The Ghan arrived in Katherine on the same day that it left Darwin. Mark and Alexa chose to do a helicopter ride over the Katherine Gorges, as that has taken a boat ride on the first two gorges many years ago.
The helicopter could only take three passengers, so with about fifteen people wanting the flight, there needed to be five flights. At twenty minutes for the flight and about ten minutes to swap the passengers over, it took about three hours to complete all the flights. The extra half hour was because the office at the airport could only hold nine passengers, so the remaining six passengers stayed with the bus that went to where the cruise boats depart and then came back later.
As anyone who have been on a helicopter knows, the helicopter has quite a substantial vibration when in flight. This vibration has quite a high frequency component so even digital cameras that have quite a high shutter speed end up with the vibration being visible in some photos. If the photos in the film strip below are enlarged, some will show the vibration.
Because it can be difficult to get a really steady picture with a standard, it is recommended that if you are taking a flight, don't waste all of your twenty minutes looking with you r eye to the camera's view finder and appreciate the view with your eyes.
One option is to use the rear display on the camera, so that you can look out the window and glance at the screen to decide when to press the button. Using this option Mark and Alexa took lots of photos (many more that shown on this page) and saw the big picture through the windows.
The cruises generally travel on two of the gorges at the most. The helicopter provides a view of all thirteen gorges and puts them into the context of the surrounding terrain.
Over the course of their travels, Mark and Alexa have experienced situations where the provider has made a mistake or had an equipment failure which resulted in the outcome being better than planned. The Ghan was no exception and because the excursion brochures had not been updated in their cabin, they were only charged $200 per flight rather than $220 per flight which was the current price.
The flight was well worth doing, even if Mark and Alexa had paid the $220 per flight price. It is an excursion that they believe you should consider if you are going on The Ghan and have the opportunity to do the flight.