Taking The Ghan in Australia

I leave for Australia in less than two weeks and it is fast approaching! My plans for my time there are coming together and one of the exciting things I will do is take The Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin thanks to Great Southern Rail!

What is The Ghan?

Originally know as “The Afghan Express”, The Ghan is a train that goes straight up (or down) the middle of Australia from Adelaide to Darwin. Named after Afghan Cameleers who came to Australia in the late 19th century to help make the red center of this vast country accessible.

As I had said before I have been to Australia a “few” times but have yet to see more than the East Coast so having the chance to ride The Ghan is really exciting!

How long does The Ghan train ride take?

The whole trip takes 54 hours with a 4 hour stop in Alice Springs and a 4 hour stop in Katherine, covering 2,979km in just 2 nights and 3 days.

Up until this point the longest train ride that I have taken was, last June on my cross Canada Road Trip with my friend Candice and that was only 20 hours from Halifax to Montreal. We also did that trip sitting up in uncomfortable seats the whole time, thankfully while on The Ghan I will be in my own cabin and will be able to actually sleep this time. However I’m not sure how much I will want to sleep as I can just imagine how beautiful the landscape will be and the night sky is breathtaking I’m sure as well, I won’t want to miss it. (Must pack lots of RedBull…).

More Ghan Facts:

  • The original rail tracks would often get washed out due to flash flooding and the train actually had a caboose full of track repair gear so if needed the crew and passengers could act as a rail crew and get things back together.
  • People tell a story of the train once getting stuck in the middle of no where for 2 weeks straight and the engine driver shot wild goats to keep everyone fed… yikes! Lets hope that doesn’t happen to me… although it would make for a great story…
  • The trains first departure was on August 4th, 1929 and ran only between Adelaide and Alice Springs with the intention of it eventually stretching all the way to Darwin in the Northern Territories. Almost 75 years later on February 3rd, 2004 the railway was finally completed and The Ghan made its first trip all the way to Darwin.

Here is a video to catch a glimpse of what I will be enjoying and filming myself.


Do you like trains? What was the longest journey you ever took?

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    Marianne
    April 6, 2012 at 1:51 am

    I’m a big fan of train travel and have been since my days living in New York City! I’d love to take the Ghan train – such great photos and information. The longest train I’ve ever taken isn’t that long at all – Strasbourg, France to Zurich, Switzerland, but it was wonderful!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      Marianne you should definitely go to Australia and take the Ghan someday! :)
      I’m a big fan of train travel too!

  • Reply
    Cam
    March 29, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Sounds like an epic adventure is on the horizon!
    I also love train travel. Longest one was in India, from Udaipur to Mumbai. It was about 18 hours, I think.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      What was that train experience like?
      The Ghan was pretty awesome, now I’m planning for the next! Maybe Trans-Siberian? :)

  • Reply
    Abby
    March 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    I love trains!!! But I remember one super-long trip I took years ago, and I was exhausted when I finally got to my destination. 54 hours is a LOT!!!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      54 hours is a lot! But it was nice that I had my own room I could hide in and my own toilet and shower. It was quite the trip :)

  • Reply
    Laurence
    March 24, 2012 at 7:42 am

    That is going to be a heck of a trip. One of the greatest train journeys in the world! Enjoy!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Thanks Laurence!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    March 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    This will be such an awesome journey! I love train travel. Never did any in Australia but this would definitely be on my list if we still lived there.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Well you will just have to visit again and do it! It was pretty awesome :)

  • Reply
    Alexa Meisler
    March 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Well if you get stuck somewhere for two weeks in that train you get to try goat meat which I’m thinking should be delicious? But this will certainly be a great experience for you and I hope you have things with you that will keep you busy for 54 hours!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      March 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      haha thanks Alexa! I’ll let you know how it tastes if it comes to that ;)
      Apparently the train can be quite the party and the 54 hours can go by really fast! So hopefully I won’t go stir crazy :)

  • Reply
    Yvonne
    March 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    wow. this sounds AMAZING!!!!!!!!! can’t wait to see the videos!!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      March 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      I’m getting soooo excited!! :)

  • Reply
    Lisa
    March 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    What an adventure!! I’d love to take a cross-country train trip like that some day. Enjoy!!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      March 23, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      thanks Lisa! :)

  • Reply
    Melissa- The Mellyboo Project
    March 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Wow! What an amazing opportunity. I am very much looking forward to hearing all about this. Lucky you! I miss Australia SOOOO much. Roughly a month till I’m back (albeit only for 10 days). But MAN! The Ghan! Wow! :P

    • Reply
      Cailin
      March 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      Hopefully we can meet up when I am there! :)

  • Reply
    Ryan
    March 22, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Wow, this is going to be quite the adventure! Enjoy yourself!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      March 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm

      thanks Ryan ! Not sure if it will top your crazy adventures but I’m pretty excited about it :)

  • Reply
    Nora - The Professional Hobo
    March 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    You’ll have a blast! I absolutely loved The Ghan, and found not a moment of boredom on the amazing and beautiful journey. And the whistle stops are great too; a perfect amount of time to get off the train, stretch your legs, and check something out before returning to the train nicely refreshed.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      March 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks Nora! I read all of your posts! I hope I have as good of a time as you and that I meet some great people :) Sounds like I might do the Camel ride instead of the tour you did :) Or maybe take a helicopter! :)

  • Reply
    Jools Stone
    March 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Wow, have a blast, that one’s high on my wishlist! Look forward to reading the posts. :)

    • Reply
      Cailin
      March 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      I knew you would like it Jools! I’ll make sure i take lots of pics, video and notes for you! :)

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