It seems trains travellers are split into two groups – those who sleep like babies, and those who can’t sleep at all. GW is renowned for being able to sleep anywhere, but we now know trains are the exception… Consequently I was woken at 5 am by a bleary-eyed husband who was bored with his own company. It did mean we watched the sunrise and that is still my favourite time of day.
We stopped in Alice Springs for lunch where we headed off to ride camels through the land to the south of the Gap. It was everything I hoped it would be. The gentle giants ambled along through an arid landscape with the McDonald Ranges rising ahead. Our guide could have stepped straight out of Raiders of the Lost Ark 🙂 All we needed were billowing white gowns and we could have been movie extras ourselves.
It was fitting we were riding camels, which along with their Afghan drivers, gave The Ghan its name. They were the backbone of transportation in the centre of Australia for so many years. We’re about to head deep into that country in the iron camel that replaced them.
Afterwards, wandering through the Sunday markets, the flavours of the fast food stalls reflected the ethnic diversity of the dusty town. Coffee machines sat side by side with Curry vendors, Korean pancakes sellers and Bushtucker produce.
Back on board The Ghan and we headed out through the Gap again and into the desert. Miles and miles of red earth, silvery grass and trees that look as though they’ve turned in on themselves hiding from the heat. Sunset was magnificent.
We headed to bed, me with my fingers crossed GW will sleep in 🙂