Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > Australia / New Zealand

Australia / New Zealand Topics specific to Australia and New Zealand only.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 21 May 2003
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Douglas, Isle of Man
Posts: 12
The Ghan

Thinking about my next Australian trip - with a bike this time and just watched a travel programme about railway journeys in Oz. The guide took the Ghan up to Alice and then rode a camel (allegedly) back to Adelaide along the old Ghan route passing through some interesting old towns - Oodnadatta, Farina etc. Have you any of you guys rode bikes along the old route and can you take the bike on the train to Alice (not because I don't want to ride the bike but because I really want to ride the train) when would be the best time of year to ride and what kind of day/night time temperatures would you expect then?

"restricted to 132bhp"
\"restricted to 132bhp\"
Reply With Quote
Old 21 May 2003
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Slough, UK
Posts: 153
I suspect that you won't be able to take your bike on the Ghan, though they do have a website so do a search and ask them.

However, IMHO that's beside the point. If you train Adelaide-Alice you will miss some of the best riding and wilderness Oz has to offer. If you're interested in the story of the Ghan then by riding the route you will gain an infinitely better understanding of what the old Ghan was all about than if you jump on a new train. The new Ghan bears as much resemblance to the ledgendary old Ghan as a McDonalds hamburger does to a real one. It doesn't even follow the same route - the old Ghan terminated at Oodnadatta, which was as far north as this particular section of track ever got - the modern line cuts through to Alice far to the west. For many years the railhead at Oodnadatta was the main transport link into this part of the outback, a frontier post which was the focus of communities for many hundreds of miles around - this is the real Ghan. In Oodnadatta you can climb aboard the hulking locomotives that are now rusted to their tracks - you'll miss it all if you catch a train to Alice. Check out the stories of the overland telegraph line, oodnadatta/birdsville tracks, opal mining towns around andamooka, the flinders ranges...

You can even ride alongside or on top of the old Ghan track - I did this about 10 years ago. Also, if you're into trains then don't miss the Pitchi Ritchi railway in the Flinders Ranges - I rode across the old railway bridges (ka-thump ka-thump) when the roads were washed out by floodwaters.

You could do Port Augusta to Alice via the Oodnadatta in a week easy. Make me happy, tell me you'll ride it...

3AJ Tenere
Yamaha XT600Z 3AJ Tenere
Honda ST1100 Pan European Police
Reply With Quote
Old 23 May 2003
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Düsseldorf, Germany
Posts: 21
we did The Gahn last year and it was great! As Barry mentioned, following the Old Ghan on the Oodnadatta-Track is one of the best things to do.

A few k's before you hit Alice, you'll find a museum also containing some cars and locos of the Old Ghan. They used to carry passengers 30K's on the Old Ghan serving a little dinner. But it seems as if they had to finish their service. You may have a look at http://www.maintraxnt.com.au

If you're there ask for Chas Pole. He did a lot of restauration works and know much about the Ghan.

If you don't want to ride back on the Stuart Highway you can take the bike on the New Ghan.

For a german bikemagazine I did a report on the Old Ghan. Using http://de.altavista.com/babelfish you may translate it into English or simply watch the pics.

http://www.motorradkarawane.de/repo/index.html click an then chose Australien under "Kontinente".



[This message has been edited by Dirk/D (edited 23 May 2003).]
Reply With Quote
Old 24 May 2003
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Douglas, Isle of Man
Posts: 12
Thanks Dirk and Barry,

I am definitely seriously considering this before I get too old! biggest problem is finding a mate to go with me, perhaps posting on this forum is the answer to that.

Tried the websistes you provided Dirk unfortunately this came up on the "Old Ghan" site, looks like something else to blame bin Laden for!


\"restricted to 132bhp\"
Reply With Quote
Old 28 Jun 2003
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Alice Springs, Australia
Posts: 4
g'day duke.
i did the old ghan track from alice springs - finke (about 230km), then out to the stuart highway to get around floods and onto the oodnadatta track for a dirt trip to melbourne. oodna's a motorway if the weather's dry, but i'm sure there's info elsewhere on that.
the old ghan line is fun, plenty of deep sand where they made cuttings through the dunes and at the finke river xing, good places to camp too. plenty of sleepers left in parts, dogspikes too.
not much traffic, and if you need to you can get fuel at finke and at maryvale station.
i've also done oodnadatta to finke via dalhousie springs and mt. dare station, lots of big rocks out there but some cool stuff to see inc. ghan and overland telegraph line ruins. take a mozzie net for dalhousie (or better yet, camp away from the springs - christmas creek, i think it's called, about 10 km away), and a hangover cure for mt. dare.
Reply With Quote
Old 28 Jun 2003
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Alice Springs, Australia
Posts: 4
oh yes and as for the ghan, new version: they'll want you to pay the same price as a car would, and you can only load / unload at adelaide and alice springs. pretty expensive as i recall.
Reply With Quote
Old 30 Sep 2003
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 23
There is a new train service opening up very soon - if not already - from Adelaide to Darwin. There was a new story on TV the other night mentioning that the last tracks were being laid to link the Top End with Sth Australia...

Maybe it is The Ghan - see the link for more info....



[This message has been edited by Mel D (edited 30 September 2003).]
Reply With Quote
Old 5 Nov 2003
Contributing Member
HUBB regular
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: London, England
Posts: 35
Hi ,
I know this is a bit of an old thread so I hope I'm not too late for you. If you're planning a trip up the Oodnadatta track to follow the old Ghan line, and you like steam trains, then you should check out the Pichi Richi railway. It is based in Quorn and they run steam trains along a section of the old Ghan.
Check out these links :

Reply With Quote
Old 5 Dec 2003
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 1,366
... Time
Could I suggest July? Late July?

From Adelaide go up to The flinders ranges, Gammon Ranges .. Oodnadata track, Fink (yes the train line did go all the way to Alice), Alice. Then go east on the Plenty or Sandover Highways (dirt roads) to Innaminka ... join the Oz Adventure riders group to find out why I'm suggesting this route and time... http://www.users.bigpond.com/rto/ozhome.htm

Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 09:52.