One of the world’s great train journeys.
If you’re considering finally doing that big train voyage you’ve always dreamt about – book it now, you won’t regret it. Earlier this year, Shaun from Sales & Marketing was fortunate enough to take a trip on The Ghan Expedition, a slightly longer format of Australia’s great venture through the centre of Australia, between Darwin and Adelaide. Read all about his adventure below. If you are planning on going on The Ghan, don’t forget to stay at one of Majestic’s Hotel’s four Adelaide properties before or after the trip (Roof Garden Hotel, Old Lion Apartments, Tynte Street Apartments or Minima Hotel).
Hosted by Journey Beyond, the adventure can only be described as above and beyond in both service and experience. Not only was every request catered for with a smile and can-do attitude, the activities themselves exceeded expectations.
After departing Darwin with a celebratory drink in the lounge car, followed by lunch on board we arrived in Katherine in the early afternoon with a host of touring options. Most revolved around the scenic Nitmiluk Gorge – a truly majestic piece of Australian scenery, teaming with wildlife. After spotting a croc or 2, we returned to the train and pushed on overnight towards Alice Springs.
A full day stop in Alice provides a whole host of options for off-train excursions, from a more laid-back town tour taking in key outback organisations & museums like the Royal Flying Doctor Service and School of the Air to the more fast paced Simpson Desert walk and City BMX tours or for those keen to splash on an upgrade – scenic flights around Uluru. The surprise and delight of the day is an awe-inspiring dinner under the stars at the Old Telegraph Station featuring history, astronomy, camel rides and the chance to dance under the stars with a live band for those with the energy left to kick on into the night.
A good night sleep is assured after a big day in Alice, so waking up in time for the stop for Coober Pedy is a little more difficult than the first morning! From the train it’s a short bus ride to the Breakaways for a truly unique Australian landscape. Refreshments at the ready ensure everyone remains cool and well hydrated while honing the photography skills. A delicious Greek share plate lunch is followed by tours of underground opal mines and local Serbian Orthodox church. A bonfire and Canapes by the train await on return to the train siding, a great opportunity to further mingle and if lucky see a cracking sunset over the desert plains before the train sets off as dinner is served, heading towards home.
The final morning is a relaxing one – breakfast remains open until later so you can enjoy the view as the train makes its way through the South Australian countryside. Saying goodbye to the friends made through the journey wraps up as the train pulls up to the Adelaide Parklands Terminal – exchanges of phone numbers, emails and socials means everyone will stay in touch for years.
Shaun’s tips for the Ghan:
– Where possible, book The Ghan Expedition. An extra night on the train and dinner under the stars in Alice is an absolutely amazing experience.
– Spend plenty of time in the lounge car, it’s a great place to meet your fellow travellers over a drink or two
– Take lots of photos, but don’t get too caught up with it
– it’s an amazing journey so sit back and enjoy the scenery
– Don’t keep putting it off. While the train can be done by anyone with almost any fitness level, off-train excursion options are much more varied for those with full mobility.