In most people’s minds, train journeys are unlikely to be synonymous with luxury.
The majority of rail passengers are all too familiar with a morning commute that entails being packed into a carriage at bursting point, like smartphone-savvy sardines in a tense tin of dissatisfaction, unless, of course, you’re one of the lucky sardines in first class. Ten thousand miles from Monday morning’s misery is a level of locomotive luxury that feels closer to a million miles away. Wave goodbye to cluttered carriages and say G’day to spacious sophistication on a four day journey like no other. Australia’s world famous Ghan Expedition kicks sardine service to the curb and treats its passengers like the bigger fish they are.
Linking the Northern and Southern Australian capitals of Darwin and Adelaide, The Ghan impressively spans almost two thousand miles of outback. If that doesn’t blow you away then consider this – if you were to tilt The Ghan’s tracks up towards the sky, you could travel to the International Space Station and back three times, with three hundred miles to spare. As exciting as this hypothetical space-train voyage may sound, an astronaut’s view of Australia lacks the intimate perspective reserved only for The Ghan’s terrestrial travellers. This really is a journey like no other, so forgive the outdated pun and let’s take you full steam ahead through some of the finer details of this epic adventure.
Choosing from two service levels, you’ll step aboard the train at Darwin station, acquaint yourself with your private cabin and meet the expedition’s dedicated service team. Dining in the Queen Adelaide restaurant carriage with ever changing views of the northern outback from your window, you’ll be well on your way to Katherine, where you’ll go from rails to river on a cruise along the waterway running through the ancient and spiritual Nitmiluk Gorge. More adventurous explorers might want to consider upgrading their first excursion to a scenic flight over Kakadu or Nitmiluk National Parks, before all passengers return to a three course dinner, complemented by a beautiful outback sunset.
Waking up to a spectacular sunrise, you’ll arrive in the beating heart of Australia’s Red Centre – Alice Springs. This intriguing isolated outback town is yours to discover, whether exploring the town’s landmarks, navigating the bush or upgrading to an intimate fixed wing flight over Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta. For us though, the real highlight of day two actually comes at night with an authentic outback bush barbeque under the stars, where you can take full advantage of being able to witness the Southern Hemisphere’s completely different set of constellations, accompanied by an informative astronomical talk.
Before today, you might think that you’ve been to some pretty remote places, but your next stop in Manguri takes the meaning of the word ‘desolate’ to a whole new level. Luckily, this isn’t your next destination but the place where you’ll meet your guide for the day, who will take you to the intriguing town of Coober Pedy. Australia’s sun-scorched, Opal producing capital has come up with a unique way to beat the heat of the sometimes unforgiving outback sun, by moving much of the town underground. The town is also home to a world famous grassless golf course, the only one of its kind in the world, which most residents play on at night, with glow-in-the-dark balls, to avoid the sun.
Leaving the dusty desert behind, after breakfast on board, you’ll finally witness the lush pastoral lands of South Australia as you approach its cultural capital Adelaide. Here, not only are you well positioned to sample the fruits of being in Australia’s greatest wine producing region, but you’re also in close proximity to Kangaroo Island, arguably the best place to get up close to the country’s favourite marsupial mascot.
The Ghan has been taking this vast journey for over 85 years, which, in addition to the above, is testament to the unforgettable memories it has provided passengers in that time and we hope for years to come. For an Australian experience with a difference, get in touch and hop aboard The Ghan Expedition.