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The Ghan
Photograph: Journey Beyond

Take an incredible vintage train all the way across the Australian Outback

The legendary Ghan express service links Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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While people tend to think that the Australian Outback is a pretty desolate, barren and dangerous place, it’s also totally spectacular. With its tens of thousands of orange-hued square miles, replete with scraggy bush and the occasional dramatic rock formation, it is hands down one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. 

For almost 100 years (since 1929, in fact), there’s been one unbeatably luxurious way to traverse the Outback. The Ghan express, which runs between Adelaide in southern Oz to Darwin in the far north, has long been the comfiest (and most enthralling) way to explore Australia’s uber-hot, semi-arid interior.

The service covers a whopping 1,850 miles (2,977 km) and takes just over 54 hours, including occasional stops to explore and refresh. But the Ghan isn’t just an exceptionally long route – it’s also an exceptionally long train. It has 44 carriages and stretches out for almost a mile. The train is so lengthy, in fact, that arrival times for different ends of the train can be dramatically different, with the front arriving about 15 minutes before the end.

And did we mention that The Ghan is very, very fancy indeed? The Ghan is renowned for its opulent furnishings and fittings, and has three different tiers of luxury. The Gold Service, the most basic sleeper cabin, includes meals and access to a shared lounge. The Gold Superior Service features a little bit more space and its own lounge area, while the esteemed Platinum Service offers even more indulgent furnishings, service and dining.

The Ghan
Photograph: Journey Beyond
The Ghan
Photograph: Journey Beyond

Included in The Ghan’s 54-hour runtime are plenty of chances to stretch your legs. Off-train excursions are encouraged at the towns of Alice Springs and Katherine, both of which can be upgraded to include helicopter tours. If you’ve got the extra cash, you can even catch a plane out of Alice Springs to the iconic Uluru rock. 

The price of all this is, as you’d expect, rather a lot. Three-day trips from Adelaide to Darwin (or vice versa) start at A$2,165 (£1,174, $1,575). You can check availability and book online here.

Did you see that this new sleeper train will take you all the way from Stockholm to Hamburg?

And that you can now travel by train all the way across Sicily?

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