggage, then off to our hotel for the night.  A brief look around, a bite to eat, and off for an early night.

Decent view from our hotel window.

Dinner here !

Our digs for the night ☺️

Strange how good a nice bed feels after the train !

 

 

Next Day on the Ghan train

After a decent night’s sleep, we were up pretty early (6.15/6.30 ish), for an early morning stop at Marla.  There was next to nothing there, but a nice place to watch the sun rise.

guess who were up at 615am ?


It was nicely organised.  Fires lit, lanterns marking your way in the dark, bacon and egg rolls, tea and coffee.  We also met a crew member who happened to be from Haslemere in Surrey which was coincidentally interesting.

Back on the train again for the off, and a little later off for brunch.

Onwards we continued, with Alice Springs the next stop scheduled just after lunch.

We opted to go freestyle in Alice Springs, rather than one of the tours.  We strolled into the town centre – a hot hot day 40c/102f which in itself was ok, but loads of flies around (wished I had worn my bee-keepers hat) which were more a nuisance than the type that bite.  Still, we had fun in between the various bug sprays.  Stopped for a bite to eat in a sports bar type place, where we were served by a girl from California and a guy from Jacksonville Florida .  Then a bit of shopping – couple of aboriginal artefacts.  Saw lots of aborigines walking around, going about their business, or selling their wares.  Stop off at the supermarket for some junk to eat, then back on the train.  Having eaten so much, we elected to just get a drink in the lounge and skip the dinner.