Post Last Modified – January 18, 2021
A Closer Look AtThe Ghan Luxury Train Travel In Australia
One of the most anticipated and the most expensive part of our Australia vacation was an overnight journey on the famous Ghan luxury train. I thought I would share our personal review and experience with you on our journey taken a few years ago.
Hopefully this will assist in your travel plans should you choose to experience a ride on Great Southern Railways … The Ghan.But first, check out my short video I put together showing some of our personal pictures taken on our journey.
The Ghan Luxury Train In Australia – YouTube Video
A Brief Look At The Ghan Luxury Train
Ideally named after Afghan Cameleers who trekked into this vast baron land over 150 years ago opening a new frontier. Today the train runs from Darwin to the north all the way down to Adelaide to the south.
The full journey takes 3 days including a 2 night stay on the train and covers approximately 2970 kms in 54 hours.
In service for almost 85 years, it is known as Australias National Treasure!
You also have the choice of a half trip as we did, from Alice Springs in the middle to your choice of north to Darwin or south to Adelaide. This is about a 24 hour trip with one night stay on the train.
Gold Class Service OnThe Ghan
After careful consideration and recommendations from our travel agent and having never experienced an overnight stay in a train cabin, we decided to treat ourselves to Gold Service.
Without going into great detail about the inclusions for both, here is a simple review of our Gold Service experience and recommendations for those of you on strict budgets as we always are.
Platinum Service is also available for those individuals not budget conscious and looking for top level service. At the bottom of this article, I will include a link to Great Southern Rails official website for you to explore options, itineraries, prices and more for your convenience.
Outback Explorer Lounge
Upon our arrival at the train station after a comfortable overnight stay in Alice Springs, check in was quick, friendly and well organized as expected. Gold and Platinum customers are invited to relax and enjoy complimentary beverages in the Outback Explorer Lounge while waiting for your private cabin to open.
The lounge is comfortable and well- appointed with friendly staff always at your service!
This feature is fairly new as an inclusion and I would have been very disappointed if this was not the case because of the high cost associated with a Gold Class ticket.
Do keep in mind that I am comparing food, alcohol and other expenses to what they would normally cost in North America.
In our one month stay in Australia, you can pretty much double what you would normally have to pay at home. You can however, travel to Australia on a strict budget as we did, making it an affordable holiday as I will write about in future posts!
The Ghan’s Gold Class Cabin Appointment
Cabins in this service are available for singles and couples. Singles have small appointed private cabins with shared baths. We had fold down single beds, equipped with private bath and shower.
The cabin was comfortable for the two of us, however, my wife did note that for the cost and the luxury brand associated with Gold class, our view window had not been cleaned. As well, dusting and thorough vacuuming had not been done in quite some time in and around the cabin.
We enjoy all forms of travel, from extremely casual backpacking to wonderful stays in luxury hotels. But for what we had to pay for this short journey, we were quite surprised at the lack of attention to detail.
The Trains Queen Adelaide Restaurant
Along with access to the Outback Lounge car, Gold and Platinum passengers enjoy first class dining in the Queen Adelaide car.
Without a doubt and for us anyway, this was the highlight of our Ghan train journey!
Passengers are treated to a variety of Australian specialty dishes prepared by on board chefs. Excellent service from staff serving all meals that will leave you satisfied and happy.
This was also a great opportunity to sit with, meet and enjoy the company of fellow passengers on board the train. It goes without saying, the dining and service was the high lite of our trip.
The meals were first class and beautifully presented!
Hats off to the chefs for making this part of the journey outstanding! It doesn’t get any better than this at any fine dining restaurant on land, especially have to work and prepare these amazing dishes in such small quarters!
Red Class Service OnThe Ghan
We were able to access the Red Class cars and found them to be quite comfortable, with spacious and comfortable looking reclining chairs.
There was also a well -appointed casual diner offering assorted snacks, light meals and beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholic available for purchase.
You also have access to washrooms and shower facilities in this class. All in all, very comfortable for individuals traveling on a tighter budget.
I must say and after our experience taking the 24 hour leg of the journey, this would have been a much better choice for us traveling on a budget. The fair paid for Gold service and our personal needs was way too expensive when you convert the fare to Canadian funds.
Very comfortable looking cars and service offered for Red Class passengers. Certainly something to consider if choosing to take a more budget minded trip on the Ghan.
I know, we certainly would recommend this for a casual short train trip, and way less expensive!
Disappointing Scenery On Our Train Travels
If you plan on taking the train from Alice Springs to Adelaide only, and not the entire journey as we did, then best prepare yourself for a view of pretty much nothing!
This is something that I certainly wished I had researched further prior to travel. It appears that the scenery must all be to the north of Alice Springs to Darwin.
This was a great disappointment for us overall and something that we were really looking forward to on this expensive train trip.
Not a kangaroo to be seen, nor 1 of the million or so wild camels roaming the land!
Who goes to Australia and doesnt see a kangaroo? Apparently us! This was entirely my fault and something that I would have liked our travel agent to have pointed out to us prior to booking.
On our long bus trip from Ayers Rock to Alice Springs taking several hours, we saw nothing new or exciting after spending 24 hours on the train that was any different from the long bus ride.
The Ghan Luxury Train – List of Pros and Cons
Access to Outback Explorer Lounge;
Unlimited Alcoholic Beverages;
Private Well Appointed Double Sleeper Cabins;
Access to Queen Adelaide Restaurant;
Meals and service highlight of journey;
Friendly and helpful staff.
Cabin not cleaned to luxury expectations;
No access to open air or view window cars;
Very rough ride;
Scenery disappointing from Alice Springs to Adelaide;
Shuttle service to/from hotel not included for Gold Class.
So to quickly wrap things up here if you are considering the Ghan Train excursion. Unless you are planning on taking the entire journey and if you’re looking for spectacular scenery, I would definitely not recommend the route we embarked on.
Check with an experienced travel agent who is familiar with train travel in Australia prior to booking. As well, take a little time to search for and read more reviews such as on one of my favorite websites; TripAdvisor. Be sure to check out my post here on the Benefits Of Booking With A Travel Agent.
Do keep in mind, this is a review of our experience only, and our personal opinions of our time spent on this historic train. For more complete details and information, you can check out the Railway’s Official Website below.
I’ve also listed the Official Australia Tourism link below to their website page for your convenience. It’s filled with excellent information on everything this Beautiful Country has to offer.
Safe and Healthy Travels!
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