The Ghan train journey is one of Australia’s greatest train journeys, a legendary Australian rail adventure from Darwin to Adelaide – and Adelaide to Darwin – that’s punctuated with memorable experiences and excursions, from a serene cruise through the spectacular gorges in Nitmiluk National Park, Katherine, to an excursion through Simpsons Gap in Alice Springs.

The Ghan train journey takes lovers of slow travel on a leisurely rail adventure from north to south through the Red Centre of Australia. One of Australia’s greatest train journeys, The Ghan departs from Darwin, the tropical capital of the Northern Territory in the Top End of the country, and your destination is Adelaide, the lovely South Australian capital, famed for its food and wine, arts and culture, glorious parks and gardens, and gorgeous beaches. You can also do the trip in reverse from Adelaide to Darwin.

The Ghan train journey has a special place in my heart and not just because I’m Australian. I’m Sydney-born and not all ‘East Coasters’ feel as deeply connected to Australia’s red heart as I do. While I adore Australian beaches, the Outback with its ochre-red dirt, silvery ghost gums, brilliant blue skies, and cotton-wool clouds is my happy place and I’m happiest in the heart of the country with its Albert Namatjira landscapes.

My family lived in Alice Springs when I was in my early teens, where our weekends would be filled with four-wheel-drive adventures along dirt tracks to palm-shaded valleys and camping trips out to serene swimming holes skirted by sandy beaches between stunning gorges.

My dad worked on The Ghan railway line and I got to go to the official opening of the Tarcoola to Alice Springs section of the line, where I stood next to the towering Gough Whitlam, Australia’s legendary prime minister. Journeying on The Ghan was a very special experience for me. I’m sure it will be for you too. Here’s what to expect on this legendary Australian rail adventure.

The Ghan Train Journey – An Epic Australian Rail Adventure in Style

What to Pack for The Ghan

Pack Carefully and Weigh Your Bags

There are baggage restrictions on The Ghan train. Passengers are only allowed to have one carry-on piece in their cabin with a maximum weight of 7kg, although of course you can take a handbag, light day-pack or laptop in addition to this. You are also allowed two pieces of checked-in baggage with a maximum weight of 30kg per piece.

However, you can’t access those bags between Darwin and Adelaide (and vice versa). That means if The Ghan train journey is part of a longer holiday and you’re extending time in Adelaide or Darwin and exploring more of South Australia and/or The Northern Territory, you will need to make sure you don’t lock something you need in the checked-in bags.

The Ghan in front of the McDonald Ranges. The Ghan Train Journey

What Clothes To Pack

Pack outdoorsy cottons and linens, a sun hat and heavy-duty sunblock for the excursions to Nitmiluk National Park and Alice Springs as it will be hot out. Comfy walking shoes are a must, especially for Nitmiluk. If the water levels are low, which they usually are just before the wet season starts, you’ll have to clamber over rocks between gorges and boats.

Smart-casual is fine for the train – take a cardigan as it can get chilly – and nice PJs for the cabin if you fancy being woken by staff delivering a cup of tea to your bed. Pack something a bit special for cocktails and dinner in the evenings when passengers tend to dress up a little.

I’ve not seen black tie and evening gowns on The Ghan as I have on the Eastern & Oriental Express, however, the blokes swap their long shorts for long trousers and women do what women do and dress up. Flat shoes are best. It’s a train after all and it bumps and sways on some of the Outback tracks.

Other Gadgets To Pack

Pack a camera, batteries and power-banks. There is Wi-Fi in your cabin, but only when you’re in or near civilisation. It will cut out as you leave towns and communities. There are power-points in the cabin to recharge your gear. A pair of small binoculars will get used if you enjoy a bit of birdwatching and there are lots of birds to spot.

Books to Take

Not everyone is as content as I am at staring out a window at constantly changing landscapes for hours on end, so there are a few books you should pack that might inspire you to gaze a bit more and think a little differently about the geography outside your window.

Pack that copy of Marcia Langton’s Welcome to Country, a Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia that I recommended as pre-trip reading (link above), along with Richard Broome’s Aboriginal Australians: A History Since 1788, which tells the history of Australia from the standpoint of our original Australians.

Look for the expanded fifth edition which covers the Northern Territory Intervention, remote Australia’s mining boom, the Uluru Statement, and the resurgence of interest among Australians in traditional Aboriginal knowledge and culture.

