Leisurely roll where camels trod

The Ghan train persists southwards through the motionless Red Centre of Australia and I lie in bed, snuggle into crisp, white cotton, and watch the day dawn.

The rhythm of the rails.

Sun smearing orange across the sky, then peeping over the horizon, squinting sharp, golden rays.

We are on the way from Darwin to Alice Springs, and the train will then continue to Coober Pedy and Adelaide, completing the 2979km smoothly on steel where once cameleers trod the trackless sand. I can only try to imagine their days and dawns out here in the 1800s.

The Ghan is named for such history and memory; for the transport routes that were established, the songlines that were followed, and the connections that were made across the Central Desert.

Today, the full journey takes the train four days and three nights, but travellers can also just book this top section that I’m on, between Darwin and Alice Springs, sleeping on board for one night, and stopping for an excursion in Katherine.


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