There is a mysterious appeal about The Ghan. Its reputation precedes it as a transcontinental rail trip of legendary status, a trip of a lifetime. But what is the journey really like as you disappear into Australia’s infamous outback, travelling from coast to coast.
Read on for deeper insight into what makes The Ghan the king of Australia train trips.
Let’s start with the facts: The Ghan train traverses 2,979 kilometres travelling from Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Springs and then in reverse. The train departs Adelaide every Sunday and takes a leisurely 6 days to complete the round journey.
Included in the journey are stops at Katherine where the outback meets the tropics, Manguri for a special night amongst the stars, Australia’s opal capital Coober Pedy, and the official halfway stop of Alice Springs, gateway to the Red Centre.
Whilst the majority of travellers will only travel one way, the various stops and excellent excursions on both the outbound and return leg lends a strong incentive to complete the entire journey.
The Ghan is a dedicated tourist train, one which many previous travellers correctly refer to as a mobile luxury hotel.
Traversing Australia aboard The Ghan is like a geography lesson in motion. Bluffs emerge from behind misted foregrounds; fields of tall maize sway like waves in the distance and tumble-weeds cartwheel by as red sand is whipped into tiny tornadoes.
You will gaze in wonder at many of Australia’s quintessential landscapes – it is almost like viewing a television documentary through the wide-screen effect of the carriage windows.
Empty ochre deserts to tropical grasslands, arid mountain ranges and vast swathes of scrub land will pass you by. And at the start and end of this mammoth overland adventure you can enjoy dip your toe into ocean blue waters of the Indian Ocean and Timor Sea.
Outback Australia is renown for its unforgiving landscapes, but unlike the pioneers of days gone by, you’ll sail through this harsh world in your deluxe, air-conditioned carriage.
This classic rail holiday is in fact a bewildering triumph of engineering. 127 years in the making with rails laid on some of Australia’s most desolate and flood-prone plains of Australia. It wasn’t until 2004 that the final section of the journey from the Red Centre to Darwin was completed.
Gone are the days when economy sleeper seats catered for backpackers and budget travellers. Fully renovated as recently as 2016, now there are only two classes – the premium Platinum service or Gold service. Both classes provide cabins with air conditioning, and private en suite bathrooms.
Included in the price of your fare are some of Australia’s finest food and wines which can be enjoyed in the classically styled Queen Adelaide Restaurant Car. Almost every meal boasts a three course menu so you won’t go hungry in the desert. Platinum travellers also have the option to dine in the exclusive Platinum Club.
For a selection of Ghan travel options head to our Australia page.
For more in-depth details about The Ghan train prices, seasons, departures or other Australian train journeys feel free to Contact LOCO and we’ll happily answer all your queries.