Crossing the Great Southern Land by Train in Australia
1800 miles and more than two full days of travel span the distance from Adelaide in the south to Darwin in the north, crossing the empty expanse of the dead center of Australia. The Ghan's route traverses a gradually changing landscape of dusty plains, canyons, and mountain ranges, finally landing in the radically different, paradisiacal tropical coast. It wasn't until 2004 that the rail line—named after the Afghan camel trains that once supplied this remote stretch of the Outback—was able to be completed. The land here is a seemingly endless, wide-open nothingness framed by electric blue skies. At the midpoint in Alice Springs, it's possible to hop off the train for a side trip to Ayers Rock (Uluru)—still 280 miles away, yet somehow close by Australian standards.