Travel Type: Rail
Features: Desert, gourmet dining, rail journey
HERE’S THE PLAN
Embark on a one-of-a-kind and extraordinary adventure as you discover the marvels of Australia's expansive interior through the lens of one of the globe's most celebrated rail expeditions – The Ghan, traversing between Darwin and Adelaide.
The Ghan Expedition is a 4 day / 3-night rail journey travelling from Darwin to Adelaide with off train experiences in Katherine, Alice Springs and Coober Pedy. A shorter 3 day / 2 night Ghan journey between Adelaide to Darwin or Darwin to Adelaide is also possible however with fewer off train experiences.
Darwin is the start of this epic journey – Australia’s northernmost capital city with tropical weather and a laid-back atmosphere that’s easy to lap up. Enjoy waterfront dining, sunset cruises, beach-side markets and the chance to see (and eat) and even swim with crocodiles.
Treat yourself: Start your adventure in style with a stay at Bamurru Plains just on the edge of the dual World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. Or glamp in beachfront bungalows at Banubanu Beach Retreat in North East Arnhem Land, overlooking the Arafura Sea.
Embark on your journey on The Ghan with a morning departure from Darwin. Once comfortably settled into your private cabin, engage with fellow travellers or savour the exceptional onboard offerings of food, wine, and service. Lunchtime introduces a regionally inspired menu complemented by a selection of inclusive wines and beverages, followed by an early afternoon arrival at the Top End township of Katherine.
Immerse yourself in a leisurely cruise through the ancient natural wonders of Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge. This 13-gorge river system is flanked by 70m cliffs, you’ll see ancient Aboriginal rock art and spectacular nature and wildlife as you learn about the stories of the Jawoyn people - the traditional owners of the surrounding land.
As the sun sets over the outback, indulge in a delightful dinner, and return to your cabin to find a meticulously turned-down bed. Drift into a peaceful slumber as the train gently continues its journey south.
Treat yourself: Take a helicopter flight as an optional upgrade to fully appreciate the size of the river and gorge.
The following morning awake to the breathtaking Red Centre – the spiritual heart of Australia - and a day brimming with excursions unfolds in the outback town of Alice Springs.
Alice Springs is popping with things to do: Art galleries in Todd Mall with Aboriginal paintings ready to send home, Olive Pink Botanic Garden, Desert Wildlife Park, Reptile Centre, Anzac Hill, Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame and the Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum.
The evening concludes with a stunning barbecue dinner under a million stars at the historic Alice Springs Telegraph Station.
Treat yourself: For an added touch of luxury, consider an optional upgrade for a scenic flight to Australia’s “Rock Star” Uluru, thought to be about 600 million years old. View this mesmerising monolith and learn about the region from its traditional owners – the Anangu people.
MANGURI AND COOBER PEDY
The next day as you head south, you will notice a “moonscape” begins – as thousands of opal mine shafts dominate the landscape near the quirky outback town of Coober Pedy.
The Ghan stops at the outback outpost of Manguri and from there you’ll venture into the opal-mining town. Here all the action is underground – hotels, homes, a church, bookstore and attractions – including your gourmet lunch!
Discover the Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park, encompassing nearly 15,000 hectares of breathtaking arid landscapes and home to almost 60 native flora species.
Treat yourself: Upgrade to the Painted Hills and Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre scenic flight. Soar over stunning scenery; Australia’s largest salt-lake and stop at the famous William Creek Hotel – the quintessential outback pub.
As your journey continues south, the “red rugged outback” gives way to golden canola fields.
Enjoy a leisurely brunch as you prepare to arrive mid-morning into your final destination – the city of Adelaide. The Festival City has beautiful beaches, Mediterranean weather and is rich in culture, innovative food and world-famous wines.