We spent a pleasant day on the train, crossing the Snowy River and riding along the Snowy Mountains. We got to see a lot of the countryside along the south-east coast.
When we arrived in Melbourne, we hit a major snag -- we couldn't get passage to Tasmania for several days at least. We didn't want to wait in Melbourne (lovely though it is) until we could cross but we also didn't want to cut Tasmania from our plans.
We spoke with a very helpful travel agent named Cassie who suggested a re-ordering of our itinerary. She got us booked into each of the places we wanted to visit (Cairnes, Alice Springs/Ayers Rock, Tasmania then back to Sydney) with "backpack-fare" flights between each.
While we were in Melbourne a solar eclipse (visible in Australia) occurred. We'd heard about it on the news and were marvelling at how we just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see it. And then, the moment came and... we forgot all about it. It started getting dark so we went back to the room. When we came out for dinner some time later it was light again. Sigh. The eclipse looked pretty spectacular on the news.
So, after a bit of fashion shopping we hopped on our Quantas flight to Cairnes.