If you’re interested in Australian food and agriculture, Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu reveals how Australia’s pre-colonial Aboriginal peoples sowed, harvested and irrigated land, stored crops, used domesticated plants, and built dams and houses – you’ll look at the landscapes out your window in a very different light.

Bill Gammage’s The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia and Billy Griffiths’ Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia should have that same effect on you, as well as changing how you see history.

Gammage reveals how early European explorers noted how land across Australia looked like parkland with sprawling grassy areas within woodland and walking paths, evoking an English estate. This is because Australia’s Aboriginal peoples systematically managed the land, using fire and native plant life-cycles to ensure plentiful food for people and wildlife and prevent wildfires.

Griffiths’ book is one for lovers or archaeology, weaving history, biography and literature together to tell the story of Aboriginal archaeology in Australia and the archaeologists who uncovered traces of ancient Australia and evidence of 60,000 years of continual habitation.

If you enjoy birdwatching, there’s plenty to see on The Ghan train journey – from kites to wedge-tailed eagles, cockatoos and galahs – so a Field Guide to Australian Birds or The Australian Bird Guide will get used, along with those binoculars. There are books on Australian birdlife and wildlife in the small library in the lounge, but these tend to disappear soon after the train leaves Darwin and you won’t see them again until you’re pulling into Adelaide.

Movies to Watch

If you’re planning on loading up a few films before you leave home for post-dinner movies during The Ghan train journey, don’t plan on finishing any epics. While you’re at dinner your cabin seats will have been converted into double bunks if you’re staying in Gold class or a double bed if you’re in Platinum, and the train movement will quickly lull you to sleep.

But if you do want to attempt something, then start with the Baz Luhrmann-directed Australia, set in Darwin during the World War II bombing by the Japanese, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. The landscapes are breathtaking, the story is uplifting (and we all need a lift up right now) and it’s loads of fun.

The 1955 Australian classic Jedda, directed by Claude Chavel, is set in the Northern Territory. It was Australia’s first colour film and starred Aboriginal actors Robert Tudawali and Ngarla Kunoth. When you’re on the cruise boat wending your way through the spectacular sandstone cliffs of Nitmiluk National Park, your local Jawoyn guide will point out Jedda’s Rock, but I won’t spoil the film for you by explaining its name. Other locations include Mary River south east of Darwin and Standley Chasm and Ormiston Gorge not far from Alice Springs.

The feel-good campy Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, directed by Stephan Elliot and starring Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving, and Bill Hunter, is a must before you arrive in Alice Springs, where much of the movie is set. You’ll recognise Simpsons Gap and the MacDonnell Ranges in an instant.


Arial view of Nitmiluk Gorge. The Ghan Train Journey with Luxury

The Ghan Train Journey – What To Expect on this Legendary Australian Rail Adventure

How to Plan and Prepare for The Ghan Journey

Do Some Pre-Trip Reading

Do some pre-trip reading and you’ll get so much more out of the experience. You’re not only travelling through Australia’s red heart, you’re journeying through its spiritual heart, so I suggest your pre-trip reading include Marcia Langton’s Welcome to Country, a Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia.

Book Transfers Ahead of Time

Transfers are included in Darwin, but only between the Hilton Darwin hotel and the railway station on the day of your departure for The Ghan train journey, so book your airport transfer to Darwin in advance, as well as your Adelaide transfers to save money and the hassle of waiting for a taxi, as we did once for ages.

Book Activities and Tours in Darwin and Adelaide

If you’re starting in Darwin, depending on when your flight arrives, you may have two free days. Plan them in advance in case you want to book a day-trip to Kakadu National Park (a long day, but worth it) or Litchfield National Park (closer to Darwin, so not as long). We also recommend getting your bearings on our self-guided Darwin city walk, which takes in many of the key sights.

Consider Extending Your Stays If You Can

If you live on Australia’s East Coast, the chances of you having been to Darwin or even Adelaide are slim. Bizarrely, Darwin does not even make it onto Australians’ top ten destinations. Most Australians would rather go overseas. But Darwin is a compelling city with fantastic waterfront parks, weekend markets filled with stalls with multicultural eats, terrific museums, and magic sunset rituals.

