Alice Springs Transportation Tips by AlbuqRay Top 5 Page for this destination
Alice Springs Transportation: 30 reviews and 68 photos
Greyhound Bus Stop on Gap Road (Looking North)
Before my trip to the 2010 VT Meet and Survivor Camp in 2010, I decided to fly into Darwin and use the Greyhound Croc Stopover Package to get from Darwin to Alice Springs. At 269 AUD, it was reasonably priced and included coach travel between Darwin and Alice Springs with 2 stops. One stop was optional and the other was an all inclusive stay at the Nitmiluk Katherine Gorge tent village for one night, including the shuttle to and from Katherine bus station, linen, bedding, pillow, dinner at the poolside kiosk or bistro, and a pancake breakfast. You have up to 14 days to complete the trip but I planned to do it in 4 days. Besides Katherine Gorge, I picked the Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort as my other overnight stop.
Everything would have been fine except that the bus departed Darwin at 13:40 instead of noon on 5 Aug 2010 because it was stuck behind another bus with mechanical problems at the maintenance facility. When I asked Clare, the Greyhound lady in Darwin, she thought that the Nitmiluk shuttle would wait for me. We arrived in Katherine at 17:40 instead of 16:10. The station was closed and no one was there from Nitmiluk Tours to pick me up. When I called them, they refused to pick me up in Katherine since the bus arrived 40 minutes after my scheduled pick up time, which was 17:00. The Nitmiluk Tours lady said that the late bus was a Greyhound problem and would have to be fixed by them. This was even after I had called Nitmiluk Tours from the USA before I left on my trip to confirm my stay with them. When I asked the bus driver, Wayne, what to do, he said to call the Brisbane Greyhound office. That was no help, so I decided to stay on the bus and go to the Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort a day early. Fortunately they had plenty of vacancies and I got a room with no problem. All is well that ends well. The Mataranka Homestead Tourist Resort turned out to be a really nice place to visit. I was glad to have an extra day there.
After two days and nights at Mataranka, the bus picked me up exactly on time (18:45). I spent the third night traveling on the bus and we arrived in Alice Springs around 09:00. BTW, one of the rest stops in between was Aileron at around 07:00. Aileron is an interesting place because it has some huge metal sculptures. The Greyhound Australia bus station in Alice Springs is on Gap Road about two blocks south of the Todd Mall entrance. There is a taxi stop across the street from the Todd Mall on Gregory Terrace next to the Visitors' Center.
Inside Displays at Old Ghan Museum
The inside part of the Old Ghan Museum is small, but there are some interesting displays. Admission for seniors in August 2010 was 6 AUD. The kitchen is also there. You order your food at the counter. There are a few tables inside but there are nice outside dining areas in the garden next to the "Galahliment House." If you wish, they will bring your food to you at the tables outside. Their motto is "All food beyond this point is delicious and must be consumed." It's true too! I had the homemade soup lunch special for 8 AUD.
"There and Back"
Inside the museum itself and outside in the rail cars there are many interesting historical posters about Australian railroads. One railway was even named after Zyg!
Operational Steam Locomotive
Besides the Old Ghan train itself there are several interesting outdoor displays of historical rail equipment and cargo. See also a videoclip.
Today's Macdonnell Siding at the Old Ghan Museum
Work began on the Great Northern Railway in 1878 to link Port Augusta with Darwin to open-up central Australia. The southern section of the line reached Alice Springs in 1929, and the train running this line became known as "The Ghan", named after the Afghan camel drivers who had contributed to the developement of communication and transport links in inland Australia. It was built to the South Australian narrow gauge of 3'6" (1067mm). A new standard gauge railway to Adelaide was built on a different route in 1980 and the Old Ghan was closed.
The Old Ghan Museum and Heritage Railway is all that is left of the narrow gauge. The collection includes an operational heritage railway featuring a W924 Steam locomotive, an NSU diesel electric locomotive, a DH40 shunting engine and a variety of flattops, dining cars bar cars and other carriages. The museum itself houses a collection of photographs and memorabilia relating to all eras of the Old Ghan heritage from construction in the mid 1920's to when the narrow gauge closed.
In the 1990's the Old Ghan made 30 km journeys down the track to Ewaninga each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, but these trips were eventually stopped in 2001 when the museum had financial problems. Now the museum fires up one of the old steam or diesel engines to take visitors to Mount Ertiva (8km south of the museum) and back on the single-gauge track. Departure is on Sunday at 11:00 AM, returning around 12:30 PM. See also a videoclip.
The Central Australian Transport Heritage Precinct includes both the Old Ghan Museum and Heritage Railway, and the National Road Transport Hall of Fame. There are separate museums and outdoor displays for trains and for trucks. Each side has a tea room and the train side has a bush kitchen. We picked the Old Ghan side.
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