Taking the Ghan train in Australia – A Photo Essay

Last week I flew to Adelaide in South Australia from Sydney to take a train called The Ghan with Great Southern Rail to the city of Darwin in the Northern Territory. It was a journey that lasted 3 days, 2 nights and 54+ hours and it was quite the experience.

The following is a photo essay from my journey, stay tuned for a travel video from the trip coming soon.

About to board the Ghan in the city of Adelaide in South Australia.

Taken from near the back of the train this is probably one of the pictures I am most proud of.

The sky in the middle of the outback is so big as funny as it sounds, it reminded me of my Cross Canada Road Trip that I went on last June with my friend Candice.

The sunsets were made up of spectacular colours that filled the sky.

I wonder if “Red sky at night, sailors delight” applies in the middle of the Australian outback no where near an ocean?

Typically dusk and dawn is when you have the best chances to see wild kangaroos and other animals, however I didn’t see any wild roos on this trip.

A shot of the beautiful Queen Adelaide Dinning Room that I got to eat in every day.

I did however see some Kangaroo on my plate! One of the many meals I ate on the train (yes it was delicious!)

Each night after dinner I would come back to my room and find my bed pulled down and made with a delicious chocolate to eat!

After we passed the Tropic of Capricorn and went further north past Alice Springs I started seeing these gynormous termite mounds dotting the landscape. 

In the Red Class on the train you got to eat in the Matilda Cafe and I loved the vintage green colour of the hallway.

I also enjoyed walking down the corridors that were “S” shaped like a snake, it was almost like dancing when trying to walk down them while the train was in motion.

The beauty of an engine that pulls all 28 cars. Yes… I realized after I took this photo that I maybe was in an unauthorized area… but it was all for the art of the project! Silly Canadian tourist.

And of course to finish off an awesome 3 day 2 night trip on the Ghan going through the Australian outback to the top end I celebrated with a lovely glass of champagne.

28 Comments

  • Reply
    D.J. - The World of Deej
    November 5, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Great shots and a great trip….would love to do a long overland train adventure like this…

  • Reply
    Things I love about Australia | Cailin Travels
    April 23, 2012 at 9:09 am

    […] traveling the east coast of the country from Hamilton Island to Sydney on a previous trip and then taking the train called the Ghan through the Australian Outback from Adelaide in South Australia to Darwin in the Northern Territory […]

  • Reply
    Andrea
    April 21, 2012 at 6:31 am

    The bed looks pretty comfy for a train! I’ve never seen the centre of Australia – such an amazing journey…

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 2, 2012 at 11:02 pm

      It was really comfy and the rocking of the train kind of puts you to sleep like a baby! haha

  • Reply
    Laurence
    April 21, 2012 at 6:20 am

    Wow Cailin, what a journey. I did this by road, but train just looks to be a hell of a way to experience the mighty outback scenery. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 2, 2012 at 11:03 pm

      Ya it was pretty epic. And its nice to be able to not worry about driving or stopping for food and gas, and just letting someone else take care of everything :) A high class way to travel for sure :)

  • Reply
    Alexa Meisler
    April 20, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    That train sure is pimped out! That meal certainly looked delicious too. It got me all hungry now. Is this the best train ride you’ve had so far?

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 2, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      This is by far the best train ride I have ever taken!! It was fantastic :)

  • Reply
    Jim Cregeen
    April 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Hi Cailin. This was sent to us by a rail fan friend in Melbourne and it brought back super memories of our 4 month trip to Oz in 1994 when we did the Perth to Adelaide on the IP. In 1996 we returned to perth, bought a caravan and went clockwise all the way around including Darwin to Adelaide again, and back north again to continue the clockwise tour. This time we were there for a full year before selling the van and flying out of Sidney. Thanks again, Jim & Marie, now living in Spain.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 2, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      Oh wow! Such great memories, glad I could help you reflect! You will have to come back and do it all again some day soon! :)

  • Reply
    James
    April 20, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Hi Cailin,

    I was on the same trip as you from Alice Springs up to Darwin — you passed us with your tripod whilst we were in the Explorer Lounge I think :-)

    I’m interested in the photo you took from the rear of the train; was there a viewing area that I didn’t know about? I’m a bit bummed I missed that one!