Darwin is also the launching pad for road trips to nearby Litchfield National Park, Mary River National Park and Kakadu National Park, all endowed with dramatic landscapes, rich in ancient history and indigenous art and culture, with thundering waterfalls and cooling waterholes, and opportunities galore to gawk at birdlife and wildlife, especially crocodiles. While you could self-drive (see our guide to driving from Darwin to Mary River and Kakadu), once you get there you’ll get more out of the trip on an indigenous tour or cruise with a local Aboriginal guide.

Adelaide has a fabulous food and wine scene, some of Australia’s best museums and art galleries, gorgeous gardens and more sprawling parks, stunning sandy beaches, and loads of outdoor dining opportunities. Adelaide also has some of Australia’s best wine regions in the backyard, and Kangaroo Island, with its abundance of wildlife, wild white-sand beaches, and more wonderful food and wine. Who said it wasn’t about the destinations?

Cabin interior on The Ghan. The Ghan Train Journey with Luxury E


What to Expect on The Ghan Train

Your Cabin is Comfy But Compact

While you’re going to be immeasurably more comfortable in a Gold cabin than you would be sitting up in a seat, the cabins are compact, which is why you can only take a carry-on each. There is storage space, however, including a wardrobe and a shelf, but you’ll need to stay organised to maintain that sense of comfort. The Ghan’s Platinum cabins have a lot more space and after the staff sneak in to transform your seats into beds while you’re dining, you can slide your bags under the double bed. You can also store stuff in your private bathrooms before you shower.

Magic Sunrises from the Comfort of Bed

If you’re an early riser and love a good sunrise and waking to the warmth of that big fiery ball in the sky on the cheeks, you’ll relish the experience from your cabin bed. Open the blind before you doze off. I could have laid in bed for hours watching the colours of the earth cycle from dusky pink, peach and apricot to musk, rust-red and tangerine as the sun rose and illuminated the scorched land. That means accept the offer of a pot of tea in bed.

Cabin Time, But Not as Much as You Might Imagine

While you might envisage most of your time on The Ghan being spent in your comfy cabin, working your way through a few books in between naps, by the time you’ve finished your pot of tea, it will be time for breakfast in the Queen Adelaide dining carriage – over which you’ll definitely want to linger – and then you should have some cabin time before your off-train excursion or before it’s time to eat again. Make the most of the cabin time you have, as the cabins are a delight.

Prepare to Eat and Drink to Your Stomach’s Content

The food and drinks are a real highlight of The Ghan train journey. There are welcome glasses of bubbly in the cabin after you’ve boarded (we clinked a Croser Petaluma from the Adelaide Hills on our last trip) and Western and South Australian wines and beers are offered in the lounge during the introductory briefing and before and after meals. Expect three-course menus for lunch and four courses for dinner with plenty of beautiful Australian produce and well-matched Aussie wines. When we last travelled, highlights included prawn and crab dumplings with a lemon myrtle infused seafood broth, grilled saltwater barramundi with sweet potato mash and spinach, a roasted kangaroo fillet with crocodile boudin blanc, potato puree and quandong jus. There were Australian cheese courses as an alternative to dessert, with the likes of a Barossa Valley brie, Limestone Coast clothed cheddar and Lobethal goat blue cheese. We recommend the later sittings for all meal times so you can linger and not feel rushed. You may want to prepare for all the food with pre- and post-train walks (or runs) in Darwin and Adelaide.

Magic Sunsets from the Outback Explorer Lounge

You could savour the sunsets from your cabin as you will the sunrises, but who doesn’t love watching the sun go down with a glass of white wine in hand? Plus, there’ll be some nibbles to go with those. Everyone else will have the same idea, so you’ll need to get to the lounge early-ish to snag a good spot. An added bonus of sundowners in the lounge is that you can move from side to side, snapping pics of the sun sinking beneath the horizon to the west and the changing colours of the landscape in the east. If you book a table for dinner for the later sitting, you can linger after the first diners depart or head back to your cabin for a quiet one before dinner.

You Might Make As Many Friends As Memories

If you’re travelling as a couple, you can ask to dine alone if you’re on a romantic getaway, honeymoon or celebrating a special anniversary, however, at some point during The Ghan train journey, due to the numbers of passengers and number of seats, you will probably share a table with others and make new friends. If you don’t do it over dinner, it will be over drinks, as there are plenty of opportunities for those – and there’s a camaraderie that naturally develops after a couple of days and nights in close quarters with other Australians on a train. Take plenty of old-fashioned business cards as you won’t always have access to Wi-Fi to ping one from your phone.

