Everybody loves a good ghost story, and Australians are no exception. The history of this country is rich with fantastic tales and strange occurrences, and it’s hardly surprising that so many different haunted hot spots have popped up over the years – all of them great places to visit on holiday. There are too many to visit all in one go though, so you’ll have to be economical with your selections and only stop in at the best of the best.
After all, you want to maximise your chances of seeing a ghost in the flesh (the ectoplasm?), so there’s no time to mess around with anything but the most haunted locations. Here are three of the best places to try your luck at a spot of ghostbusting.
Apr 3, 2016 at 9:00pm PDT
1. Port Arthur, Tasmania
Australia is well known for its history as a convict colony, and one of the centres of that was Tasmania, where the worst of the worst were sent to work and live in isolation from the mainland. By far the most important relic of the country’s convict days is the settlement at Port Arthur – now a World Heritage site and must-visit attraction for any visitor to the island. You’ll find the prison site on the Tasman Peninsula, roughly 100 kilometres from Hobart. The drive takes about an hour and a half, but it’s more than worth it for a chance to see some of Port Arthur’s ghostly residents.
On first impressions, Port Arthur looks quite beautiful, and not at all like the location many spent years trying to escape from. The gardens are perfectly manicured and the 30 odd historical buildings and period houses exude a unique charm that you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll look at them in a new light though, when your guide begins to tell you some of the stories of Port Arthur’s residents in the late 1800s, and of the hauntings that have been reported almost consistently over the last hundred years.
At its peak, the prison held more than 1,000 convicts, and many of them died trying the escape via the shark infested waters surrounding the Peninsula, so you’ll want to keep your eyes on the deep blue seas surrounding the prison too.
Mar 2, 2014 at 3:27am PST
2. Picton, New South Wales
Port Arthur may be the most famous haunted site in Australia, but it’s huge popularity takes away from the eeriness somewhat. After all, what self-respecting ghost is going to make an appearance in front of a tour group armed with cameras? If you’re looking for a slightly more thrilling and isolated experience, head to Picton in New South Wales – widely considered to be one of the nation’s creepiest towns.
Picton is located on the very edge of Sydney, about 45 minutes from the centre of town. In years gone by, when the state capital was much smaller, Picton was a very important stop for travellers leaving or arriving in Sydney and as such it grew into a bustling hub. This lead to the erection of some truly stunning period buildings which can still be seen today. Particular highlights include the Imperial Hotel and old bank building. Eventually though, travel routes abandoned Picton, and it’s slowly developed into a quiet and beautiful, if slightly strange, town.
The centre of paranormal activity in Picton is undoubtedly the Picton Tunnel – an abandoned train route that stretches for some 180 metres. Over the years there have been a number of grisly incidents in the tunnel, making it a big draw card for anyone with an interest in other planes of existence. The tunnel is located on private property though, so you’ll need to get permission from the owner, or head along on a guided tour.
Jul 16, 2016 at 8:23pm PDT
3. Junee, New South Wales
If Port Arthur and Picton aren’t enough to satiate your curiosity for figures from beyond the grave, there’s one place that almost certainly will. Junee is located 365 km inland from Picton, or 428 km from Sydney. That’s quite the drive, but if you’re looking to get there quickly you can always drive from Canberra – a journey that only takes 2.5 hours.
Junee may be small and isolated from the bigger tourism hubs, but it more than makes up for that by playing host to what is almost certainly Australia’s most haunted location. The Monte Cristo house was built in 1884/5 and in the years since it has quickly developed a reputation as a focal point for unnerving sightings and chilling encounters with the spirit realm. If you’re feeling really brave, you can actually stay overnight in the gorgeous building, but beware the stairs. You wouldn’t be the first to take a tumble down them.
Of course, every ghostbuster needs a good set of wheels, and while the Ecto-1 may not be available at the moment, there’s no reason you can’t cruise in style. Who you gonna call? East coast Car Rentals!