Darwin & The Ghan, June 2021

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Darwin and Litchfield. The Ghan to Katherine and Alice Springs. 22-30 June 2021.
And some videos:
Stokes Hill Wharf Jet skis, dinner cruise from Stokes Hill Wharf. Light show on Australia’s tallest travelling Ferris wheel seen from the cruise.
Litchfield Waterfall.
Katherine Gorge
Fruit Bats Katherine Gorge

We had a great time in Darwin and left on the Ghan one day ahead of the declared start date of various COVID hotspots along the way.

But 12 hours before we were due to cross the border into SA they closed it, so our Ghan came to a halt in Alice Springs. No way forward, no way back. They gave us a very nice breakfast but then asked us if we could leave the train please, because it was going into a shunting yard. Fair enough, they run trains and know nothing about accommodation and travel outside their train track. There were around 300 people on the Ghan, so it was better for everyone to make their own way than to expect the train staff to arrange all our accommodation and travel home. A mad scramble for air seats and the limited accommodation in Alice Springs in other words.

Our travel agent Bruna from Holidays of Australia did an amazing job. We were enjoying dinner under the stars at the old Telegraph Station on Sunday night when the word came through, and although the travel agent office was unattended of course, Bruna replied to our email cry for help on Sunday night and got things moving. Working from home no doubt.

We decided to stay in Alice for a couple of nights so that we could get more reasonably priced flights, and use some of our credits from our now cancelled flight home from Adelaide.

We feel sorry for all those folk much worse affected than us. We heard a worker on the phone walking down the train corridor saying he had just learned that he had lost his job. Huge disruption and unexpected expense for lots of people. The Ghan are offering 50% credit for future travel but no refunds.

But we were well and arrived home late on the Wednesday, and had a wonderful half-holiday. They locked down Alice Springs at 1pm, but we managed to get a taxi to the airport just before then, in the midst of traffic chaos, panic buying etc. Then our plane was delayed as Qantas scrambled to find seats for folk like the family in the row in front of us, whose holiday had become a flight to Alice Springs airport and another straight back to Melbourne.

The ACT Government declared Alice a hot-spot from 6pm on the Wednesday onwards. Fortunately we flew out at 3pm, so no quarantine needed. Another lucky escape.

Love From
Barbara and Lance

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