The Ghan Railway

The Ghan Railway

The Ghan Railway

One of the greatest rail journeys in the world, The Ghan (named after the Afghan cameleers who helped explore and build infrastructure in the outback between the 1860s and the early 1900s) traverses Australia’s wide open spaces. From the pastoral hills and plains of South Australia to the rusty Red Centre and the tropical greens of the Top End, the colors are diverse. On whistlestop tours, you can visit the famous outback towns of Alice Springs and Katherine.

Platinum and Gold levels of service are available, both with sleeping cabins. In the Platinum Lounge (Platinum Service) and Outback Explorer Lounge and Queen Adelaide Restaurant (Gold Service), guests can enjoy all-inclusive drinks and dining. 

Between Adelaide and Darwin, you can take The Ghan in either direction. Alternatively, you can take the half-way route between Alice Springs and Adelaide or Darwin. It takes an extra day and night to travel from Darwin to Adelaide between April and October, known as The Ghan Expedition. On the Ghan Expedition, you will also have the opportunity to visit the world’s opal mining capital, Coober Pedy, where many residents live underground.

What to expect

  • Experience the wide open spaces of the Australian outback
  • Visit Alice Springs and Katherine for fascinating off-train adventures
  • Take advantage of the excellent food and wine offered on board

Accommodation

Gold Service: Choose from single or twin Sleeper Cabins, which include complimentary toiletries and bath towels. Meals are included in Gold Service fares, and guests can dine in elegance in the Restaurant Car or relax in the Lounge.

Twin and Single Cabins (with bathroom): feature a three-seat lounge that converts into sleeping berths and a compact private bathroom equipped with a washbasin, toilet and shower. The cabins are fully serviced with fresh pillows, sheets, and doonas. Additionally, the cabins feature foldaway tables, reading lamps, 3 pin 240 volt power outlets, wardrobes, and a full length mirror.

In Single Cabins (shared bathrooms), you will find similar features as in Twin Cabins, including a wash basin, however, toilets and showers are located at the end of the carriage. A complimentary welcome kit, bath towels, and toiletry bags are provided to all Gold Service cabins.

All other luggage should be checked in, and guests of the Gold Service are encouraged to carry an overnight bag with everything they need onboard.

Upon request, GOLD SUPERIOR & PLATINUM SERVICE cabin prices can be provided. For assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

A GOLD SUPERIOR SERVICE is ideal for guests seeking an additional level of comfort and space. Gold Service Superior Cabins are equipped with a 34-inch double bed and an additional fold-down upper berth. There is a lounge area with a DVD player, a table, armchairs, and a well-stocked bar fridge with complimentary refreshments. It is necessary to make an advance reservation. A train departure usually only has two Gold Service Superior Cabins.

Your onboard experience is elevated with PLATINUM SERVICE. With spacious, luxurious cabins featuring high-quality fittings and en suite bathrooms; elegant dining in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant Carriage; and a flourish of service, attention, and indulgence, you’re sure to have a memorable experience. The Platinum Service epitomizes the hospitality and attention that have made Australia’s Great Train Journeys world-famous. All meals, standard alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, off-train excursions and outback experiences, as well as private transfers to and from the station, are included in the Platinum Service. There is an additional charge for the in-cabin dining menu.

Fast facts

  • Time: 3-4 days, 2-3 nights
  • Distance: 2,979 kilometers (1,851 miles)
  • Nearest major cities: Adelaide, Alice Springs, Darwin
  • Transport: train
  • Price: $$$

DAY 1: ADELAIDE TO THE OUTBACK

Embark on The Ghan in Adelaide at noon and watch Adelaide’s gracious outskirts roll into pastoral lands and undulating wine country before flattening into rugged mallee scrub. Pass through the coastal towns of Coonamia and Port Augusta. Speed through Cadney Homestead, at the gateway to the Painted Desert, and cross the Dingo Fence, the world’s longest fence built to keep dingos out. Small, rustic railway towns and vast tracts of Aboriginal land, where communities have maintained their connection to country for thousands of years, await you. While enjoying cocktails in the Outback Explorer Lounge, watch the sun set over the vast outback. Dining on South Australian produce from an ever-changing menu in the classically-styled Queen Adelaide Restaurant represents the regions traversed by the train. Pair your red wine with a platter of local cheeses from South Australia’s McLaren Vale or Clare Valley regions. 

DAY 2: THE OUTBACK

Alighting at Marla in South Australia, passengers can enjoy a light breakfast in the heart of the outback while watching the sunrise. Once you cross the Northern Territory border, you will travel through the small bush town of Kulgera and over the generally dry Finke River before arriving in Alice Springs around noon. Learn more about the landscapes that The Ghan traverses at the Alice Springs Desert Park. Do a tour of the town and visit the base of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which provides airlifted medical support to the outback communities of Australia. A scenic helicopter flight over the ancient red MacDonnell Ranges or a camel ride in the desert are optional upgrades. In the late afternoon, reboard the train and travel north through the desert while enjoying dinner on board.

DAY 3: KATHERINE TO DARWIN

As passengers alight at Marla in South Australia, they can watch the sunrise while enjoying a light breakfast. After crossing the Northern Territory border, you will travel through the small bush town of Kulgera and over the generally dry Finke River before arriving in Alice Springs around noon. At the Alice Springs Desert Park, you can learn more about the landscapes traversed by The Ghan. Visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service base in the town, which provides airlifted medical support to outback communities. Optional upgrades include a scenic helicopter flight over the ancient red MacDonnell Ranges or a camel ride in the desert. After dinner, reboard the train and travel north through the desert.

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