5 Things to Know About The Ghan

A great many tourists have become ordinary tick-box robots travelling on auto-pilot, moving from one bucket list target to the next. The Ghan is not for them!   

Too often traveller’s fly right over the top of a country rather than seeing what’s below them. Bucket list tourists hop from airport to airport, capital city to tourist destination. They only looking out a plane window when their in-flight entertainment is interrupted by a meal, a toilet break, the end of a movie, or a window shade being opened as the day breaks on the infinite horizon.

But one thought will cross every mind as they gaze 35,000 feet below – “I wonder what’s down there”.

And that is the singular beauty of travelling by rail, rail holidays, rail tours and train travel in general.  This ‘old-fashioned’ transport solution actually delivers a far richer experience. There is a lot to say for being on the ground in the middle of that land they are gazing down upon.  Being among not only that scenery but around the people, smells, vibrations, sounds.  It’s travelling for real, at its ethereal best.

And so to The Ghan.  This great Australian rail journey has to be one of the best examples of getting on the ground and travelling the land.  Between Darwin and Adelaide precisely, this 2,979km train journey will allow you to see the middle of  Australia unadorned.

If you’ve decided that you are going to have a train holiday aboard The Ghan but not quite decided when, allow LOCO Journeys to help you make your decision more straight forward with five things you need to know when travelling aboard this iconic rail tour.

1. Gold or Platinum Class

There are two classes of train cabin. Ghan Gold Class and Ghan Platinum Class.  Gold Twin offers two single bunks that convert into a lounge by day. Your cabin offers a private en suite bathroom and a large window with your very own personal views.   Gold Single provides a bed that converts into a seat by day and shared bathroom facilities.  Space is a little tight, but neatly used.

Platinum Class is described as ‘the most luxurious transcontinental holiday Australia has to offer’.  Including in-cabin breakfast and access to the exclusive Ghan Platinum Club, your cabin will feature a double bed configured to deluxe lounge seating during the day and window views out both sides of the carriage.  The size of cabins are almost twice that of Gold Class.

Both classes offer a high level of comfort as you would expect to find in any quality hotel.  Hot shower’s with great pressure are another thing to look forward to.

2. Enjoy an All-Inclusive Experience

Sit back and relax because when you’re on-board the Ghan is an all-inclusive experience.  The impressive food and wine menu will keep you busy in the lounge cars and your reserved booth in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant coach will offer you superb dining and a full picture window. It’s a dinner view like no other, to ensure you don’t miss any of the scenery.  The only thing you will have to pay for are Off-Train Experiences, or souvenirs.  EFTPOS and credit card facilities are catered for but there is no cash-out option during transactions.

3. Important On-Board Inclusions & Exclusions

Like any intrepid traveller, you need to know what to prepare for.  Here’s a few essentials that are worth knowing before your travel;  The Ghan train is a non-smoking train; the tain is air-conditioned to approximately 22 degrees; the train does not have WiFi (maybe that’s a good thing); and finally, just in case you were wondering, pets can’t travel with you.

4. Off-Train Excursions

Part of the adventure is discovering the centre of Australia with the Ghan’s impresive off-train excursions. There are a number of optional excursions when travelling on The Ghan but be aware they can only be organised once on board the train and are not able to be prebooked.  It is still helpful to know what they are though so you can plan ahead, so here’s a quick rundown:

  • Experience the grandeur of one of the Northern Territory’s most monumental natural wonders with a leisurely Nitmiluk Gorge Boat Cruise
  • Discover the beautiful Katherine region with a Cultural Experience Tour which includes creating your own indigenous painting and learning about Dreamtime tales
  • Visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service base, the Alice Springs Telegraph Station or visit the intriguing Alice Springs Desert Park
  • If you are travelling north, experience the Marla sunrise whilst warming yourself with a morning cuppa.
  • When travelling south on the Ghan Darwin to Adelaide, enjoy the southern skies and an amazing display of stars at the Mangrui stop

5. Ghan Packages

You want to enjoy the best Ghan experience?  The Ghan train journey northbound from Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Springs is a 3 day/2 night experience.  Travelling south, The Ghan Expedition via Katherine is a 4 day/3night journey stopping in Katherine, Alice Springs and Coober Pedy.   But remember, there is an extensive range of longer and more in-depth Ghan holiday packages to choose from.  If you have the time and you want to take a more in-depth look to this part of the world, here are some of your options:

  • The Ghan. Taste of the Top End. 5 Days/4 Nights.  Alice Springs to Darwin
  • The Ghan. Taste of South Australia. 8 Days/7nights. Adelaide to Darwin.
  • The Ghan. The Territory Complete. 14 Days/13 Nights. Adelaide to Darwin
  • The Ghan. Kakadu Splendour. 7 Days/6 Nights. Adelaide to Darwin
  • The Ghan. Wonders of the Kimberley. 16 Days/15 Nights. Darwin to Adelaide.
  • The Ghan. Red Centre Secrets. 8 Days/7 Nights. Adelaide to Alice Springs.
  • The Ghan. Outback to Island. 13 Days/12 Nights. Darwin to Adelaide.

For Ghan specials, Ghan train prices, Ghan timetables and everything in between, contact Kylie at Loco Journeys by emailing hello@locojourneys.co.nz or call 03 441 4735.

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