• 2024.02.27
Not many people know that in Australia there is a train named “The Ghan”, which is an abbreviation of “The Afghan Express” and how the train was nicknamed so due to the caravans of Afghan camel drivers who traveled the same route on foot with their animals before the advent of the railway.
The route, just under 3000 km long, goes from Adelaide to Darwin, from the hills and green plains of the South to the Red Centre, up to the tropical vegetation of the Top End.

On the first day I boarded - quite a while ago to be honest - in Adelaide, I remember I got on just in time for lunch, a meal to be enjoyed while admiring the pretty outskirts of the city from the window, then soon came the hills and the vineyards, then the semi-arid plains covered with bushes. Passing through the coastal towns, I got to pass the Dingo Fence, the longest fence in the world, apparently even longer than the Great Wall of China and built to keep dingoes away from south-eastern Australia and from the sheep farms.
Right after passing such ‘fence’ you then enter the spectacular Painted Desert nestled among picturesque railway towns and Aboriginal territories. From the train I began to admire the sunset over the outback, a unique spectacle, before dinner based on typical products at the Queen Adelaide Restaurant.

On the second day, at dawn we stopped at another station in South Australia where a track dirt road begins, to enjoy the arrival of the sun and breakfast. Once we set off again, we entered the Northern Territory, crossing Kulgera, a bush town, and crossing the Finke River, before arriving in Alice Springs, where the train stopped for a visit to the city and the base of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, which provides air medical assistance to remote Aussie villages. There was plenty of time here for optional activities like a scenic helicopter flight over the MacDonnell Ranges or a camel ride. In the late afternoon we set off again northwards, through the desert that we got to admire from the window during dinner.

On the third day, during breakfast, we passed by the gold mining town of Tennant Creek, then stopped in Katherine to take part in some excursions. You can cruise along the Katherine Gorge in Nitmiluk National Park to admire the sandstone cliffs and spot crocodiles. I well recall that optional activities included a scenic helicopter tour over the gorges of Nitmiluk National Park or a flight over Kakadu and Nitmiluk National Parks but we did not participate. Back on board we had lunch while crossing the rain forests of the Northern Territory and, after passing by the ancient mining town of Pine Creek, in the evening we finally made it to the capital of the Northern Territory, Darwin where I spent a few days before flying back to modern and bustling Sydney.

Sometimes I wish I had come to Australia on a working holiday visa like most of my Italian friends here as it gave them the opportunity to spend more time exploring the Aussie Bush as they call it and visit remote areas - the ‘real Australia’.
Many of my friends have also had a farm experience to renew their visa and that’s when you get to/have to spend a few months in the Outback contributing to the thriving of the area either by working as a fruit picker, on a cattle ranch or even as a support to the hospitality in the most remote areas of Australia.
The Outback is fascinating and I would recommend it to anyone…well, if you are not afraid of snakes and spiders that is.


  • Alberto Ferrando
  • Jobcivil engineer

Hello everyone! I’m originally from Italy and I moved to Sydney, Australia, in 2012 after getting a job as a civil engineer. I love walking my dog along the beach, surfing and taking photos. I used to have a travel blog because I’m passionate about traveling and I love writing about it too. Sydney is my home base now and I wish to share how amazing it is to live here. I love to spend time outdoors and I’m always well informed about local events because my girlfriend works in event management.

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