Your Dream Vacation is Here

Ghan Railway

There are very few global journeys hailed as national treasures. Travelling on The Ghan is one.

This legendary train evokes a frontier spirit, a romantic connection to the land, and travelling on it creates a moving and unforgettable life experience.

In 2019, The Ghan celebrates 90 years of outback adventure, its legend stemming from the 1930s when the first Afghan cameleers arrived in Australia. On that momentous journey, the train was dubbed ‘The Afghan Express’ and then shortened to the legend it is today, ‘The Ghan’.
Today you can become part of this celebrated history, following in the tracks of those pioneers as you journey through Australia’s red heart.
Regarded as one of the world’s greatest rail journeys, The Ghan delivers so much more than an extended train ride. It promises access to parts of Australia no other holiday can come close to – the perfect balance of comfort and adventure culminating in an experience that will move you in every sense of the word.

HISTORY OF THE GHAN RAILWAY

Originally dubbed the Afghan Express, The Ghan train was named for the pioneering cameleers who blazed a permanent trail into the Red Centre of Australia more than 150 years ago; the original Ghan line following the route of explorer John MacDouall Stuart.

1839

The first cameleers arrive in South Australia. ‘Harry’ was the sole surviving camel from a group of six that made the voyage from Tenerife in north-west Africa to Port Adelaide. In 1846, Harry carried supplies for explorer John Horrocks on an expedition around Lake Torrens.

1860s

No other camels were imported until the 1860s when they soon arrived in the thousands as central Australia was opened up by explorers. Right through until the early 1900s, cameleers made a significant contribution to the economy, transporting goods, mail, water, tools and equipment to remote towns, helping the development of major infrastructure projects including the Overland Telegraph and the construction of rail lines.

1877

Construction of a new Port Augusta to Alice Springs railway line begins. Workers build the track up to Oodnadatta (665 kilometres from Port Augusta). This remained the northernmost point of the track until the line was completed 38 years later.

1911

The Commonwealth commits to construction of an Adelaide to Darwin rail line to connect the almost 3000 kilometres between southern and northern Australia.

1929

On August 4, an excited crowd gathers at the Adelaide Railway Station to farewell The Ghan for the first time. It carries more than 100 passengers and supplies bound for the remote town of Stuart, later to be called Alice Springs. Two days later, the historic journey was complete.
The train was steam hauled, and the service had to contend with extreme conditions including flash flooding and intense heat. As such, it was often irregular. Legend has it The Old Ghan was once stranded for two weeks in one spot and the engine driver shot wild goats to feed his passengers.

1940s

The Ghan line is used to transport servicemen for training and deployment during World War II. The year 1944 was the busiest time in history for the railway with up to 247 trains running per week.

1960s – 1970s

Through the transportation of crucial supplies, The Ghan railway plays an important role helping grow major industries across the interior and in Adelaide and Darwin, such as mining, transport and agriculture.

1980

It was always intended for The Ghan to travel from Adelaide through to the Northern Territory city of Darwin. With the completion of the Alice Springs to Darwin rail link, this dream became a reality. The Ghan embarked on its inaugural transcontinental journey on 1 February, 2004.
The track we use today replaces the ‘Old Ghan’ railway that travelled via Quorn and across some of the most flood-prone regions of central Australia. The Pichi Richi Railway still operates a tourist train called The Afghan Express on the original path of the Old Ghan.

2001

Ninety years since the promise of the transcontinental rail to link Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin, work begins to fill the 1420 kilometre gap from Alice to Darwin.

2014

The Ghan celebrates its 10-year anniversary of the Alice Springs to Darwin line by inviting special guests aboard the train, including Australian musician James Reyne and former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer. Among the celebrations is a concert and fireworks display at Pimba in South Australia.

2015

On 23 May 2015 The Ghan Expedition journey departs Darwin on the first four day/three night journey of its kind, allowing guests to visit Uluṟu and Coober Pedy without leaving their Ghan trip.

2019

The Ghan celebrates 90 years of outback adventures.
Today, the north-south cross-country journey covers 2979 kilometres and encounters spectacular and diverse landscapes from the pastoral hues of the South Australian plains, the rusty reds of the MacDonnell Ranges and the tropical greens of Katherine and Darwin.

