Grim tales, ghoulish ghosts and hair-raising hauntings – Australia has its fair share of spooky history.
Explore the other side of Australia — the one that only comes alive at night — with these ghost tours.
Learn the dark side of Australia’s convict history — tales of murder, suicide, hangings, and hauntings. As you walk through the popular tourist attraction of The Rocks and even explore some parts of it that the local tourist might not.
Learn about the unexplained happenings at one of Australia’s most notorious prisons, Boggo Road Gaol. But beware — you may agree with others who’ve said it’s haunted by the end of the tour.
Discover the dark side of this presumed paradise — its secret dealings and history of greed, gluttony, and betrayal. You will also have the opportunity to make contact with the other side through paranormal equipment like KII meters, dowsing rods, and black mirrors.
With a history of paranormal occurrences that stretch back more than a century, Cockatoo Island is the place to go for your ghost experience. Search for ghosts in buildings that are rarely open to the public and listen to twisted tales of murder, botched prison escapes, and gang violence. Even stay for the Overnight Fright Experience if you’re up for it.
Begin with dinner at Melbourne’s most famous haunted pub, Young & Jacksons Hotel, and continue on a street tour through Melbourne. Travel back to a time when the spices of Chinatown masked the smoke of the opium dens, poor houses supplied bodies in the name of advancing medical science, and famous opera singer Federici gave his most dramatic performance when he plunged to death in front of his audience.
The Adelaide Arcade, the oldest and grandest shopping arcade in Australia. It has long been known for its ghostly activity often, reported by security guards and even shoppers. Learn about the tragedy that befell the arcade’s caretaker in 1887 and gain exclusive access to the haunted tearoom below the arcade.
Only decommissioned as a maximum-security goal in 1991, Fremantle Prison is a monument to a system of punishment that is uncomfortably recent. Brush against prison walls that echo with stories of pain and loneliness and enjoy ghastly ghost stories from your guide.
Learn the history of the capital they don’t put in the textbooks. Like why some security guards refuse to work at Old Parliament House and the embassy plagued by screams of the past. This tour shines a light on the dark hidden past of the nation’s capital.
Originally a goldfields prison, J Ward – later part of the Ararat Lunatic Asylum – housed the most depraved and dangerous men in Victoria, with high security and awful conditions. Closed in 1991, J Ward is now a museum complex that preserves and records the history of the criminals imprisoned and hanged onsite. On a guided tour, you can see where murderers took their last breath and where their bodies are buried, and learn about notorious criminals who spent time here, such as Chopper Read and William Wallace. Besides the regular guided tours, you can come face-to-face with spirits still trapped in the walls on the J Ward Ghost Tour. See even more of the asylum at night… and you might run into something spooky.
Boasting the title of ‘Australia’s Most Haunted House’, Monte Cristo Homestead was built in 1885. Those years of history contribute to the apparitions, noises and occurrences that happen when you tour, or even stay overnight. When original owner Christopher Crawley died in 1910, his wife Elizabeth couldn’t get over his death – she only left the house twice over the next 23 years, and is said to still haunt Monte Cristo. Several of tragic events occurred here: a maid took a fatal fall from the upstairs balcony, a stableboy burned to death in his bed at the hands of his master and today a disabled man named Harold can be seen haunting the grounds. Monte Cristo’s tours are unique. You can stay overnight in the house itself after a three-course meal, 150-minute ghost tour, cooked breakfast and a small gift. There’s also the option of dinner and a tour, if you’d prefer less supernatural sleeping arrangements.
This historic site transforms into a whole new place when the sun sets. Mysterious stories are told of the penal era, when more than 1000 people died at the port, and you can learn more about them during a lantern-lit tour through buildings and ruins. Places like the Penitentiary housed hundreds of convicts in dormitories and solitary cells, while the Separate Prison is where harsh physical punishment was replaced with punishment of the mind. Many visitors claim to see a woman in a blue dress standing in doorways. Whether it’s for the rich history or to witness unexplainable events, these grounds are worth discovering.