The Ghan Train Journey – Luxury Escapes Exclusive Charter in January 2022 – Last Chance to Get the Last Tickets of the Season!

UPDATE 22 December 2021: Give the gift of travel this Christmas with tickets for a special person or two on Luxury Escapes exclusive charter of The Ghan on 21 January 2022, the last date of the season! Hurry, as tickets are selling fast for this once-in-a-lifetime 7-day trip including a 3-day rail journey on the legendary train.

The Ghan prices start from A$3,999 per person in Gold Service or from A$7,999 per person in Platinum Service with premium on-board dining and drinks, including a Penfolds wine tasting, included, along with unmissable off-train experiences. As this is a Luxury Escapes exclusive charter, it can only be booked on the LE site (link above).

You’ll find lists of inclusions and the itinerary below (and on the LE site), along with our advice on travelling The Ghan, how to plan for the trip, packing tips, and what to expect based on our experiences doing the journey twice.

This final journey on Luxury Escapes series of private charters of The Ghan departs from Adelaide for Alice Springs and Katherine, before ending in Darwin. It begins with a stay in the five-star Hilton hotel and a private immersive wine tasting at the highly acclaimed Penfolds Magill Estate, including a sampling of the much-coveted Grange.

Then you’ll step on board The Ghan into unparalleled indulgence, checking in to your choice of Gold or Platinum cabin with premium on-board dining and drinks included. Unmissable off-train experiences on this epic 3,000 kilometre journey include a choice of experiences in Alice Springs and in Katherine, where you’ll get to do a spectacular Nitmuluk gorge cruise.

You’ll conclude your journey through the dramatic Red Centre in tropical Darwin with another Hilton stay, from where you’ll get to discover Australia’s largest national park, the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kakadu, with a serene Yellow Waters Billabong cruise, views of rugged escarpments and ancient rock art.

Luxury Escapes Exclusive Charter Inclusions

Gold Service Inclusions

Four nights of handpicked accommodation, including two nights at Hilton Adelaide and two nights at either Hilton Darwin or DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade

Two nights onboard The Ghan in a Gold Service cabin

Daily dining as per the itinerary, including drinks and meals onboard The Ghan

Exclusive Luxury Escapes-hosted welcome drinks with canapés at Hilton Adelaide

Test your wine knowledge with a private, immersive 1.5-hour wine tasting experience, including a coveted Grange, at Penfolds Magill Estate in Adelaide

Incredible full-day tour of Kakadu National Park with a Yellow Water Billabong cruise

Your choice of Off Train Experiences in Alice Springs and Katherine

Roundtrip shared airport transfers and transportation in air-conditioned coaches

The services of expert on-ground representatives

All entrance fees and sightseeing per itinerary

Platinum Service Upgrade Inclusions

Elevate your experience with the Platinum Upgrade and benefit from:

Elevated five-star Hilton Darwin and Adelaide stays in a King Executive Room

Private roundtrip transfers

A three-course welcome dinner with free-flow wine at Hilton Adelaide

Top-tier Platinum Service with elevated premium drinks and dining onboard The Ghan

Savour a bespoke Penfolds wine tasting experience including a coveted Grange, created specifically for this charter, where you’ll be treated to a four-course degustation lunch with matched wines at Penfolds Magill Estate and more

End your escape on a high with an included scenic flight over Kakadu National Park for views that have to be seen to be believed.

Platinum VIP Upgrade Inclusions

It doesn’t get any better than this. In addition to the incredible inclusions in the Platinum Upgrade, you’ll be treated to:

Elevated suite stays with Executive Lounge and Club access including nightly canapés and cocktails in Adelaide and Darwin

A 90-minute scenic flight above Alice Springs

A Nitmiluk Gorge helicopter flight.

Luxury Escapes Exclusive Charter Itinerary

Day 1: Adelaide, South Australia

Welcome to Adelaide, Australia’s most liveable city 2021, where the day is yours to spend as you wish. Why not start in the trendy West End, or wander along North Terrace, stopping in at the Art Gallery of South Australia to get your culture fix, before visiting some of the best cafés and restaurants in the East End. You would even take a quiet moment in the flora-filled Adelaide Botanic Garden, before venturing the National Wine Centre of Australia for a tasting or two.

