Experience one of the greatest train journeys in the world when you take The Ghan from Alice Springs to Darwin. If you are wondering how the service got its name – it is an abbreviated version of its previous nickname ‘The Afghan Express’, which comes from the Afghan camel trains that trekked the same route before the advent of the railway.
For nearly 100 years Darwin's residents have been waiting for the Ghan railway to link them to Alice Springs. The 882-mile Alice-Darwin section was finally opened in February 2004 and has been a huge success.
This incredible journey takes you through the Red Centre to the tropical environment of Darwin. Sit back in comfortable seats and enjoy panoramic views across the immensity of this beautiful continent.
In the early days of the Ghan, the driver would stop the train and set off into the bush to shoot something for the passengers to eat! Needless to say this doesn’t happen now and the great trains have beautifully decorated and comfortable restaurant cars, each with its own special historic theme.
The Ghan provides two main levels of service – Gold Service and Red Service.
All meals are included in all options under the Gold Service fare and are served in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant Car. The superb meals are served by friendly waiters, on elegant china, accompanied by fine glassware and cutlery. Excellent wines and beverages are available for purchase. Breakfast meals include a choice of cooked or continental, lunch is a two-course meal with various choices, and dinner is a three-course meal with a number of dinner options.
The three options within the Gold Service are listed below:
Gold Superior Cabin: This super deluxe accommodation includes an extra large cabin with a double bed and additional fold-down single bed plus bar-fridge, complimentary wine with dinner and many other delightful extras. Two adults and one child can be accommodated in each cabin.
Gold Single Cabin: This provides superior, well appointed day and overnight single cabin accommodation including a lounge chair converting to a single sleeping berth with shower and toilet facilities located at the end of each carriage. The maximum number of passengers per cabin would be one child and one infant. A complimentary toilet bag, magazine and souvenir Certificate of Travel certificate are provided.
Gold Service Twin Cabin: These cabins are about half the size of the ones provided under the Gold Superior Cabin option. The twin cabins feature a three- seater lounge converting to upper and lower sleeping berths plus ensuite facilities with toilet, washbasin and shower. The cabins in this category can accommodate two adults and up to two infants.
Meals are not included in the Red Service fare but the Red Service provides a bright, cheery Diner Car where affordable, tasty light meals and drinks may be purchased. The Diner and Buffet Car are fully licensed. DVD players are available for hire at minimal cost. Showers and toilet facilities are at the end of each carriage with towels and soap provided. A complimentary onboard magazine is provided.
Red Day/Night Seat: Seating is in comfortable two abreast reclining chairs upholstered in pure woolen cloth trim, with individual reading lights. There is generous leg room and the seats can swivel to face each other. Overhead racks cater for hand luggage. DVD players are available for hire at minimal cost.
At around 0900h (9:00am) on Tuesday (or Friday) the train will arrive at Katherine and will stop there for about 4 hours. Passengers can leave the train and go sightseeing and a number of tours are available.
At 1300h (1:00pm) the train will set off again and arrive at Darwin at 1730h (5:30pm) on Tuesdays or 1830h (6:30pm) on Fridays.