THE GHAN RALWAY IN NUMBERS

YOUR AVERAGE RETURN RAIL JOURNEY INCLUDES APPROXIMATELY:
Facility Description
AVERAGE LENGTH OF TRAIN
774M
AVERAGE WEIGHT OF TRAIN
1400 TONNES (BASED ON LOCOMOTIVES AND 30 CARRIAGES)
LENGTH OF TRACK
2979KM
LENGTH OF JOURNEY
54 HOURS – 2979KM
AVERAGE SPEED OF TRAIN
85KM/HOUR (MAX SPEED 115KM/HOUR)
SYMBOL
THE GHAN'S SYMBOL IS A CAMEL AND ITS HANDLER IN RECOGNITION OF THE PIONEERING AFGHAN CAMELEERS.
AVERAGE NUMBER OF CARRIAGES
30 INCLUDING GUEST CARRIAGES, CREW QUARTERS, RESTAURANTS, LOUNGES AND POWER VANS.
Create the foundation of your next adventure with the following 3 unique journeys, travelling in the direction of your choice on the legendary Ghan.

JOURNEY THROUGH THE HEART OF AUSTRALIA

In 2019, The Ghan marks 90 years of outback crossings. Much has changed since 1929, and today The Ghan offers more than transit between Adelaide to Darwin and vice versa. Onboard you will find sumptuous dining, elegant private cabins, attentive service, and the camaraderie of your fellow travellers. And when the train stops, the adventures begin. Choose from a huge range of included off-train experiences to create your own rich and rewarding personal journey through Australia’s outback and beyond. Choose from one of the following journeys to create the foundation for your next adventure or, extend the experience with a tailored holiday package. Welcome aboard.
"AMAZING FUN FABULOUS FOOD, GREAT
COMPANY, STAFF AMAZING, NOTHING TOO MUCH
TROUBLE. WOULD RECOMMEND GREAT
SOUTHERN RAILWAYS TO EVERYONE, LIFETIME
MEMORIES."
JAN STANDEN
WESTERN AUSTRALIA

BOOK A TRAIN JOURNEY THROUGH AUSTRALIA

Limited time? Book a Journey and connect with a cruise or your Australian holiday. Choose from 3 unique journeys, travelling in the direction of your choice.

ADELAIDE TO DARWIN

OR VICE VERSA GOLD SERVICE SINGLE

3 DAYS | 2 NIGHTS
FROM $1,919 PP

A legendary train. An unforgettable Australian adventure. Travel aboard The Ghan between Adelaide and Darwin on the all-inclusive Outback Spirit journey.

ADELAIDE TO ALICE SPRINGS

OR VICE VERSA GOLD SERVICE SINGLE

2 DAYS | 1 NIGHTS
FROM $1,099 PP

Travel aboard The Ghan from Adelaide to Alice Springs on the Red Centre Explorer. An all-inclusive, one night, two day journey to remember.

DARWIN TO ALICE SPRINGS

OR VICE VERSA GOLD SERVICE SINGLE

2 DAYS | 1 NIGHTS
FROM $1,099 PP

Step aboard The Ghan for an unforgettable train journey through the Northern Territory. An all-inclusive rail holiday, Top End Discovery travels between Alice Springs and Darwin on a one-of-a-kind adventure.

BOOK AN AUSTRALIAN HOLIDAY PACKAGE

Extend your adventure even further and choose from our expertly-curated holiday packages to further connect with the unique locations The Ghan travels through.

7 DAYS | 6 NIGHTS
FROM $2,699 PP

Taste of the Top End

13 DAYS | 12 NIGHTS
FROM $6,739 PP

Outback To Island

6 DAYS | 5 NIGHTS
FROM $2,329 PP

Alice Adventure

12 DAYS | 11 NIGHTS
FROM $11,749 PP

Kakadu And Ancient Lands

7 DAYS | 6 NIGHTS
FROM $3,349 PP

Alice Explorer

10 DAYS | 9 NIGHTS
FROM $4,949 PP

Spirit Of The Red Centre

8 DAYS | 7 NIGHTS
FROM $8,759 PP

Journey To The Dreamtime

"INCREDIBLE JOURNEY, EXCELLENT SERVICE, GREAT STAFF, A WONDERFUL WAY TO RELAX."
JILLIAN HALL
VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA

AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY

Regarded as one of the world’s greatest rail journeys, The Ghan delivers so much more than an extended train ride. It promises access to parts of Australia no other holiday can come close to – the perfect balance of comfort and adventure culminating in an experience that will move you in every sense of the word.

A LAND UNLIKE ANY OTHER

Prepare for a holiday of unimaginable proportions as the legendary Ghan takes you deep into the heart of Australia. Enjoy the comfort and solitude of your private cabin, lose yourself in conversation with newfound travelling companions, or simply gaze out of the window taking inspiration from the ever changing landscape.

LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN

And when the train stops along the way, the adventures begin. Take your time tapping into the rich creative soul of Adelaide. Experience the dramatic scenery of central Australia on the back of a camel and explore the ancient, awe-inspiring wonders of the Northern Territory.

EXTEND THE JOURNEY WITH THESE OFF TRAIN EXPERIENCES

[slick-slider design="design-4" category="96"]

Book hotels in AUSTRALIA Island