Australia is a huge country, and one of the best ways to go from south to north through the centre is to take the luxury train called The Ghan.
The train runs from Adelaide in South Australia to Darwin in the Northern Territory (and vice versa), and is a journey that will both impress and surprise you.
Originally called the Afghan Express, it was so named because the train follows a similar route to that taken by the Afghan cameleers who helped develop the remote centre of Australia. In the late 19th century, camels were the only animals that could reliably transport goods that were used to construct the telegraph line that connected Australia to the rest of the world from the northern port of Darwin.
Today, you can travel in absolute luxury aboard The Ghan.
It is not just a train trip, but a wonderful experience that takes place both onboard the train and during excursions off the train in places such as Coober Pedy, Alice Springs and Katherine.
Run by Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions, The Ghan is just one of four of their journeys.
This experience means that they run these trains very well indeed.
Staff are both friendly and efficient. Accommodation onboard is very comfortable. The off-train excursions are very interesting. The camaraderie in the lounge cars is wonderful, and you do make new friends. The meals they produce from the small galleys are delicious and reflect the seasonality of the trip the guests are doing.
When you first arrive at the departure station the first thing you notice is the length of the train. It is normally 774 metres long.
Although you do travel in luxury, riding The Ghan is, indeed, a great adventure.
Although the itinerary does change, Alice Springs and Katherine, both in the Northern Territory, are regularly long stops which allow passengers to go exploring or to participate in a range of experiences.
One of these is the opportunity to ride camels; or, if you wish for something more subdued, there is a trip to the original Alice Springs Telegraph Station, which is quite fascinating, plus tours of the town.
In Katherine, passengers embark on a cruise of the Katherine Gorge, which is a great trip.
Once you leave Adelaide, you won’t see bustling crowds as Alice Springs, Katherine and Darwin have relatively small populations, but you will enjoy fantastic panoramas as you traverse some of the Earth’s most remote, hostile, yet incredibly beautiful landscapes.
Travelling on The Ghan is a true adventure that is completed without any hardship whatsoever.