Icons on rails

The Ghan - Image Great Southern Rail

There are very few global journeys considered national icons but travelling on The Ghan and the Indian Pacific are indeed quintessential Australian experiences.

From the moment you step aboard these legendary trains, you can feel it – the spirit of adventure and a sense of something very special about to unfold.

A journey of discovery aboard The Ghan and the Indian Pacific across the full length and breadth of the world’s largest island is a showcase of the rich tapestry of everything Australia has to offer.

And they bring people together. One of the unexpected bonuses you’ll discover on your journey is the incredible camaraderie and excitement shared by fellow travellers.

All sectors include a range of exciting Off Train Experiences to choose from (gorge cruises, live shows, rock art tours etc) and now, there’s even more to look forward to with amazing journey extensions available that genuinely make these holidays of a lifetime.

Whether your journey is from Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Springs (or reverse) on The Ghan, or Sydney to Perth via Adelaide (or reverse) on the Indian Pacific, there are essentially three travel class options to choose from.

The most popular choice of accommodation is the Gold Twin Service cabins that have everything you need to make you feel right at home for the amazing adventures that lie ahead.

The cabins are a private oasis to retreat to and a very comfortable overnight room to recline and let the rhythm of the tracks sway you to sleep ahead of your next adventure.

During the day, relax on the three-seater lounge that converts to your upper and lower sleeping berth at night. Enjoy fresh sheets, bath towels, pillows, doonas and complimentary Australian made quality toiletries. Gold Twin Service cabins have a compact en-suite with hideaway toilet, wash basin and shower giving you all the comfort, privacy and amenities you require.

One of the highlights of your journey will undoubtedly be the quality of the all-inclusive food and wine you enjoy in the Queen Adelaide Restaurant.

Highly-experienced on board culinary teams work closely with local suppliers, farmers and providores sourcing the finest ingredients to create innovative, regionally-inspired menus accompanied by all-inclusive fine wines and beverages offered on every route.

You’ll savour regional delicacies like Top End Barramundi, locally produced beef and lamb, Margaret River cheeses, Barossa Valley smallgoods and native Australian fare including kangaroo, saltbush and wild rosella flower.

As a Gold Service guest, you’ll be able to board with up to 60 kilograms of luggage per person and for travellers on The Ghan, complimentary Shuttle bus transfers are available in Darwin to select hotels in the city centre.

For the discerning traveller, the Platinum Service adds an enhanced level of sophistication to each journey.

Luxuriously appointed, spacious suites complemented by discreet, personalised service and world class food and wine make this a very special travel experience. Platinum guests also enjoy premium extras like in-cabin breakfasts, nightcaps, expansive window views from both sides of the train, a full-size ensuite and exclusive use of the Platinum Club carriage.

And with a generous baggage allowance of 90 kilograms per person (3 x 30kg bags), you certainly don’t need to worry about packing lightly.

The first thing you’ll notice about your Platinum cabin is the abundance of space, almost twice the size of a Gold Twin Cabin.

If you are departing Darwin on The Ghan, the premium level service begins before you even board with transfers included to Berrimah Terminal in stylish leather-seated Coaster vehicles.

The third choice is for solo travellers. The Gold Single Service is an affordable compact sleeper cabin option that offers all the luxurious inclusions of the Gold Twin Service with shared bathroom facilities at the end of the carriage and you have your own complimentary, quality Australian-made toiletries included.

Whichever journey you choose - the three-day, 2979 kilometre trip from Adelaide or the epic 65-hour transcontinental crossing from Sydney - you will experience a legendary adventure that sits on the bucket list of passionate travellers the world over.

How the legend was born

The romance of The Ghan has its roots in the late 1830s when the first cameleers arrived in Australia.

With their ‘ships of the desert’, these ‘Afghan’ migrants - mostly from a region that became modern Pakistan – were courageous and resilient souls who ferried supplies across the remote interior.

By 1877, rail construction was underway and the need for the cameleers was diminishing but they would be immortalised when the first steam train rolled out of Stuart (which later became Alice Springs) in 1929. On that momentous journey to Adelaide, the train was dubbed ‘The Afghan Express’ and then shortened to, ‘The Ghan’.

This article was published under license by Well Travelled Agency.

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