These days a rail adventure of international renown, The Ghan – the train service which travels year-round between Adelaide and Darwin – is remarkable for several reasons, not least the fact that it exists at all. Work first started on a rail line that would join the two cities in 1877, but poor engineering practices coupled with a flimsy understanding of seasonal rains meant decades of failed attempts. The service takes its name from the Afghan cameleers who had nailed Outback travel rather more effectively.

A workable stretch of track from Adelaide to Alice Springs was in place from the 1930s, although it wasn’t until as recently as 2004 that it finally reached Darwin. It’s a blessing that it now does. There are three types of ticket available: Red Service, Gold Service and Platinum Service. Red Service gives you a “Daynighter” seat and a view of the plains rolling by – plump for anything higher and you’re treated to a smart private cabin, indulgent food and wine, off-train tours and a general sense of rail travel as it should be. Highly recommended. See gsr.com.au or call 1800 703 357 for more information.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Australia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Undiscovered Australia: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Undiscovered Australia: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

Australia is a vast country, though most visitors stay on the same tried and tested track, ticking off well-touristed pitstops along the way. But, of course, …

07 Aug 2017 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
The rebirth of Perth: how the city got cool

The rebirth of Perth: how the city got cool

Sun-soaked and healthy? Perhaps. A decent gateway to Western Australia? Definitely. But a cool place to spend a few days? Until recently Perth just couldn’t …

27 Apr 2017 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
12 tips for backpacking Australia

12 tips for backpacking Australia

Backpacking Australia will almost certainly exceed your expectations. It’s not just that the places you’ll see will be more stunning than you had imagine…

09 Mar 2017 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month