The Ghan

Adelaide, South Australia | C.1929

Photo Credit: Luxury Train Club

Passengers peering through the window of their carriage on The Ghan — Australia’s epic train expedition through the outback — can take in views of the country’s unique lands. The Ghan train service offers excursions between the cities of Adelaide and Darwin covering 2,979 km (1,851 mi).

Originally named the Afghan Express, The Ghan gets its name from a group of Afghan cameleers who carved out a trail through Australia’s Red Center during the 19th century. Although Australia’s Aboriginal people had called the region home for thousands of years and had their own routes and boundaries in place, the Ghan’s route follows the path of explorer John MacDouall Stuart, the Scottish explorer who led the first successful European expedition through the heart of the continent.

In 1839, the first cameleers arrived in South Australia with “Harry,” the only camel to survive the voyage from Africa. Within 30 years, camels had arrived in the thousands as central Australia was traversed by many European explorers, including MacDouall Stuart. The camels transported goods and supplies to remote towns until the development of railways began.

In 1929, The Ghan embarked on its first trip. Carrying more than 100 passengers, it brought supplies to the remote town of Alice Springs, and took two days to complete. It would continue providing supplies for the next 50 years, even transporting servicemen for training and deployment during WWII.

Today, the Ghan continues to carry passengers throughout Australia. While the current track has replaced the “Old Ghan” of years past, it still offers a one-of-a-kind experience through this vast and inspiring landscape.

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