The Ghan, is one of Australia's iconic rail journeys. beginning in Adelaide and travelling via Alice Springs and Catherine to Darwin or vice versa.
On the way, The Ghan traverses South Australia and the Northern Territory, travelling through some of Australia's most arid terrain and on to the wet tropics. This is the easiest and most comfortable way to see Australia's "Outback"!
The Ghan, takes its name from the Afghan Cameleers, who opened up this vast area of Australia in the late nineteenth century, with their camel trains carrying supplies to newly established "settlements" and mission stations.
Gold Kangaroo is the way to go, giving you a comfortable two person bunk ensuite cabin, valet service and exquisite five star meals. No one I know who has ever travelled Gold Kangaroo on the Ghan has ever complained about the food, the service or the facilities. Two people I know were, however, disappointed by their Silver Kangaroo experience, as the food was expensive and according to them very standard stuff!
Silver Kangaroo, gives you the private cabin facilities, but without the luxury of the five star dining and lounge bar. If you are on a tight budget, there is Red Kangaroo, with a comfortable seat, shared facilities and a licsensed refreshment car, shared with Red Kangaroo passengers.
Gold Kangaroo is all inclusive of luxury silver service dining, however, alcoholic drinks can be purchased with meals and in the Club car.
Views of the ever changing country are stunning and an in house commentary is available to enrich your knowledge of the history of The Ghan as well as the country you travel through.
I highly recommend a week in both Alice Springs and Darwin, but if you are on a tight schedule, The Ghan offers day excursions to Alice Springs, Dessert Park and Darwin. You simply book your onward journey for the following week.
Highly recommended is the Ghan excursion or helicoptor ride from Katherine station, to Katherine Gorge, where you will see not only the exquisite environment and river eco system, including rich birdlife and fresh water crocodiles, but also fantastic and ancient examples of Aboriginal Rock art.
Meals for the Ghan's Gold Kangaroo , passengers include three courses at both lunch and dinner, including a wide selection of sumptuous dishes. I particularly enjoyed the Kangaroo and salmon. The wine list was superb. My dad enjoyed breakfst of bacon, eggs and more.
Elderly travellers will relish the trip, as it covers many contrasting landscapes.
I travelled with my father, then in his late 80s and met another three octagonarians on board, with whom we shared many laughs and travel stories. They were all having a wonderful time and making the most of the experience!
Whilst the trip was not cheap, the luxury and uniqueness of our adventure made up for the cost and the memories of "our special trip, remain a treasured legacy!
I urge anyone considering a Ghan journey, to splurge on the Gold Kangaroo experience; you will not be disappointed!
Read my further blogs on things to do in both Alice Springs and Darwin.
Fiona Ludbrook was born in Ballarat but spent much of her adult life as an educator in Melbourne.