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Journey Beyond with the legendary Ghan train

There is something romantic about a rail journey, watching the scenery pass by as the train rattles its way across the landscape. You can’t get a more iconic rail journey than that of the Ghan in Australia – travelling across a sunburnt country of the rugged landscape with its ochre-red earth, adorned with sporadic tufts of hearty green vegetation stretches endlessly towards the horizon.

Rail travel delivers a far richer experience beyond being among that scenery but around the people, smells, vibrations and sounds of a moving train.  It’s travelling for real, at its ethereal best.

The Ghan is a great Australian rail journey that travels 2,979 kilometres between Darwin and Adelaide, stopping at Katherine, Alices Springs and Cooper Pedy. Originating from the pioneering days of the late 19th century, when the ambitious dream of connecting the north and south of the vast continent was conceived, the Ghan emerged as a testament to human perseverance and ingenuity. Its name pays homage to the Afghan cameleers who traversed these arid landscapes, their camels carrying vital supplies to remote settlements. Over the years, the Ghan has evolved, embracing technological advancements while honouring its heritage, and today stands as an enduring symbol of Australia’s spirit of exploration.

From the early days of dusty steam locomotives to the sleek, modern train that graces the tracks today, the Ghan has witnessed the transformation of a nation. It has connected remote outback towns, opened up trade opportunities, and become an icon of luxury travel. The history of the Ghan is etched in the stories of those who have travelled its iron veins, their tales of rugged landscapes, shared camaraderie, and unforgettable encounters with the heart and soul of Australia. As you board the train and embark on your journey, you become a part of this rich tapestry of history, experiencing firsthand the legacy that continues to thrive along the tracks of the magnificent Ghan.

Here is all you need to know to make the most of your Ghan Train journey.

Choose your cabin classes

The Ghan. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

There are two classes of train cabins, 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. The 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 for deluxe lounge seating during the day and window views out both sides of the carriage.  The size of cabins is almost twice that of the Gold Class.

Relax with all-inclusive

The Ghan. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

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. There are many off-train experiences to choose from at each stop and are included in your fare. The only thing you will have to pay for is the additional off-train experiences or souvenirs. EFTPOS and credit card facilities are catered for but there is no cash-out option during transactions.

Dining onboard

The Ghan – Dining. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

Dining onboard the Ghan Train is a culinary adventure in itself. Relish exquisite dishes prepared by talented chefs using locally sourced ingredients. The Queen Adelaide Restaurant offers a delightful menu that showcases the flavours of the region, complemented by a selection of fine wines. Indulge in a sundowner at the Outback Explorer Lounge and sample gourmet canapés while mingling with fellow travellers.

Embracing train time

The Ghan. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

While traversing the vast Australian Outback, take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of the journey itself. As you glide through ever-changing landscapes, embrace the sense of tranquillity and solitude that comes with train travel. Engage in conversations with fellow passengers, share stories, and forge new connections. Observe the subtle shifts in the scenery, from red desert dunes to lush green pastures, and marvel at the sheer magnitude of Australia’s natural wonders.

Off train excursions

The Ghan. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

The Ghan Train offers an array of exhilarating off-train experiences that reveal the diverse wonders of Australia’s Outback. These experiences will enrich your journey and create memories that last a lifetime. Australia’s rich indigenous heritage is an integral part of the Ghan Train experience. Engage with local Aboriginal communities to learn about their ancient traditions, Dreamtime stories, and unique connection to the land. These encounters provide invaluable insights into Australia’s oldest living cultures. Some of the off-train excursions include:


  • Cutta Cutta Caves
  • Katherine Outback Experience
  • Nitmiluk Gorge Cruise
  • Nitmiluk Rock Art Cruise
  • Nitmiluk Gorge Helicopter Flight (Additional costs apply)

Alice Springs

  • Alice Explorer
  • Desert Park
  • Simpsons Gap Discovery Walk
  • Standley Chasm Cultural Walk
  • Uluru Fixed Wing Scenic Flight (Additional costs apply)

Coober Pedy

  • Discover The Majestic Breakaways
  • Explore Coober Pedy
  • Opal Experience
  • The Painted Hills & Lake Eyre Scenic Flight Additional costs apply

How to pack for the Ghan

man in black coat walking with a suitcase on the platform
Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on

When preparing for this epic voyage, remember to pack light and practical. The Outback’s arid climate calls for light, breathable clothing, a wide-brimmed hat, and comfortable walking shoes for off-train excursions. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and a refillable water bottle. Keep a light jacket handy for cooler evenings. While onboard, casual attire is fine which allows you to relax and embrace the laid-back ambience. There are toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap and body lotion) supplied in the bathrooms. Try to pack light and use a small case as there is limited storage space in cabins.

Add more to your Ghan journey

The Ghan. Photo Credit – Kate Webster

Do 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/3-night journey stopping in Katherine, Alice Springs and Coober Pedy. However, 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 at this part of the world, you can find some extended itineraries here.

For more information on the Ghan, visit

Kate Webster

Kate Webster is the founder and owner of Captured Travel Media. She is a world traveller, ocean lover and conservation warrior who is determined to make every moment count for not only herself, but the world around her. An editor and travel journalist, Kate travels the globe in search of vivid imagery and compelling stories that capture the essence of the people and places she visits. She is a passionate conservation advocate, sustainable traveller and always travels with reason and cause.