This Scenic Train Ride Is the Best Way to Venture Deep Into the Australian Outback (Video)
Cross-country train travel is inherently nostalgic, harkening back to a time before travel meant gate changes and rental cars, and instead included the glamour of dining cars and matching luggage sets. Mix this with the vast beauty of the Australian outback, and you've got an intoxicating blend of luxury and adventure — and The Ghan just happens to be one of the world’s greatest and most luxurious train journeys.
This 1,850-mile trip between Adelaide and Darwin is an opulent affair: guests can feast on meals crafted with local ingredients and sip some of the world's best wines at the Queen Adelaide restaurant while reveling in the Art Deco setting, a nod to the Ghan’s first year of service in 1929.
The three-day journey cuts through the middle of the continent, giving guests a unique opportunity to marvel at the beauty of the remote, exploring in-depth an area few travelers often get to.
Spend your days cruising through the majestic sandstone cliffs of Nitmiluk Gorge, and walk through the native ghost gums at Simpsons Gap in the West MacDonnell Ranges (keep your eyes peeled for rock wallabies while you’re there). While most of these off-train experiences happen to be included in the fare, a scenic plane trip over iconic Uluru is worth an upgrade, soaring over the outback and offering a unique way to see the ancient monolith.
At the end of the day, with a glass of Shiraz in hand, you'll surely feel transported to a different era — a feeling you may not want to leave behind when the train finally pulls into the station.
The Ghan leaves from Adelaide and Darwin. You can also take the Ghan in either direction from Alice Springs. Note that the journey traveling south takes an additional day.
When to Go
The Ghan departs weekly but does not run between December and January. During high season (June–August) there are twice-weekly departures. Full timetable and fare details are available at journeybeyondrail.com.au.