Gold Service Passengers

Your journey begins with a shared transfer from Adelaide Airport (ADL) with your fellow travellers to reach Hilton Adelaide, where a sublime stay awaits. To welcome you to Adelaide, half of the group will be allocated time to meet in the lobby for an immersive 1.5-hour private tasting experience at Penfolds Magill Estate, with the opportunity to explore the vineyard-laced grounds.

For the other half of the group, the day is yours to spend as you wish before everyone comes together and meets for welcome drinks (local beer, wine, sparkling and soft drinks) at the hotel (venue or location may be subject to change) as you get acquainted with your newfound companions. At the same time, your on-ground representative will reveal details of the day to follow. The night is yours to take advantage of the many dining options that Adelaide has to offer. 

Accommodation: Hilton Adelaide (King Deluxe Room)

Meals: Penfolds’ 1.5-Hour Wine Tasting & Evening Canapés with Local Beer, Wine, Sparkling and Soft Drinks

Platinum Service Passengers

Upon arrival at Adelaide Airport (ADL), enjoy a private transfer to the five-star Hilton Adelaide where you’ll enjoy a stay in a King Executive Room with Executive Lounge benefits. The day is yours to explore at your own pace, and at night, Platinum and Platinum VIP guests will enjoy a delicious dinner with wine at Hilton Adelaide. Take a seat within a private space reserved exclusively for Platinum and Platinum VIP guests and enjoy a three-course dinner with free-flow wine.

Accommodation: Hilton Adelaide (King Executive Room)

Meals: Dinner with Wine

Platinum VIP Service Passengers

In addition to the Platinum inclusions, enjoy an elevated stay at the Hilton Adelaide in a sleek King Hilton Junior Suite, boasting plenty of space, a luxurious bathtub and shower, plus Executive Lounge benefits, which include VIP access to the lounge and nightly pre-dinner drinks and canapés.

Accommodation: Hilton Adelaide (King Hilton Junior Suite)

Meals: Dinner with Wine


Day 2: Adelaide

Gold Service Passengers

Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the hotel together, and later in the day, half of the group will meet in the lobby and head over to Penfolds Magill Estate for an immersive 1.5-hour private tasting experience awaits. For those who visited Penfolds the day before, the day and night are yours to spend as you choose.

Accommodation: Hilton Adelaide (King Deluxe Room)

Meals: Breakfast

Platinum Service Passengers

Be ready for a gourmet four-course lunch at Penfolds Magill Estate, with an included transfer from the hotel. This private experience will set your senses alight as you’re treated to the ultimate Penfolds Luxury Experience, personalised specifically for guests of the Luxury Escapes private charter of The Ghan.

Upon arrival, you’ll be invited to join your personal host for a tour of the estate, prior to your decadent lunch, served within the Magill Estate Restaurant. Your tastebuds will be taken on a sensory journey with a four-course degustation, with each dish paired with a glass from Penfolds Collection and Cellar Reserve wines. The experience ends with a shared transfer to your five-star accommodation: Hilton Adelaide.

Accommodation: Hilton Adelaide (King Executive Room)

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch with Wine

Platinum VIP Service Passengers

Accommodation: Hilton Adelaide (King Hilton Junior Suite)

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch with Wine


Day 3: Adelaide – The Ghan Embarkation

Today is the day you will embark on the trip of a lifetime on this The Ghan train journey as you set your sights on majestic landscapes and unearth the very best the outback has to offer.

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the terminal to board The Ghan and shown to your cabin. Settle in and venture to the Queen Adelaide Restaurant, where you can sit back and unwind with a glass of fine Australian wine. Watch as the passing scenery transforms as you leave Adelaide in the distance before some of the oldest rock formations in the world, the Flinders Ranges, come into view. As darkness sets in, an evening of gourmet indulgence awaits with a regionally-inspired dinner with premium onboard drinks.

