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The Ghan or Indian Pacific or Great Southern: Which should you choose?

18th March 2020

The Ghan, the Indian Pacific and the Great Southern are all iconic train journeys. But which of these Journey Beyond train trips is the best? It all depends on your interests, itinerary and travel budget.

 

Where would you like to go

The Ghan travels from Adelaide to Darwin and the Indian Pacific travels between Perth and Sydney. Both of these journeys offer one, two or three night options. The Great Southern train travels from Brisbane to Adelaide for three nights or from Adelaide to Brisbane for two nights.

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Indian Pacific, Gold Service Twin Cabin
Indian Pacific, Gold Service Twin Cabin

 

Passenger overview

You’ll find solo travellers, couples and groups of friends onboard all three trains. The Ghan tends to appeal to younger passengers as there are active excursions available at each stop. The Indian Pacific attracts the most mature clientele while most Great Southern passengers are food and wine lovers.

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Great Southern Rail, Gold Service Single Cabin
Great Southern Rail, Gold Service Single Cabin

 

Which cabin is right for you

The carriages on all three trains are exactly the same and every fare includes accommodation, fine food and wine and stunning scenery. Passengers can choose from four cabin types. Whatever category cabin you stay in, the food is virtually identical, even if you opt for Platinum Class.

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Great Southern Rail, Platinum Service Twin Cabin
Great Southern Rail, Platinum Service Twin Cabin

 

Which train has the best excursions

Excursions on The Ghan, Great Southern and Indian Pacific are included in the cost of your fare. These range from bus tours to nature walks, cruises, city tours and food and wine experiences. The Ghan offers a large selection of additional excursions such as helicopter flights available at a modest ‘add-on’ cost.

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The Ghan, Alice Springs Telegraph Station Dinner
The Ghan, Alice Springs Telegraph Station Dinner

 

Wining and dining

Each train has the same Queen Adelaide Restaurant dining cars and serves breakfast, a two-course lunch and three-course dinner with a focus on regional produce from the surrounding areas. On the Great Southern, most meals are enjoyed off the train at wineries and similar venues.

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Great Southern Rail, Gold Service Queen Adelaide Restaurant
Great Southern Rail, Gold Service Queen Adelaide Restaurant

 

Which train is best for you?

 

THE INDIAN PACIFIC OVERVIEW

Indian Pacific Pros:

  • Includes the chance to cross the Nullarbor Plain
  • Plenty of time for gazing out the window and enjoying the view
  • Alternate arrival and departure cities and journey lengths available

Indian Pacific Cons:

  • Passengers come and go regularly during the journey
  • Long days spent on the train could be ‘boring’ for some travellers
  • Some stops are in the ‘middle of nowhere’ with nothing much to do

Indian Pacific is Best For:
Lovers of train travel and those who enjoy scenic journeys

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Indian Pacific, Rawlinna Dinner Under the Stars
Indian Pacific, Rawlinna Dinner Under the Stars

 

THE GHAN OVERVIEW

The Ghan Pros:

  • Great choice of active and relaxing excursions
  • Longer Ghan Expedition itinerary includes time to see Uluru
  • Alternate arrival and departure cities and journey lengths available

The Ghan Cons:

  • Darwin and Adelaide aren’t considered ‘must see’ cities by many travellers
  • Off train excursions can be extremely hot in the warmer months
  • Some must do excursions are not included in the fare

The Ghan is Best For:
Active travellers who enjoy travelling by train and seeing the sights

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The Ghan Expedition, Manguri Canape Outback Fire
The Ghan Expedition, Manguri Canape Outback Fire

 

GREAT SOUTHERN OVERVIEW

Great Southern Pros:

  • Excursions visit some of Australia’s best food and wine regions
  • Choice of two completely different journeys which can be combined
  • One of Australia’s newest luxury rail journeys

Great Southern Cons:

  • Train only runs a few months each year
  • Long days spent touring can be tiring for older passengers
  • Focus on food and wine may not suit some travellers

The Great Southern is Best For:
Food and wine lovers who enjoy socialising and unique travel experiences

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Great Southern Rail, Platinum Service Platinum Club Dinner
Great Southern Rail, Platinum Service Platinum Club Dinner

 

Talk to your local Travel Associates adviser about planning an unforgettable Australian train experience.