The Ghan’s wild history started in 1878. That year, construction began on a line from Port Augusta.
For about 50 years, until 1929, the last leg to Alice Springs was on Afghan camels. That’s how today’s train got its name – The Ghan. The Alice to Darwin “Top End” route, dreamed of for more than a century, celebrated its 14th anniversary in 2018. The service has been swamped with travelers.
It takes 48 hours—two nights on board—to travel from Adelaide to Darwin over 1,852 miles of track. The Ghan has added Platinum luxury-class service. Our “Down Under Luxury: Australia Rail Extravaganza” tour, which includes “The Ghan Expedition” itinerary, operates from April to October. Several stops along the way make this a fascinating journey.
Both service levels include dining, beverages and off-train excursions.
In September 2008, The Ghan kicked off a new luxury service, limited to 24 Platinum class cabins. The same service is now being offered on Indian Pacific departures.
Each Platinum class cabin is 82.5 square feet, including private, en-suite shower, sink and toilet, which is almost twice the size of Gold Service. The cabin is converted to lounge area by day, with a moveable table and two ottomans. At night, it converts to a double or twin beds; the interior is finished in Tasmanian Myrtle wood. Each compartment has full-size shower, vanity with storage space, mirror and oversized panoramic window.
Additional amenities for Platinum Service guests include: included transfers at the beginning and end of your journey; access to the exclusive Platinum Club for dining and socializing; option to have continental breakfast served in your room.
Gold Service offers three cabin options: Gold Superior, Gold Twin & Gold Single.
Gold Superior cabins feature a 3/4 size double bed plus a fold-down upper berth, lounge area, minibar and full en-suite bathroom. There are a very limited number of Gold Superior cabins on each departure.
The Gold Twin cabin is a three-seater lounge area by day, converting to upper and lower sleeping berths at night. These cabins also have a compact en-suite bathroom with shower, sink and toilet.
The Gold Single cabin features a twin bed that converts to a seat by day. Shower/toilet facilities are shared and located at the end of each carriage.
Another great benefit: complimentary off-train excursions in Alice and other stops.
All passengers have their all-inclusive meals in the Queen Adelaide restaurant cars: breakfast, two-course lunch and three-course dinner. Seasonal, local ingredients are featured.
The Outback Explorer Lounge is the social hub of the train — with wide picture windows, bar service and snacks served throughout the day.
The Platinum Club is exclusive for Platinum Service guests. A Platinum Host serves cocktails, barista coffee and snacks. Dinner can also be taken in the Platinum Club.
The Ghan — especially in Platinum Class — is definitely on our list of World’s Top 25 Trains. It is part of an elite club of trans-continental train services in the world. We love the fine feeling of other-worldliness waking at dawn on The Ghan, peering out to see the desert drenched in gold.
The Ghan is so long, it must be split in two and boarding is from two platforms. At departure, the two sections are linked back together. The train is more than half a mile long. It has two locomotives and 24 carriages — and all of that won’t fit on one platform. Sometimes more carriages must be added, and that extends the consist to almost a mile. This makes it one of the longest in the world.
IRT definitely recommends Platinum Service for all the extra perks and priority service.
Great Southern Railways operates The Ghan and the Indian Pacific.