Outback dining, South Australia © Scott Slawinski
The Ghan expedition program pitch
For more than 90 years, The Ghan has journeyed through the rugged red expanse of Australia from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south, rolling past some of the country’s unique sights. Book an incentive program like no other and climb aboard one of the world’s greatest rail journeys, departing Darwin every Wednesday between April and October. Or, take the journey in the opposite direction from Adelaide to Darwin.
After a night at Mindil Beach Casino Resort, transfer to the station, ready for The Ghan’s 10.00am departure. Once aboard, settle into your Platinum suites complete with ensuites, expansive windows and cloudlike linen before heading to the Platinum Club carriage for welcome barista-made coffees. A regionally-inspired long lunch, paired with Australian wines will kick off your journey through the vibrant colours of the outback. Each Ghan journey has two or three Platinum Club lounges onboard that can host up to 20 guests each.
Next, arrive in Katherine, the Top End township that acts as the gateway to some of Australia’s most picturesque natural wonders. Explore the sights with a cruise through Nitmiluk Gorge and learn about the region’s rich Aboriginal culture. Or for a different pace, head out to an operating cattle station and get a taste of life in the outback.
Following your afternoon of adventuring, watch the sunset over the expanse of Australia’s impressive landscape in the Platinum Club Lounge. Soak up the views while feasting on a four-course dinner prepared by the onboard chefs who work closely with Australia’s best farmers and providores. Finish the evening off with a few nightcaps in the lounge.
While you slept, the train has continued its journey through the country, bringing with it a morning view of the vast terrain of the Red Centre. Your arrival into Alice Springs marks a full day of exploration. Board your chartered scenic flight and beeline over the spectacular landscape towards Uluru.
Once on the ground, your tour guide will whisk you away to the Anangu peoples' campsite at Mutitjula Waterhole. Your exploration of the majestic national park will start with Aboriginal history and Dreaming stories. Afterwards, enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch in an unbeatable outback location, before getting up close to the almighty Uluru. While travelling around the base of the sacred monolith, you’ll hear more about the cultural significance of the site as well as getting the picture perfect opportunity for the ultimate Australian happy snap. Then it’s back to the plane to see Uluru from above, followed by the 36 towering domes that make up Kata Tjuta (meaning ‘many heads’).
Back in Alice Springs, take a trip out to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station for an evening under the stars. Kick off your outback banquet with an extravagant Australian BBQ feast in your outdoor ballroom, then be joined by members of the local Aboriginal community who will lead you through a stargazing experience. Enjoy camel rides and blacksmith demonstrations before dancing the night away.
After breakfast onboard, alight into the expansive red desert at Manguri. From here you’ll transfer out to what is often referred to as the opal capital of the world: Coober Pedy. Tour this fascinating underground town, ticking off sights such as the Serbian Orthodox Church with rippled rock ceilings and stained glass windows.
Learn more about the unique stones at Umoona Opal Mine and Museum, and visit the underground homes known as ‘dugouts’. See the working opal fields at Quest Opal Mine and enjoy a three-course lunch in the subterranean dining room. These channels have been specially dug to fit the tables, and between courses you can chip away at the walls to try your luck at uncovering your own precious gems.
Come afternoon, visit the longest continual construction in the world, The Dog Fence. Running from the eastern coast in Queensland down to the Great Australian Bight, the fence was completed in 1885 to keep native Australian dingoes away from sheep flocks. Then it’s onto the vibrant arid landscape of The Breakaways that once formed an expansive landlocked sea. Later, as the sun lowers over the plains, and the Australian wine starts to flow in the Platinum Club Lounge, toast your glass to a memorable incentive onboard one of the most inspiring rail journeys in the world. Let the train rock you to sleep one last time, ahead of your arrival into Adelaide at 10.00am the following morning.
Hero image credit: Scott Slawinski