Gold Service Passengers

Accommodation: The Ghan (Gold Service cabin)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with Premium Onboard Drinks

Platinum and Platinum VIP Service Passengers

Accommodation: The Ghan (Platinum Service cabin)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with Elevated Premium Onboard Drinks


Day 4: Marla, West MacDonnell Ranges – Alice Springs

Get ready for a day of sun-soaked scenery deep in the South Australian desert and watch the sunrise at Marla, an outback outpost in the remote reaches of South Australia. Enjoy a brief 45-minute stop to stretch your legs and watch as the sunlight slowly bathes the surrounding outback as you sip a steaming mug of coffee. Take a moment to enjoy the stillness before reboarding the train. Then pass the West MacDonnell Ranges before arriving to Alice Springs where a choice of Off Train Excursions awaits.

Alice Explorer: Visit the Alice Springs School of the Air and learn about the education provided to children living in the most remote parts of the Northern Territory. Then, during a guided tour of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, hear how medical aid reaches those who live in the furthest reaches of Australia’s outback, before continuing to the Reptile Centre, home to more than 100 reptile exhibits. Capture a stunning photo of Alice Springs from ANZAC Hill, before a truly unique dining experience at Alice Springs Telegraph Station.

Alice Springs Desert Park: Join an experienced guide for an exclusive guided walking tour that will unravel ancient cultural stories, the science behind the region’s breathtaking landscapes, verdant animal life and geological marvels. Step inside the Nocturnal House, enjoy a front-row seat at the spectacular free-flight bird show with a backstage pass to meet the birds and trainers for a private training session and see resident dingoes before a film on desert evolution.

Simpsons Gap Discovery Walk: Soak in the serenity and peacefulness of Simpsons Gap as you watch the walls glow from reflected sunlight, creating a breathtaking display of stark form and rich colour before you’re transferred to Alice Springs Desert Park for lunch and free time in this inspiring desert oasis.

Spirit of Mt. Gillen Helicopter Flight (optional upgrade A$200 per person, subject to availability, can be pre-booked on request with Luxury Escapes Tours Concierge): Rise above the incredible landscapes and experience the sheer magnitude of this vast environment with a helicopter flight over Alice Springs to view Simpsons Gap – one of the most prominent waterholes in the region – Mt. Gillen Ridgeline and the Larapinta Trail. After the flight, there will be time to take a refreshing dip before being transferred back to The Ghan.

Alice Springs and Surrounds Fixed-Wing Scenic Flight (included for Platinum VIP guests): Take in the spectacular outback scenery and vastness of Australia with a unique bird’s eye view of Alice Springs and surrounds on this 90-minute fixed-wing flight. Admire the impressive views of Gosse’s Bluff (once the largest meteor impact crater in Australia), the Todd River, ANZAC Hill, Emily, Jessie and Simpsons Gaps, Mt. Gillen, the West MacDonnell Ranges and Glen Helen Gorge, as well as Pine Gap, The Finke River and the enormous Ghan itself, all while the pilot shares their incredible knowledge of the region. Each passenger will be assigned a window seat for equal viewing, with light refreshments onboard throughout the flight.

This tour is subject to flight weather conditions. Weight restrictions do apply and vary depending on the total weight of all passengers in the aircraft.

Please note: Gold and Platinum guests may request to book this experience for A$380 per person, subject to availability.

Gold Service Passengers

Accommodation: The Ghan (Gold Service cabin)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch as per Off Train Experience and Dinner with Premium Onboard Drinks

Platinum Service Passengers

Accommodation: The Ghan (Platinum Service cabin)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch as per Off Train Experience and Dinner with Elevated Premium Onboard Drinks

Platinum VIP Service Passengers

Off Train Experience: Alice Springs and Surrounds Fixed-Wing Scenic Flight

Accommodation: The Ghan (Platinum Service cabin)

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner with Elevated Premium Onboard Drinks


Day 5: Katherine and The Ghan Disembarkation – Darwin

Watch as the passing scenery transforms as you make your way into Katherine, replete with prehistoric-looking ferns and twisted mangroves that tumble down dramatic cliff faces. It’s here you will enjoy another Off Train Experience: a guided cruise showcasing the incredible Indigenous rock paintings covering the walls of Nitmiluk Gorge.

Later, return to The Ghan where you’ll be transported into Darwin. Bid this legendary train journey farewell as you’re transferred to your accommodation (shared for Gold and private for Platinum and Platinum VIP guests).

