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Australia & the Ghan

(Tour code: AUJ17)The Ghan and Australia's highlights by rail

This fantastic rail adventure takes in many of Australia's natural wonders, including the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and the Blue Mountains. A wonderful train journey on the legendary Ghan from Alice Springs to Adelaide is a real highlight, and time in Melbourne and Sydney to explore completes this holiday of a lifetime.

Tour Highlights
  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • The Ghan and Alice Springs
  • Uluru and dinner under the stars
  • Adelaide and Melbourne
  • The Great Ocean Road
  • Phillip Island’s penguin parade
  • 3 scenic railway journeys
  • Barossa Valley wine tour
  • Sydney and the Blue Mountains
What’s Included (Full details)
  • Standard Class Rail
    Heritage Rail Excursions
    1 Night on The Ghan
  • 17 Nights' Hotel Accommodation
  • Selected Porterage
  • Return Scheduled Flights
    Upgrades Available
    Transfer Flights

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Palm Cove Beach, Cairns
Days 1-3

London to Cairns

We depart London Heathrow for an overnight flight to Dubai, continuing via Sydney to Cairns. We arrive early morning on Day 3 with a leisurely day ahead, spending the next three nights at the Pullman International Cairns.

Kuranda Scenic Railway
Day 4

Kuranda Scenic Railway

Today we travel on the wonderful 125-year old Kuranda Scenic Railway. Our journey takes us into the rainforest and above the Barron River Gorge to Kuranda. On arrival we take a trip on a World War II amphibious military transport unit, or 'Army Duck', through World Heritage Rainforest, with the Duck Captain pointing out the different flora, fauna, birds and reptiles which we pass on our journey. After enjoying lunch, we experience an Aboriginal 'corroboree' with songs and dance, following the path of the Dreamtime Walk through traditional legend.

Great Barrier Reef
Day 5

Great Barrier Reef

A real highlight of our holiday is today's Quicksilver Cruise to the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest coral reef system which is home to thousands of species and stretches over 1,800 miles. A large covered pontoon is our base for the day, where we enjoy lunch and explore the reef. Snorkelling is the best way to view the exquisite coral and vibrant fish close up, but our base also has a semi-submersible vessel to take non-swimmers for a cruise along the reef wall. The underwater observatory is a superb window into this extraordinary world!

Day 6

To Uluru

We leave Cairns today and fly to the desert to Uluru. Ayers Rock, the world's largest monolith, rises majestically more than 1,142 feet out of the flat desert floor. We begin at the Aboriginal Cultural Centre with a guided tour around this sacred site, which holds great spiritual significance to local Anangu people. Later, as the sun sets, we watch this giant rock change colour and enjoy a magical dinner under the stars. The incredible 'Sounds of Silence' experience includes canapés and sparkling wine as the sun sets over Uluru, followed by a three-course dinner with a bush-inspired menu including kangaroo, crocodile, barramundi and quandong. After dinner, a 'star talker' will decode the southern night sky and point out signs of the zodiac and the planets and galaxies visible due to the clarity of the atmosphere. We spend two nights at the Desert Gardens Hotel in the Ayers Rock Resort.

The Olgas
Day 7

Ayers Rock

This morning we enjoy a 'Sunrise & Olgas' tour. This circular group of 36 red rocky domes cover a large area and are as mystical as Uluru. Your afternoon is free to spend at leisure in Ayers Rock Resort, an ideal opportunity to relax by the pool.

The Ghan
Days 8-9

Alice Springs & The Ghan

Today we enjoy a free morning before travelling by coach to Alice Springs, for a night at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel. On Day 9 we visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air. We then join The Ghan for our epic rail journey travelling from Alice Springs to Adelaide. The Ghan has long been a tradition for train travel between Alice Springs and Adelaide and is often referred to as the ultimate journey through the heart of this mighty continent, taking passengers on what is undoubtedly one of the world's greatest rail journeys. Named after the Afghan drivers of the camel 'trains', The Ghan is a mode of transport, a sightseeing trip and a hotel all in one. We travel in Gold Service, with all of our meals included during the journey, which are served in the Restaurant Car. The meals are freshly prepared by the on-board chefs and menus feature a selection of Australian and international cuisine. Gold Service passengers also have access to the on-board Gold Lounge. All drinks for Gold Service passengers, including beers, wines and spirits, are included during your time on The Ghan.

Day 10

To Adelaide

We travel to Adelaide across the barren landscape of the Red Centre. We leave The Ghan for a three-night stay at the Majestic Roof Garden Hotel and enjoy a city tour of colonial highlights including Government House and the Parliament building.

Barossa Eden Valley
Days 11-13

Barossa Valley and The Overland

We explore the vineyards of the Barossa Valley by coach today, with the chance to taste some superb wines. On Day 12 you are free to explore at leisure or take an optional excursion (payable locally) to Kangaroo Island. On Day 13 we leave Adelaide and journey to Melbourne, Australia's 'Garden State', on board The Overland. We check into Melbourne's Novotel on Collins for a four-night stay.

  • Excursion
The Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne
Days 14-16

Melbourne and Phillip Island

Our city tour today includes the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Parliament House. In the afternoon we join the Puffing Billy steam train for a journey through the rainforest and fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges. On Day 15 we travel along one of the world's most scenic roads, the Great Ocean Road, to the Twelve Apostles, Bells Beach and the Otway Rainforest. On Day 16 you are free until mid-afternoon, when we head by coach to Phillip Island, named after Governor Arthur Phillip, which forms a natural breakwater for the shallow waters of Western Port Bay. Here we visit the Koala Conservation Centre. At sunset, overlooking the beach from the viewing platforms, you will encounter a wonderful spectacle of the wild fairy penguins emerging from the sea and crossing the sand to their burrows in the dunes (numbers vary depending on the season).

Sydney Harbour
Days 17-18

To Sydney

We leave Melbourne today on the CountryLink XTP, travelling through Victoria and New South Wales to Sydney. We spend four nights at the Amora Jamison. We take a cruise around stunning Sydney harbour on Day 18, taking in marvellous views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Zig-Zag Railway, the Blue Mountains
Days 19-20

The Blue Mountains and Sydney

Today we take the train towards the Blue Mountains. Our tour of this area includes the Three Sisters rock formation, a cable car trip and a journey on the Katoomba Scenic Railway. On Day 20 you have a free day to explore Sydney.

Flying home
Days 21-22

Return to London

You are free for some last-minute sightseeing today before we catch an evening flight via Dubai to London Heathrow, arriving early on Day 22.

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.


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Helping you plan your holiday...

Lynne Broadley
James Eaton
Lori Mcclaren
Julie Longfield


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