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Australia > Long Distance Australian Train Journeys > On Board The Train - Ghan And Overland DifferencesArid scenery at the Fink River crossing near Darwin

Long Distance Australian Train Journeys - the 'Ghan' and the 'Overland'

A guide for backpacker and budget travellers

The 'Long Distance Australian Train Journeys' articles on this website cover the three long-distance trains operated by Great Southern Rail: the 'Indian Pacific', the 'Ghan' and the 'Overland'. The details of the articles concentrate mainly on the seats, facilities, and food found on the 'Indian Pacific'. Any differences between the 'Indian Pacific' and the other trains are detailed on this page.

Map of Australian Great Train Journeys
Australian Long-Distance Trains - 'The Ghan'
The Ghan travels between Adelaide and Darwin, with major stops at Alice Springs and Katherine. The train is very similar to the 'Indian Pacific' mentioned on the pages listed above, and 'Red Class' (i.e. Economy) uses the same 'Day-Nighter' seats and carriages, so any traveller from the Indian Pacific will quickly feel at home on the Ghan. There is the same 'Matilda Cafe' buffet car for all food and drink requirements. The Lounge car is the same, and its privileges are also charged for: $10 from Adelaide to Alice Springs, and $15 from Adelaide to Darwin.

On the Ghan they play a lot of commentaries, and recollections or descriptions by local people over the public address system. At other times, a monotonous cycle of very average pop music is played. If you are travelling in the sleeper compartments or in the more expensive classes on the Ghan you can adjust the volume as required, but if you are in the Red Service Daynighter seats you have no option but to listen to this. It can go on for hours without respite - some may be interesting, but some may not, so I would recommend that you pack ear plugs and/or an MP3 player to drown it out if necessary.

Australian Long-Distance Trains - 'The Overland'
'The Overland' travels the shortest of all the three routes, between Melbourne and Adelaide. The train is therefore rather different to the others: it is only a day train, without the need for sleepers or sleeper seats. The seats are still very comfortable, and still recline though not to the same extent as on the other two trains. A buffet service is available in the 'Cafe 828' buffet car, with some prices slightly cheaper than on the Indian Pacific or the Ghan. The Overland leaves Adelaide three times a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 0745, arriving in Melbourne the same day at 1850. The return journey leaves Melbourne three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 0805, arriving in Adelaide the same day at 1750. See my Station Notes page for details of the stations themselves. The route follows very scenic countryside with plenty to look at, and in my opinion has the best scenery of any of the three trains.

Buy your rail pass here:

Still keen and want to find out more? Please visit the other pages in this article:Attendant enters 'The Ghan' carriage at Alice Springs

  1. Introduction
  2. Tickets And Passes - Where To Buy Them
  3. On Board The Train - Seating
  4. On Board The Train - Food
  5. On Board The Train - Facilities
  6. On Board The Train - Photography
  7. On Board The Train - Ghan And Overland Differences - THIS PAGE
  8. Packing List - Essential Items For The Journey
  9. Upgrading To Better Accomodation
  10. Whistlestop Tours
  11. Station Notes
  12. Great Southern Rail Train Photo Gallery

The photographs on these pages were all taken on my recent 32,000km journey around Australia. Click any image to see a larger version. The photographs are all available for licensing in a range of sizes - please Contact Me for details.

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