Q Station, NSW
On the edge of Sydney Harbour, the Quarantine Station served as a stop between potentially sick immigrants and the rest of the country. From the 1830s until 1984, thousands of people passed through the doors, but some weren’t as lucky. Roughly 600 people died from diseases like scarlet fever, smallpox and Spanish influenza and are said to be haunting the site to this day. Visitors claim to capture ghosts on camera, hear voices when alone and even say they’ve been shoved when entering the first-class shower block. There are many stories of ghosts haunting the station and the best chance to encounter them is on one of the Q Station’s ghost tours after dark through historic buildings, the burial ground and empty pathways.
Devil’s Pool, Qld
A visually stunning spot known as Babinda Boulders is a tourist favourite… but it also goes by another name more suited to its reputation: Devil’s Pool. The Aboriginal legend about the area tells of a forbidden love between Oolana, who married respected tribal elder Waroonoo, and a man from another tribe, Dyga, whom Oolana fell in love with. They ran away together, but were caught at Babinda Boulders, where Oolana then threw herself into the waterhole. It’s said that her spirit is still searching for Dyga, luring men to their deaths in the depths. Since 1959, 17 people have lost their lives here, with only one being a woman. Strangely, many victims weren’t actually swimming – some have suddenly slipped into the waters and been swept away. The most recent death was in 2008, when James Bennett, swimming in a calm area, was violently pulled as if by ‘an invisible hand’ toward churning waters known as the ‘Washing Machine’. He ultimately sank to the depths and was found three days later. Nearby, a plaque marks the passing of an earlier victim: “He came for a visit and stayed forever.”
Offering ghost crime tours and lock-ins, this historic hotel opened in 1846 when Kapunda was a busy but violent mining town – in the hotel alone, several people were murdered. Over the years there have been sightings of a woman and little girl walking around the upstairs of the hotel. They are believed to be the ghost of a sex worker who was murdered in the hotel and her daughter who died of disease. Other ghostly figures have been spotted, including a miner with one leg who died shortly after an amputation, alongside unexplained encounters such as disembodied voices, shouting and visitors being shoved in the corridor. During tours of the hotel, you can investigate the basement, where bodies were stored back in the day, and other areas of the hotel where unfortunate instances occurred.
One mystery haunts this part of the Northern Territory. After dark it has been said that unfortunates will run into the Poinciana Woman, the victim of a gruesome act who hanged herself from a poinciana tree. Her now-malevolent spirit haunts the area, black hair covering her face, in search of men to take revenge upon. Some say she first appears as a white-robed, long-haired beauty, who transforming into a wild-haired, eagle-clawed hag just before feeding on her victims’ guts. If you’re curious, rumour has it that you summon her by spinning around three times and calling her name on a moonless night. Good luck.
Almost every room in this building has an unusual story attached to it. They come from staff members who have worked in the building, visitors or even groups of schoolkids who saw a little girl making faces at them through an air grate. With the various stories come years of history: the building was originally the Australian Institute of Anatomy, housing a collection that included human skeletons, mutant animal bodies, a mummy and more. The Institute was used for dissection and the study of bodies, including those of soldiers and others that were acquired by suspicious means. It was also home to Canberra’s first morgue, and during the ghost tours you’ll be taken into the depths of the NFSA, where many visitors feel the spirits still trapped in the building. Some have felt hands touching their shoulders or witnessed poltergeist activity and unexplained noises.
Seppeltsfield Winery, Barossa Valley, SA
Of course, this winery is known for its wine, but hauntings have added another layer to its reputation. Built in 1851 by the Seppelt family, this property has been subject to strange reports from visitors, such as screams being heard from the vineyards, mysterious gunshots, whisperings and blood dripping from the walls of the family mausoleum on death anniversaries. Noises can be heard from the machines in a building that hasn’t been used in years. Go out and visit for a nerve-settling glass or carafe – and see if you can spot the ghost of a maid said to haunt the homestead and tunnels of Seppeltsfield Winery.