Across Austraila by train

Australia’s transcontinental railroad, affectionately referred to as “The Ghan”, has a long and storied history. In fact, on the 4th of August, it will celebrate the beginning of its 80th year of service as an 1850 mile north-south route running between Darwin and Adelaide. As the Ghan approaches this milestone anniversary, Australian newspaper The Age, hops the train to see how it is adapting to the 21st century, and reports back on the experience.

Nearly a year ago, the train was upgraded to include luxury service that offers private cars with comfortable couches that convert to a double bed, in-suite showers, gourmet meals and champaign delivered right to the passenger’s door. But travel writer Louise Southerden, who wrote this article, notes that it isn’t long before your attention is drawn away from the comfort and luxury to the beaituful scenery outside your window. Fortunatley, the luxury cars have windows on both sides, so you won’t miss a single thing, and unlike most other trains, this one stops for a part of each evening to ensure that nothing important is passed in the dark.

The Ghan, which derives it’s name from the caravans of camels that once delivered supplies to the Outback, which were driven by Afghans, or “Ghans” as they came to be called, runs twice weekly, with stops in the towns of Katherine and Alice Springs. The article notes that taking the journey is a bit like taking a step back in time, as much of the Australian countryside remains quite remote and steeped in tradition.

I’ve always felt that there was a certain romantic nature to traveling by train. It is a throwback to a different era, and gives you a much better sense of the countryside. The Ghan crosses the entire length of Australia and seems like an amazing way to take in a country that offers such diverse scenery, spreadout across a vast distance.

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