Australia Trains

The Ghan: 11 Things You Need To Know Before Riding This Australian Train

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Australia is a continent of extremes. The ability to see all the “extremes” that Australia has to offer has never been easier with a train excursion aboard The Ghan. The Ghan is mighty, yet luxurious in all the right places, leaving you wanting for nothing. Considered one of the best train trips on the planet, The Ghan will be an experience that will go down in the annuls as a favorite for every traveler that embarks on this adventure.

The Ghan Train
The Ghan

Why is the Australian train called The Ghan?

The Ghan derived its name from the Afghan Express, which is was previously named. The name pays homage to 19th century Afghan camel drivers who helped Australian colonizers explore the interior of the continent. It is said that one of the original crewman of the train coined the nickname and it has been called The Ghan ever since.

How long is The Ghan Train?

The average length of the Ghan is 2,539 feet. The train length can very if train cars are added or deleted. At times of high demand, train cars will be added making the length of the Ghan as long as 3,595 feet, which includes 44 carriages.

How much does it cost to travel on The Ghan train in Australia?

The cost to ride The Ghan train excursion ranges from $1485 to $3695 and beyond depending on which trip and package you choose. There are four different itineraries that you can choose on The Ghan.

Darwin to Adelaide with Off-Train Excursions

This four day and three night trek aboard The Ghan will take you from the top end of the continent, south to the coastal region. You will begin in the lush tropical environment of Darwin, then travel through the arid, red desert portion of the country, finally to be delivered to the beautiful Southern Coast of Adelaide.

This trip has the added benefit of optional excursions such as helicopter or plane trips to romantic dinners in private locations for an additional cost.

Adelaide to Darwin

Starting your journey in the coastal town of Adelaide, you will then travel north, through the interior outback of the country and experience its remote and vast landscape in this three day and two night trip. As you move through to the town of Darwin, you will be surprised by how the environment changes from red deserts to tropical rainforests.

Adelaide to Alice Springs

In two days and one night you can experience the heart of Australia with this scenic jaunt from the Coastal town of Adelaide to the peaceful desert setting of Alice Springs. Dine under the stars and awake early to see the sunrise over the rich Australian Outback.

Darwin to Alice Springs

Begin this two day and one night trip in the tropical city of Darwin. After boarding you will enjoy a trip through the top end of the continent to the red desert setting of Alice Springs. Pass through gorges and riparian environments and enjoy a hike and a cruise among ancient sandstone cliffs.

What does the Ghan include?

The Ghan includes meals, room and board, excursions, and service. Some itineraries also offer additional off-train excursions, for a fee, to explore the surroundings of the city or town the train has stopped or a helicopter or airplane trip for a special meal in a secluded area.

How long is The Ghan Train trip?

If you take The Ghan across the continent of Australia from North to South the journey is 1,850 miles or 54 hours.

However, there are shorter itineraries available with stops in various cities. If you take The Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin, it takes 36 hours and 825 miles to get to your destination by train. Taking The Ghan from Darwin to Alice Springs will take you around 24 hours and 930 miles.

Is The Ghan a luxury train?

The Ghan is among the most luxurious trains in the world. With its opulent decor, gourmet meals and impeccable service, The Ghan’s atmosphere and treatment of guests is second to none. If romance is on the docket, look no further as the living quarters are comfortable, private and are perfect for that honeymoon or anniversary celebration.

Do you sleep on the Ghan?

The Ghan is designed to spend multiple days on board with sleeping quarters or cabins that are created to feel as if you are in an exquisite hotel room. There are several options for accommodations while on The Ghan. Choose from a Gold Twin, Gold Single or Platinum cabins.

What are The Ghan cabins like?

Cabins aboard the Ghan are tastefully decorated with special attention to comfort and accessibility. There are three accommodation levels to choose from on the Ghan.

Gold Twin

Traditional style bench seats convert to a twin bed with upper and lower berths. Private ensuite bathrooms include a toilet, sink and shower. A tray table also makes eating meals in your cabin easy and convenient. There is also a large window to enjoy the ever changing view outside as it passes you by.

Gold Single

Designed for the solo traveler, this cabin is equipped with a single bench seat that folds out to a single bed. There is also a tray table to enjoy snacks and meals in a private setting when the need arises. There are large shared bathrooms at the end of the carriage. For every sixteen passengers in each carriage, there are two showers and two toilets. Additionally, one tip is that the Gold Single showers that are shared are much larger than the in- room showers provided for the Gold Twin passenger.


The ultimate way to travel awaits you with the Platinum Cabin. At almost twice the size of the Gold Twin Cabin, the Platinum cabin goes that extra mile in comfort and style. Choose from a twin or double bed cabin depending on your sleeping preference. Furthermore, with windows on both sides of the cabin for superior viewing and ensuite bathrooms, this cabin is great for a couple wanting just a little more room and privacy.

If you are traveling with a large family or a group, the Platinum Chairman’s Carriage is the pinnacle of comfort and privacy aboard The Ghan. Designed for up to eight people, this carriage features four Platinum level cabins that share a highly appointed lounge area complete with leather sofas and club chairs, a television and a kitchenette.

Which is better, the Indian Pacific or The Ghan?

The Ghan is jammed pack with additional experiences and excursions that might appeal to a younger clientele looking for outdoor adventure, while the Indian Pacific focuses more on fine wine, multi-course gourmet meals and casual excursions that might appeal to a more mature traveler. For a once in a lifetime experience, the Indian Pacific is better than the Ghan.

What is the dress code on the Ghan?

Casual, yet smart attire is recommended for the trip aboard The Ghan. For men, you may want to where attire such as a polo shirt and slacks. For women, sheath dresses or slacks and collard shirts are considered smart-casual attire.

However, you should pack comfortable and warm clothing for evenings in your cabin as the air conditioner can make nights tucked away in your sleeping quarters cooler.

What are the best months to travel on the Ghan?

The best months to travel on The Ghan are during High Season which are from May to August when temperatures in the desert are cooler. Excursions in The Outback are much more enjoyable with the moderate weather of autumn and winter.

Is the trip on The Ghan worth it?

Train travel on The Ghan is a breathtaking experience that for many is a “once in a lifetime” encounter. The ability to see an entire continent and so many landscapes in one journey is something that many will never have the chance to accomplish. The Ghan Train excursion will leave a lasting impression on even the most discerning traveler. A trip on the Ghan is totally worth the cost and effort and will leave you with lasting memories.

Wendy Edwards
Wendy is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. But for the past seven years she has traveled by RV to many National Parks, monuments and everywhere in between. She and her family of five, a furry canine friend and a bearded dragon have crossed the United States thirty one times. She never tires of hiking, biking, camping and photographing this beautiful country.