The Ghan

Staff member: Sherie // Trip date: Jan 2008

The Ghan From Darwin- Alice Springs - Adelaide

Darwin to Alice Springs

The Ghan departs from Darwin Train Station, Berrimah Road, East Arm.
This station is approximately 15-20 minutes away from Darwin city centre.
Although Darwin city was in close view the station looked like it was the middle of no where as there are other buildings around. The Train station is very small. Upon arrival guests take any luggage they wish to check in to the right of the station. There is a little open office with a clear sign indicating it's the luggage check in area. Next to the luggage check in is the counter where you check yourself in and present your ticket. On the left hand side of the station is a large air-conditioned waiting room for passengers to wait till its time to start boarding. Announcements are made to notify passengers when its time to board. Gold Kangaroo passengers board the train first. As there are quite a number of carriages the train is quite long and gold carriages are towards the end of the train. Gold Kangaroo passengers are driven to their carriage in an air-conditioned coach.

Once you board the train you will be shown to your cabin by one of the staff members. He/she will introduce themselves and give you directions on where the facilities are i.e. rest rooms, showers, tea and coffee making facilities, lounge and dining car. The staff members were great! They are very friendly, helpful, and attentive. If you are booked in Gold kangaroo then there will be a complimentary toiletry pack and a little Gold Pin of the Ghan logo as a souvenir waiting for you in your cabin.

I was in a single Gold kangaroo cabin. It was very compact and had no private facilities (the double Gold Kangaroo Cabin has its own ensuite). I noticed the Single carriage was actually an Indian Pacific carriage as the mirrors in my cabin were branded "Indian pacific" so obviously if there is high demand the Ghan may use Indian pacific carriage.

The Gold kangaroo lounge on The Ghan is very nice. It's quite spacious and the seats are very comfortable. Obviously you can buy all types of beverages at the bar and you can also purchase Potato chips and Panadol.

All meals are included in Gold Kangaroo class. Announcements will be made to notify guests to make their way to the dining cart at meal times. Staff will show you to your table and take your orders. The food was great and deserts even better!

The train stops in Katherine for a few hours. Passengers have the option of doing whistle stop tours

As our train was running a little late we only had 2 tour options. I chose the Katherine Gorge by helicopter (20 minute helicopter ride over Katherine) It was amazing and a great way to see Katherine. These tours cannot be pre booked with Travel agents. Before the train stops in Katherine a staff member will come around and ask you if you would to book any tours. If you choose not to go on a tour then you can just catch a shuttle bus into town and have a wonder around. If you choose to book a tour you will be given a ticket/voucher to present to the tour operator who will be waiting with an air-conditioned shuttle when the train stops.

The train station at Katherine was very similar and almost identical to the station in Darwin. Once again announcements are made when the train is ready to board. Once you return to your cabin after dinner you will find the staff members have been in and converted the seat into a sleeper. The train travels overnight into Alice Springs.

Alice Springs to Adelaide

During breakfast staff will again change your sleeper back into a seat. After breakfast the train arrives into Alice Springs at 9.10 am. Again Whistle Stop tours are available in Alice Springs. I chose the Desert Discovery Tour (Transfers and entry into the Desert Park and museum. Self guided tour) Again if guests do not want to purchase a tour they can catch a shuttle onto town.

The train station at Alice Springs is again very similar to the stations in Darwin/ Katherine. We were joined by 2 tour groups (AAPT and Globus) and there was an additional 70 people so the train was a lot louder from this point and there were 2 different dinner and breakfast sittings to accommodate all the passengers in Gold class. A staff member will come to your cabin and ask you which times you prefer. The train then makes its way to Adelaide overnight. We arrived in Adelaide Keswick station the next day at approx 1.10pm. Before you leave the train you will be given a Certificate to say you have completed the journey on the Ghan...nice touch I think.

The Scenery is exactly what you'd expect when you imagine a journey through the outback. Red soil and contrasting green patches of grass, the sights are very pleasant and exactly as you'd imagine the outback to look like. You will also see quite a few termite structures at the beginning of the journey.

Over all it was a great train experience. There were times that the train journey was very bumpy but the highlights were the meals, whistle stop tours, and of course the great staff.

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