Travel by rail between Darwin and Adelaide and you are embarking on one of the great rail journeys of the world, travelling from one edge of the continent to the other, through the very centre of Australia.
There are many long distance and transcontinental train journeys in the world, and amongst the greatest, is The Ghan. Taking its name from the Afghan camel drivers who once followed the same route, The Ghan runs between Darwin and Adelaide in Australia, covering over 1800 miles in the process. If taken unbroken, the journey is 48 hours, however, one of the most appealing factors to this railway adventure, is the ability to stop off for several days at major destinations.
Train holidays on The Ghan offer an unparalleled way to see some of the very best parts of Australia from a unique perspective. When departing from Adelaide and heading north, the landscape slowly changes from lush to more barren as the red centre is approached. The town of Alice Springs is the first stop, and here the tourist can decide to take a whistle stop tour of a few hours to see the various attractions that Alice has to offer, or choose to stop over for a few nights. Doing this presents the opportunity to see one of the most famous places in Australia, Ayers Rock.
- Australia & the Ghan | Great Rail£6,795.00
Ayers Rock, also referred to as Uluru, is one of the “must sees” of Australia, and stands out in stark contrast to the countryside around it. The sunsets are particularly impressive, as the rock appears to undergo several colour changes before the sun finally disappears. In addition to Ayers Rock, there are also other attractions to be seen in the area. It is reachable by a day trip from Alice Springs, although most people will overnight at the Ayers Rock Resort.
Having returned to Alice Springs and re-boarded The Ghan, it would then be time to head northward once more. The dry, scrub desert viewable from the train slowly transforms into subtropical flora until reaching the town of Katherine. Here, a whistle stop tour is a great option, as it gives the opportunity to visit one of the less well known but arguably most beautiful places in Australia ¨C Katherine Gorge.
Katherine Gorge is an interconnected set of gorges with varying degrees of rapids and falls. It is possible to both walk and swim along them, although the organised whistle stop tours from The Ghan will most likely utilise boats to go along the longer stretches. There are some wonderful photo opportunities here, in what is truly a magical place.
Once back aboard The Ghan, the train journey carries on along its northern heading until it reaches Darwin, one of the most laid back cities in the world. Here, the railway holiday ends, although there is obviously a lot more of Australia to see! The journey is also possible in the other direction, and the timetable is designed so that the most spectacular parts of the countryside are passed through during the day time.
As with many rail holidays, The Ghan offers three levels of service, which are Red, Gold and Platinum. People looking for the most luxurious railway holiday might opt for the Platinum Service. Features such as double beds, en-suites and 24 hour room service place it in a league of its own when it comes to holidays by train. The Red service is more popular with budget conscious travellers, who desire to go on the same journey, but are not so concerned with all the first class frills. Red service passengers can choose between a daynighter seat or sleeper cabin, and there is a buffet car from where to purchase food and drinks.
Anyone interested in train holidays and thinking about visiting Australia should definitely consider The Ghan. Providing a comfortable and unique way to see some of the most important places in Australia, it offers an unforgettable adventure and memories that will last a lifetime.