The Ghan train is an iconic Australian rail journey and one of the world’s greatest passenger rail expeditions. The outback adventure offers an unsurpassed view of Australia between the cities of Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin, and the iconic Uluru.
Named after the Afghan cameleers who explored the Australian outback until the early 20th century, The Ghan offers an unforgettable experience, complete with lavish dining, private cabins, and the opportunity to mingle with like minded travellers. Be transported from the pastoral hues of the South Australian hills to the burnt orange canvas of the Red Centre, before arriving at the lush green pastures of the Top End. Stop at famous outback towns of Alice Springs and Katherine on whistle-stop tours along the way.
What To Expect
The Ghan’s timetable makes the most of the daylight hours to offer unsurpassed views of the passing landscape. On the Southern leg, you’ll experience the sweeping plains of Adelaide unfolding before your eyes, and the majestic Flinders Ranges; an enchanting perspective on the South Australian landscape. Each new day begins with a fresh panorama of this diverse and changing scenery. With warm red earth and stunning blue skies capturing the essence of central Australia. Venturing further north to Darwin you’ll enter The Top End where the landscape mellows, with subtropical flora staking its claim over the passing scenery. Again, in the northern town of Katherine you have the opportunity to disembark and experience the inspiring wonders of Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) before your rail journey concludes in tropical Darwin, the relaxed capital city of Australia’s Northern Territory where you can choose to extend your holiday and tailor-make your own adventure.
Travellers can choose to start their adventure from Adelaide, or travel from the opposite direction beginning at Darwin. Guests can choose The Ghan Expedition which takes them from Adelaide 2979km across Australia to Darwin in four days and three nights. Another popular choice are half-way journeys which end or start at Alice Springs. Either journey will leave you speechless with the ultimate Australian outback experience. There is a lot of flexibility to tailor the trip to your personal preferences, and some guests like to extend the experience and incorporate a tailor-made holiday at each stop.
Off Train Experiences
When the Ghan train reaches its destination, travellers can choose from an extensive range of included off-train experiences to enhance their Australian outback experience. Choose your own adventures from magical evenings at Manguri, or a spectacular dinner under the stars in historic Alice Springs.
Nitmiluk Gorge Cruise: Cruise down the Katherine River, past towering rock formations as you learn about the Indigenous Jawayn people and their stories around the Gorge. Observe the sheer walls of the Gorge and experience the flourishing plant and animal life unique to this area. You can also opt for the ‘Art Cruise’ to see indigenous artworks dating back 40,000 years, and hear fascinating interpretations and history from your local guide.
Simpsons Gap Discovery Walk: Experience ultimate peace and serenity as you walk past the majestic cliffs of Simpsons Range. Learn about more than 40 rare and relict plants while soaking in the rich magical glow of sunlight against the rock.
Pyndan Camel Tracks (Optional Upgrade): Traverse across the hearth of the MacDonnell Ranges, through the Temple Bar Gap while enjoying sweeping views of the clay plan flats before you. Keep an eye out for native wildlife including kangaroos and wallabies. Finish off and cool down by visiting the camel museum and quaint souvenir shop.
Alice Springs and Surrounds Fixed-Wing Scenic Flight (Optional Upgrade): Breathe in the wonders that Central Australia has to offer with a 90-minute scenic flight over Alice Springs and the surrounds. Look down on the vast landscapes, deep gorges, and meandering rivers as you learn about local knowledge from an experienced pilot. Every passenger is guaranteed a window seat for equal viewing opportunities as well as inflight refreshments.
Alice Springs Desert Park: See the unique plants and animals of this arid region, learning about conservation from passionate tour guides. Walk through the foliage discovering the area’s unique geography, and observing the creatures that call the outback home. You’ll have a front row seat at the bird flight show and afterwards, just show your backstage pass to meet the stars of the show, and see the resident dingoes.
Katherine Outback Experience: Learn about life in the outback with horse and working dog demonstrations to the tune of live music and good old fashioned Aussie humour. Watch the show and see how the farmers bond with their animals, learn about the history of the Northern Territory and even meet the animals face to face. The night will be complete with a few tunes performed by the station’s owner and multiple golden guitar winner Tom Curtain, often from the back of a horse.
The Ghan offers cabins with two levels of luxury. The Platinum Service provides the utmost luxury experience where guests are offered more personalized service, spacious suites and world class cuisine. Meanwhile, the Gold Service includes more laid-back meals in the Outback Explorer Lounge and the art deco Queen Adelaide Restaurant. Both levels come with elegant private cabins, attentive service, sumptuous dining, and panoramic windows for perfect observation. All guests will experience delicious, regionally inspired meals paired with local fine wines.
Book Your Ghan Experience
The Ghan railway runs from Adelaide to Darwin (or in reverse) a 3 day, 2 night journey or from Adelaide to Alice Springs (or in reverse) a 2 day, 1 night journey or from Darwin to Alice Springs (or in reverse) a 2 day, 1 night journey.
Best time to go:
The Ghan operates year round but the best time to travel on the Ghan train is May to September, the temperatures can be quite extreme in the Australian Outback and temperatures can soar over summer. The cooler, winter months make for a enjoyable experience and the majority of the additional tours are open during this time.