Special Off Rail Packages to mark the Ghan’s 90th Birthday
Written by: Jovanka Ristich
Date: 2nd September 2019
This year sees Australia’s legendary cross continental Ghan* railway celebrating its 90th anniversary. To commemorate this special birthday, parent company Journey Beyond* has created a series of 10 special packages that can be undertaken throughout the 2019/2020 season. They include:
- KAKADU SPLENDOUR
- KAKADU SPLENDOUR ADELAIDE SPECIAL
- HEARTLAND VOYAGER
- KAKADU & JUMPING CROCS ADVENTURE
- WILD DARWIN
- SPIRIT OF THE RED CENTRE
- RED CENTRE SECRETS
- THE TERRITORY COMPLETE
- ALICE EXPLORER
- DISCOVER ALICE
KAKADU SPLENDOUR (8 days) from $4709 PP – save $780 per couple. For a deep connection with nature, the Kakadu Splendour itinerary takes guests to the heart of this World Heritage wonderland followed by a journey aboard The Ghan Expedition from Darwin to Adelaide. This connects with some incredible landscapes via Off Train Excursions along the way.
KAKADU SPLENDOUR FROM ADELAIDE (8 days) from $4,039 per person – save $560 per couple. The rail journey from Adelaide to Darwin connects with some incredible landscapes and Off Train Experiences. For an even deeper connection with nature, the Kakadu Splendour itinerary takes guests to the heart of this World Heritage wonderland.
HEARTLAND VOYAGER (9 days) from $4359 per person – save $560 per couple. See the best of the Australian outback including hands-on experiences. It doesn’t come any better than travelling on The Ghan, exploring Uluru and Kata Tjuta, cruising Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge and touring Darwin, all in one sensational journey through the nation’s heartland.
KAKADU & JUMPING CROCS ADVENTURE (8 days) from $4449 per person – save $780 per couple. Explore spectacular Kakadu National Park, see the famous jumping crocodiles along with a host of other popular Top End attractions before stepping aboard The Ghan Expedition in Darwin and experiencing the wonders of Katherine, Alice Springs and Coober Pedy on the way to Adelaide.
WILD DARWIN (5 days) from $4339 per person – Save $780 per couple. Experience Darwin at its best. See the thundering waterfalls in Litchfield National Park and travel around tropical Darwin aboard the Big Bus Hop On – Hop Off tour. Join The Ghan Expedition to complete this holiday experience and visit the wonders of Katherine, Alice Springs and Coober Pedy on the way to Adelaide.
SPIRIT OF THE RED CENTRE (10 days) from $5489 per person – Save $560 per couple. Travel deep in to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to feel the spirit of traditional ancestors and learn about pioneering history. Sense the emotion of the outback without the crowds on an exciting, adventurous and interpretive experience.
RED CENTRE SECRETS (8 days) from $3729 per person – Save $340 per couple. The rail journey from Adelaide to Alice takes in a sacred and spiritual landscape unlike any other on the planet. Home to staggering natural wonders and rich in history, this special itinerary includes the impressive landforms of the Red Centre, Dreamtime stories of the local Aboriginal people, topped off with a stunning Uluru sunset.
THE TERRITORY COMPLETE (14 days) from $6189 per person – Save $560 per couple. This is the ultimate holiday itinerary – the best of the Australian outback is a sensational journey through the nation’s heartland exploring Uluru and Kata Tjuta, cruising Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge and touring Kakadu with The Ghan providing the one constant.
ALICE EXPLORER (7 days) from $3349 per person – Save $560 per couple. Explore the highlights of Alice Springs town and the spectacular outback scenery of the West MacDonnell Ranges. Enjoy beautiful walks at Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm with an opportunity to swim in one of Central Australia’s most pristine waterholes at Ellery Creek. Combined with a journey on The Ghan, what better way to explore the heart of Australia.
DISCOVER ALICE (6 days) from $3129 per person – Save $560 per couple. Discover all the Alice has to offer with your own hire car. There is much to see and do in and around the heart of the Red Centre and what better way to enjoy the sights than at ones own pace, all combined with a journey aboard The Ghan.
Other things being done to commemorate the 90th anniversary after the Anniversary Train itself departed Adelaide for Darwin on Sunday 4 August, 90 years to the day of the first Ghan:
The Ghan 90 coin was created in partnership with the Royal Australian Mint. This collector’s coin featuring The Ghan is being gifted to guests on selected departures but can be bought online through the Royal Australian Mint.
The Ghan tea sees South Australian tea purveyor TBAR producing a signature tea blend especially for The Ghan. With native Australian ingredients like quandong and flavours typically used in Afghan cooking like cinnamon, chicory and cardamom, the blend is a nod to the train’s heritage. This tea is being gifted to guests on selected departures.
The Artist in Residence program is an inaugural initiative which sees artworks exhibited at Adelaide Parklands Terminal. The sculptures, paintings and textiles have been produced by artists inspired by their time on The Ghan. In addition, on board workshops include jewellery making with an off train ceramics and watercolour workshop.
Julie White scarf & pocket square. Julie White, one of the Artist in Residence participants, has produced a beautiful silk scarf that features journey motifs. It is being sold in the Train Shop for AUD$140 with a smaller pocket square costing AUD$60.
Ghan 90 birthday cake and cocktail. Ghan mixologists have created a signature birthday cocktail available in all lounges with a birthday cake in the lounge for afternoon tea (north-bound) or as dessert at the Telegraph Station (Expedition).
A selection of anniversary collector’s postcards are being given to every guest travelling on The Ghan.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
* THE GHAN is one of Australia’s two cross continental rail experiences and is considered one of the world’s most iconic and legendary rail experiences:
- Length of journey: 2,979 km
- Route: Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Springs and vice versa.
- The Ghan duration: two nights/three days (54 hours), Adelaide – Darwin
- The Ghan Expedition duration: three nights/four days (76 hours), Darwin – Adelaide
- 1929: The inaugural Adelaide to Alice Springs journey departed and took two days
- 2004: The Alice Springs to Darwin extension is completed
- 2014: 10th anniversary for the Adelaide to Darwin trans-continental service
- 2015: The Ghan Expedition, an extended seasonal service, is introduced
- 2016: The Platinum Club is introduced offering a private dining and lounge carriage
- 2019: 90th anniversary of the inaugural Adelaide to Alice Springs service
DID YOU KNOW?
- The track originally consisted of wooden sleepers, however the desert termites dined on them almost as quickly as they were laid, whilst flash flooding frequently washed away the track. In 1980 the track was replaced by a new standard gauge line built with concrete sleepers.
- On its inaugural Adelaide to Darwin journey The Ghan was the longest passenger train in Australian history, stretching more than 1km with two locomotives and 43 carriages.
- Work on the 1,420 km line commenced in 2001 with the final cost reaching AU$1.34 billion – it remains one of Australia’s largest infrastructure projects.
- The Ghan’s logo is that of a camel with its handler. The name is in recognition of the pioneering Afghan cameleers who first opened up the Outback
* Journey Beyond, Australia’s leading tourism operator and parent company of Great Southern Rail, boasts an extensive travel portfolio designed to offer travellers authentic cross continental Australian holiday experiences that are easy to select and book. They include:
- The Ghan
- The Indian Pacific
- The Overland
- Great Southern
- Cruise Whitsundays
- Rottnest Express
- Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef
- Darwin Harbour Cruises
- Sydney Harbour Cruises
- Eureka 89 & Eureka Skydeck Melbourne
- Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures Kimberley