Photo: Benny Marty/Shutterstock

You Can Ride This Train for 1,851 Miles Across Australia's Hills, Plains, Red Centre, and Topical Top End

Australia Train Travel
by Morgane Croissant May 24, 2023

Unlike the Eurostar that takes passengers from London to cities on the European continent in record time, The Ghan, one of Australia’s four luxurious trains, is not something you book because you need to get from point A to point B. It may sound like the biggest travel cliché there is, but in this case it’s true: Riding The Ghan is all about the journey and not really about the (albeit lovely) destination. You go on the Ghan because you want to see and experience parts of Australia you’d never get to go to otherwise, at a slow pace, and in the comfiest, most lavish setting you could find.

What is the route of The Ghan train?

The Ghan runs between Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, and Darwin, the capital city of the Northern Territory.

When it runs from Adelaide to Darwin (south to north), the train stops in Marla, Alice Springs, and Katherine. When it runs from Darwin to Adelaide (north to south), the train stops in Katherine, Alice Springs, Manguri, and Coober Pedy.

Note that it is possible to ride The Ghan between Adelaide and Alice Springs if you want a shorter trip.

The Ghan Expedition, a different trip on the same train that runs from Darwin to Adelaide only, stops in Katherine, Alice Springs, Manguri, and Coober Pedy.

How long does The Ghan train take?

A trip on The Ghan between Adelaide and Darwin takes three days and two nights.

Note that it is possible to make a trip on The Ghan shorter by only riding between Adelaide and Alice Springs. This particular trip takes two days and one night.

The Ghan Expedition is a longer trip on the same train that runs from Darwin to Adelaide only, in four days and three nights.

Do you sleep on The Ghan?

The Ghan train in Australia runs between Adelaide and Darwin


Yes, The Ghan is a sleeper train. No matter what class of service passengers opt for (Platinum or Gold), they get their own cabin equipped with a bed. Platinum Service passengers get either a double bed or twin beds, while Gold Service passengers get either upper and lower berths, or a single bed.

Can you shower on The Ghan?

Yes, all the passengers on The Ghan, no matter what class of service they chose (Platinum or Gold), have access to showers.

Platinum Service passengers have a full-size en suite in their cabin, with a separate shower, a vanity, cupboard space, a toilet, and toiletries.

Gold Twin passengers have a private en suite with a sink, shower, and toilet, while Gold Single passengers have a private sink in their cabin, and have access to a shared shower/toilet facilities located at the end of the carriage. All Gold Service passengers get toiletries.

Is there a dress code on The Ghan?

While some passengers like to dress up in formal wear for dinner, the dress code required aboard The Ghan is smart casual, i.e. clothing that land between business and casual that are trendy and comfortable, but look kempt. No need for suits, cocktail dresses, and high heels, but don’t come in the dining car in frumpy jeans, and unclean sneakers either.

How much does it cost to go on The Ghan?

The price of riding The Ghan depends on:

  • The trip you select: The Ghan Expedition, The Ghan between Adelaide and Darwin, or The Ghan between Adelaide and Alice Springs.
  • The class of service you opt for (Platinum or Gold).
  • The type of room you choose within that class or service: bunk berths (Gold Twin) or single bed (Gold Single). For Platinum passengers, the price does not vary according to their choice of bed (double bed or twin beds).
  • The fare type which dictates the amount of the deposit required, as well the exchange and refund conditions.

In 2023, the price of riding The Ghan between Adelaide and Darwin starts from $1,619 (2,475 AUD) per person for a Gold Single cabin. In 2024, the price goes up to $1,622.50 (2,480 AUD) per person. The most expensive cabin on this journey is the fully-flexible Platinum service starting at $3,431.41 (5,245 AUD) per person in 2023 and $3,618 ($5,530 AUD) in 2024.

Why is The Ghan so expensive?

Riding The Ghan is pricey and it’s because everything is included in your ticket: gourmet meals, wines, beverages, and the off-train experiences. Also, the train is not your average ride — it is a beautiful, historic, and luxurious train.

How many passengers can The Ghan carry?

The Ghan train in Australia runs between Adelaide and Darwin

Photo: Benny Marty/Shutterstock

In its 36 carriages, The Ghan has an average per journey of 25 Platinum Service beds and 258 Gold Service beds, carrying a minimum of 283 passengers and a maximum of 308 passengers, on average.

The best hotels near the train stations in Adelaide and Darwin

We hope you love the spaces and stays we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay.

Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets, an IHG Hotel

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

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Located only eight minutes by car from the Adelaide Parklands Terminal, where The Ghan train arrives from and departs to Darwin, the Hotel Indigo Adelaide Markets is a four-star boutique property that stands out from the rest for its modern, colorful, and creative interior decor. All 145 rooms, suites, and apartments in this highly rated hotel are furnished with a king bed, a smart TV, an espresso machine, and a mini bar. There are two restaurants on site, as well as a gym, and an outdoor pool with sun loungers.

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In Darwin: Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

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A 16-minute car ride from the Darwin Berrimah Terminal, where The Ghan arrives and departs, the Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront is a modern and elegant property located on the city’s seafront promenade. The four-star hotel has 121 modern and elegant rooms, some of which of great views on the water. The property has free Wifi, a bar-restaurant (the Curve Cafe Bar), a gym, and a beautiful outdoor wave pool.

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