Nitmuliuk First Gorge Art Cruise: Upon entering Nitmiluk Gorge, you’ll be enveloped in birdsong, the buzz of insects and tremendous nature within the 292,000 hectares of the Nitmiluk National Park. Experience its beauty up close with a guided cruise showcasing the incredible Indigenous rock paintings covering the walls of the gorge, before a short walk to the top of the First Gorge, where artwork remains even after thousands of years exposed to the elements.

Nitmiluk Gorge Cruise: Listen to the call of the cicada resonate across the water and bounce between the sandstone cliffs of Nitmulik Gorge on this breathtaking cruise, taking you between the First and Second Gorge. Please note, a 500m walk over rocky terrain is required in both directions between the gorges.

Nitmiluk Gorge Helicopter Flight (Included for Platinum VIP guests): See the gorge from an entirely different perspective with a not-to-be-missed Nitmiluk Gorge helicopter flight over all 13 gorges (This experience is available on request for Gold and Platinum guests for a surcharge of approximately A$220 per person, subject to limited availability. Can be pre-booked on request with Luxury Escapes Tours Concierge).

Gold Service Passengers

Accommodation: Either Hilton Darwin or DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade (Guest Room)

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Platinum Service Passengers

Accommodation: Hilton Darwin (King Executive Room)

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Platinum VIP Service Passengers

Accommodation: Hilton Darwin (King One Bedroom Suite with Club Access)

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch

Waterfalls at Kakadu National Park. The Ghan Train Journey with Luxury Escapes.

Day 6: Darwin – Kakadu National Park – Darwin

Gold Service Passengers

A UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, Australia’s largest national park is in a league of its own. The walking trails, photogenic sunsets and Indigenous art are exquisite, but the undisputed highlight of Kakadu is the billabong, Yellow Water, where you can spy crocodiles and water buffalo.

Following a 90-minute drive along the exquisite Arnheim Highway and through the Marrakai Plains, you will arrive in this magnificent landscape. Cruise the Yellow Water wetlands and learn about the fascinating history, culture and traditions of the Bininj people – Kakadu’s traditional owners – while spotting saltwater crocodiles and colourful birdlife, including sea eagles, brolgas and tiny, brilliantly-hued kingfishers. After lunch, there will also be time to discover outdoor galleries of ancient art at Nourlangie, home to drawings ranging from 15,000 years to 150-years old, dazzling with Dreamtime folklore and first contact with white settlers.

Then, make the return journey back to Darwin, the spirited capital of the Northern Territory. Tonight, you’re free to enjoy the remainder of your evening at leisure.

Gold Optional Activity (included for Platinum and Platinum VIP): Choose to elevate your Kakadu experience with an optional scenic flight, soaring above the magnificent plains of Australia’s largest national park (from A$260 per person, subject to availability, and can be pre-booked on request with Luxury Escapes Tours Concierge)

Accommodation: Either Hilton Darwin or DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade (Guest Room)

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch with one Beer or Glass of Wine


Platinum Service Passengers

Your day will also be one to remember with a scenic flight over Kakadu National Park for Platinum and Platinum VIP guests, in addition to the tranquil Kakadu day tour and Yellow Water Billabong cruise. Please note: times will vary across the group.

Accommodation: Hilton Darwin (King Executive Room)

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch with one Beer or Glass of Wine

Platinum VIP Service Passengers

Accommodation: Hilton Darwin (King One Bedroom Suite with Club Access)

Meals: Breakfast and Lunch with one Beer or Glass of Wine


Day 7: Darwin

After a filling breakfast, your journey ends with a shared transfer to Darwin Airport (DRW) for your journey home.

Gold Service Passengers

Meals: Breakfast

Platinum and Platinum VIP Service Passengers

Meals: Breakfast

Platinum and Platinum VIP guests will benefit from private transfers to Darwin Airport (DRW).

Itinerary ends

Image courtesy of Luxury Escapes.

Have you done The Ghan train journey? We’d love to hear about your experience, especially if you do the upcoming November trips. Please leave a comment below or feel free to email us.


End of Article



Sign up below to receive our monthly newsletter to your In Box for special subscriber-only content, travel deals, tips, and inspiration.

100% Privacy. We hate spam too and will never give your email address away.

Support our Cambodia Cookbook & Culinary History Book with a donation or monthly pledge on Patreon.

Shop for related products


Find Your Australia Accommodation