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Ghan @ The Coalface


I recently had the pleasure of experiencing an all-inclusive trip on the Ghan train from Darwin to Adelaide and it was nothing short of spectacular.

Accompanied by my mum, our tour began with two nights’ accommodation at Darwin’s vibrant waterfront harbour. We took advantage of our time to indulge in a sunset cruise, enjoying stunning views. We walked into the city centre, admiring the captivating street artworks along the way. I even had time to enjoy a dip in the ocean.

From the moment we stepped aboard the Ghan, originally named the Afghan Express for the Afghanistan cameleers who settled in the Red Centre over 150 years ago, the staff’s warmth and hospitality set the tone for an unforgettable journey.

The line follows the route of Explorer, John McDouall Stuart and cabins are not only cleverly designed with ensuite and storage in a compact space, but comfortable, allowing us to sit back and enjoy the breathtaking views of Australia’s diverse landscapes through the panoramic windows.

One thing I am often asked is, ‘how can you spend all that time in a train cabin?’ The answer is you don’t.

We mainly slept and dressed in the compartment. Daylight hours consisted of gourmet meals and quality drinks served in the elegant dining car, which was a showcase of the best of local produce and flavours, chatting with other passengers in the bar/cafe carriage, and the off-train experiences which were impressive, offering opportunities to explore the rich cultural heritage and natural wonders of the outback.

Ghan @ The Coalface

The Katherine Gorge cruise was an absolute highlight. The serene beauty of the gorge with its towering sandstone cliffs and crystal-clear waters was breathtaking. Our knowledgeable guide shared fascinating insights about the area’s rich indigenous history and diverse wildlife, making the experience both educational and enjoyable.

The Alice Springs Desert Park was equally incredible. It showcased the diverse flora and fauna of the desert environment and the presentations on indigenous culture were enlightening.

That night we had dinner at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station. A fantastic live band created a lively atmosphere perfect for a fun night of dancing under the stars. The food was delicious, and the historic setting added a unique charm to the event. After returning on board, we enjoyed a few end-of-day liqueurs, capping off a perfect evening.

Our day at Coober Pedy was the reason we started from Darwin as the northbound journey misses this stop. A bus tour provided an overview of the town, and the white opal mine tour offered a glimpse into the mining process and history. Exploring the underground living spaces and the beautiful underground church was truly eye-opening, and the dining experience underground was very cool.

Ghan @ The Coalface

At the end of our tour, we once again had two nights’ included accommodation allowing us to explore Adelaide. We caught up with old friends, visited a Pick Your Own Strawberries farm, a cheese-making factory, and a brewery for lunch. The highlight was the Hans Heysen art gallery, showcasing his 100yr old Flinders Ranges camping gear alongside his stunning artworks and those of his daughter.

The weather on the trip was crazy, changing from 35 degrees and swimming in Darwin to cold, windy and rainy 4 degrees in Adelaide, reinforcing that Australia truly is a country of extremes.

Traveling on the Ghan was an extraordinary experience that blended relaxation, adventure and luxury. It’s a journey I highly recommend to anyone looking to explore Australia in a unique and unforgettable way.

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