Posted by: tangararama | June 24, 2008

Day 18: Adelaide and Surrounds

 

Today was a bit of an explore around the surrounds of Adelaide day. After waking up I grabbed a few more photos of this very unique accommodation where we are staying. 

The Mount Lofty Railway Station lodge is at the highest point on the line between Adelaide and Melbourne, at a height of 492m (1,613′), and is 31km from Adelaide (19.5 miles). The tracks through here were originally broad gauge (the Victorian and South Australian standard) but have since been converted to standard gauge all the way from Adelaide to Melbourne around 1996 and part of an initiative to standardize the gauge of all interstate railways in Australia.

Mt Lofty Railway Station Lodge

Mt Lofty Railway Station Lodge

Our first port of call was the historic village of Harndorf in the Adelaide Hills – a picturesque German village.  A further 30 minutes down the road we reached the small town of Tungkillo where I lived for a a short period around 1990. It was great going back there for the first time since, and as expected – absolutely nothing has changed.

Ben revisits Tungkillo

Ben revisits Tungkillo

From Tungkillo we drove a different route down the hills back into the Adelaide region, visited the shopping area at Unley, and headed back to the lodge via Belair and Crafers.

Not much of a day today, really. Heading back toward Sydney tomorrow – not really sure exactly how far we’ll be going at this stage – but I’m aiming for the town of Hay, or preferably Wagga Wagga.

 

Posted by: tangararama | June 23, 2008

Day 17: Outback SA to Adelaide

 

Today we complete our journey and it marks the end of the train phase of the entire trip. It will be sad to leave the train behind – it’s been my first big train trip, and it was thoroughly enjoyable.

We push on southward toward the South Australian capital, Adelaide. The landscape becoming bushier, a little greener, and the sky again covered in the grey wintry cover we had left behind on our journey north. 

Changing Conditions Outside

Changing Conditions Outside as we head South

During our breakfast of scrambled eggs we make a brief stop at Port Augusta to pick up some supplies and today’s newspapers.

Breakfast in the Stuart Diner

Breakfast in The Stuart dining car

Morning tea was supplied as we roll in through the outer northern suburbs of Adelaide for our on-time arrival into Adelaide’s rail terminal just on lunch time.

Approaching Adelaide\'s Rail Terminal

Approaching Adelaide’s Rail Terminal

A short taxi ride from the rail terminal took us back to the Comfort Inn in the city where my Subaru had been safely parked. Again – I want to thank the helpful people at the Comfort Inn, North Terrace for allowing me to leave the car there for 8 days at a fraction of the price of a long-term parking establishment.

A short drive out of town takes us to where we are spending the next two nights – Mount Lofty.

Adelaide City from Mount Lofty

Adelaide City viewed from Mount Lofty

We are staying the next 2 nights at Mount Lofty Railway Station Lodge –  yes, this is a Railway Station that has been converted into a 2-unit lodging house with all facilities provided. This station is no longer a passenger station, and is located on the main Adelaide-Melbourne rail line. Groups of rail enthusiasts often rent out the station for holidays. The unit we are in has 5 single beds and a double bed, a kitchen, two bathrooms, a large eating area, television/DVD, cooking facilities, microwave oven, two electric heaters, an open fireplace with firewood supplied – all for just $95/night (weeknight rate). The eating room is the old signal box, and the balcony is the station platform – with real trains going past day and night!  It’s an amazing place – as Erk Pod’s BJ the Research Guy shows in this Erk Pod video report below – 

See you back tomorrow for more!

 

Posted by: tangararama | June 23, 2008

Day 16: Outback NT to Outback SA

 

We continue our southbound return journey today traveling through the night down the centre axis of the Northern Territory and through the heart of Australia, witnessing some amazing landscape.

Desert Sunrise, Outback NT

Desert Sunrise, about 100km south of Tennant Creek, NT

The day started with a truly amazing desert sunrise about 100km south of Tennant Creek of which I was lucky enough to capture some amazing pictures and video footage.

Dust Storm near Alice Springs

Dust Storm, near Alice Springs NT

As our train rolled closer toward Alice Springs we indulged in a breakfast of pancakes with cream and berries. With the changing landscape we witnessed some spectacular sites including a desert dust storm I was able to photograph from the train.

Desert Park, Alice Springs NT

One of the Friendly Critters at the Desert Park – Alice Springs, NT

Today’s highlight was a visit to the Alice Springs “Desert Park” – a popular tourist destination where various desert plants and wildlife are on display.

Alice Springs from ANZAC Hill with Ghan in Foreground

Alice Springs from ANZAC Hill with The Ghan in the foreground

On our return to the train, our bus driver had time to take us on a quick tour of the Alice Springs township with a visit to the ANZAC Hill lookout – near the centre of town where we were able to get some amazing pictures of our train from a distance, and the amazing landscape that surrounds Alice Springs. Before long we were back on the train and rolling again.

It goes without saying, dinner aboard The Ghan was again amazing – with a variety of amazing dishes available including Barramundi, Kangaroo, Chicken, Pork as we crossed the South Australian border into the night.

 

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