    Looking forward to your video.

    James

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 20, 2012 at 11:46 am

      Hey James!
      Its a small world! How did you find me? Had you already known my site? I wish you had said “Hi”!

      There is not a viewing area for the public at the back of the train its actually just a tiny window on a door that opens in the crew quarters and I had special permission to get back there. It was pretty wicked though :) haha

      How did you enjoy the Ghan? Wasn’t it lovely? :)

      thanks for reaching out and commenting! :)

      • Reply
        James
        April 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm

        Hi Cailin,

        I actually caught the link via Facebook after it was posted on Great Southern Rail’s FB page. Yes, we should have come over and said hello! One of the staff serving us mentioned there was a travel blogger on board — we could have had a nerdy website chat!

        The Ghan was great. Next time we’ll give more consideration to what time/segment we travel, we were only on board from Alice Springs to Darwin, which as you know was mainly over night so we didn’t get to see too much scenery as it was either dark or we were on our whistle-stop tour.

        • Reply
          Cailin
          May 2, 2012 at 11:06 pm

          Oh very cool! Don’t you just love social media / technology sometimes? haha
          I also do love me some nerdy website chatting! haha

          I hadn’t thought of that part of the trip not getting much of a view because a lot of it was at night. I definitely think you should do it again and check out my video I posted about the trip, you will like it for sure! :)

  • Reply
    Amanda
    April 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    It looks pretty awesome! I’ve never taken a really long train trip (my longest was an overnight one in China), but I would love to do something like this someday!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 2, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Amanada I can only describe it as epic! hahaa You must do it someday :)

  • Reply
    Mike O'
    April 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I just love train travel for the romance of it all, not to mention the fabulous food (not the roo though) and the breath-taking upclose and personal wildreness… awesome. Remember to checkout the Undercover Boss : Australia.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm

      Oh don’t knock the roo until you have tried it! haha its delicious!!

  • Reply
    Jaime
    April 19, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    This looks fantastic. No cabin fever? That’s a long time to be a on a train.

    Are there classes on the train? Do you have a link to ticket info?

    Jaime

  • Reply
    Melissa- The Mellyboo Project
    April 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Great photos Cailin! :) I’m still soooo jealous!!

    Cant wait to meet up with ya in Sydney :)

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      Thanks Mel! :)
      See you soon!

  • Reply
    Nora - The Professional Hobo
    April 19, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I’m so glad you had what looks to be a great time on The Ghan! Ah….the memories….

    I didn’t see much in terms of wildlife from the trains on my own Aussie rail adventures, so don’t feel too bad!
    And strangely enough, I found it EASIER to walk the curvy halls of the Gold cars…I could just stumble along with the rocking movement of the train!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 19, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      It was wonderful Nora! :)

      It was funny by the end of the trip I was really good at walking in the hallways but on the first day I bumped into a lot of things! haha

  • Reply
    Christine
    April 19, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Amazeballs! So want to do this one day!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      You definitely have to come back to Australia and do it Christine!! :)

  • Reply
    Ric Garrido
    April 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Cailin,

    I chuckled when i saw the word gynormous. My wife says humongous for the same meaning and she didn’t believe me recently when I told her that wasn’t a word in the dictionary when we younger before the internet made slang widely accessible. Humongous started 1965-70. Gynormous might be the new humongous.

    More to the point. I love your photo essay. I was just reading Gary Arndt talking about how a serious blogger needs quality camera equipment for photos when traveling. Sure, that would be nice if you can afford it and want to carry lots of camera equipment. I am fine with a point & shoot.

    Then I see your photoessay and Australia comes alive for me. These photos make me feel like I am on the train. The window in the photo frame gives the perspective of being on the train and seeing Australia from a seat window. The self-portrait photo of you behind a sun splash is gorgeous.

    The S curve car looks comfortable for a stroll.

    Looks fun and scenic and remote.

    Hope to see you again at TBEX12.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      April 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm

      What a wonderful comment Ric! thank you so much :)
      However gynormous is a word no matter what you say haha
      I’ll also let you in on a little secret most of these photos were taken with a Nikon D5100 but a couple were taken with my iphone4s, I wonder if you can tell which is which?
      Look forward to meeting again in June.

      Cailin

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