Should you consider doing an iconic train journey such as The Ghan as a single traveller?  The answer is a resounding ‘yes’! Having the freedom to please yourself during such an iconic travel experience is one of the great joys of doing this trip solo, with plenty of fun to be had along the way. An overnight train journey is the ideal holiday for singles, with the perfect mix of socialising and quiet contemplation. The following tips will help you make the most of your time onboard and enjoy this trip to the full.

There is more than one itinerary

Most people are familiar with the journey from Adelaide to Darwin, via Alice Springs, which takes two nights and runs throughout the year. However, in April and from November to March you can do the same journey in the reverse direction. From May to October, there is also a three night expedition journey which includes a stop at Coober Pedy and time to visit Uluru. If you don’t want to do the full trip (or if money is tight), it is possible to travel on The Ghan for just one night, either from Darwin to Alice Springs or Alice Springs to Adelaide.

Allow time to explore Adelaide and Darwin

It is worth adding a couple of days onto your holiday to explore these two destinations before and after your journey on The Ghan. Spend a few nights at the Hilton Darwin and go on a sunset sailing trip, check out the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre or explore Litchfield National Park on a day trip with AAT Kings. In Adelaide, you can take a trip to one of South Australia’s wine regions or explore the many galleries which make this city great.

Choosing your cabin

The Ghan helps single travellers say goodbye (and good riddance) to the dreaded ‘single supplement’ with single Gold Class sleeper cabins. This compact accommodation features a bed that converts to a seat by day and modern shower/toilet facilities at the end of each carriage with excellent water pressure and brand name toiletries. If you don’t like ‘going backwards’ on trains, request a cabin facing the direction of travel when you book.

Pack smart

Cabins on The Ghan are compact and the trip isn’t that long. You will be more comfortable if you check your suitcase and bring a day bag or carry on for the journey. If you are staying at a central hotel in either Darwin or Adelaide, you can request a complimentary pick up from your accommodation to the train. Your checked luggage is tagged before you get on the bus, with bags made available for collection at your final destination.

How to have fun onboard

One of the great joys of this trip is socialising with other travellers in the lounge (bar) car. The atmosphere is cosy and convivial rather than boozy, the chairs are comfy and the scenery is superb. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included in the fare, so there is no need to worry about your holiday budget if you fancy a coffee or a glass of wine. Passengers on The Ghan tend to be well-travelled and excellent company, with plenty of interesting tales to tell. Even if you don’t fancy a drink, it’s a lovely spot to read, relax and watch the scenery roll by or chat with like-minded fellow travellers.

Dining tips

As there isn’t enough room for everyone to eat in the restaurant at the same time, your cabin attendant will tell you what time your lunch and dinner bookings are each day. These can be early or quite late, such as 2.15pm for lunch, so if you have a preference make sure you get in early with your request. Breakfast is free seating anytime before 10am.

See the sights

Excursions are included in the cost of your fare and include everything from bus tours to nature hikes and a cruise up Nitmiluk Gorge at Katherine. Some truly amazing excursions are also available at an ‘add on’ cost, such as camel riding in Alice Springs and a helicopter trip over the gorge at Katherine. You don’t book excursions until you get onboard so if you are thinking of upgrading to the helicopter tour, for example, there is time to check the weather before you reach for your wallet.

Disclosure: The writer travelled as a guest of Great Southern Rail.