Is your family creepy and kooky, or mysterious and spooky? Then make like the Addams Family and bring your brood along for a nightmarish immersion into Australia’s dark side. In time for Halloween, we’ve collected our top 5 ghost tours for some spooky fun and a good history lesson to boot. Who knows, you might brush ectoplasmic shoulders with a notorious bushranger, or a former felons! You’re sure to leave looking over your shoulder.
Grown-ups – research carefully to make sure the experiences are suitable for your family. Some are best for teens.
Haunted Homestead – Monte Cristo Homestead in Junee, NSW
There’s a dark, secret track winding back to an old and haunted shack on the road to Junee. The shack is known as the most haunted house in Australia – only cross the threshold if you dare!
The two-storey, Victorian-style manor was built in 1884 by Christopher Crawley and his family. Crawley was a prominent and well-liked local figure, before dying unusually of blood poisoning and left a trail of mysterious deaths in his wake.
Visitors can take a self-guided tour through the property, which has featured in TV shows and horror movies. There is also a Doll Museum open 10am to 4pm every Friday to Monday and throughout the school holidays.
The more daring can pre-book a candlelit tour after dark, with the option of staying the night onsite. The ghost tour costs $195 per person, including home-cooked dinner, 2.5 hour ghost tour, accommodation and breakfast. Bookings essential.
READ MORE: Top family road trips from Melbourne
Mysterious Melbourne –ghost tours in Old Melbourne Gaol, VIC
‘Such is life’ were the famous last words of legendary outlaw, Ned Kelly, before he met his death at the gallows of Old Melbourne Gaol after nearly 2 years on the run. Ned Kelly’s is not the only ghost haunting the halls of Victoria’s oldest surviving prison.
Immerse yourself in the rich history of the complex, which spans British invasion, the Gold Rush, and the reopening of the buildings as a military detention barracks in the 1940s. The precinct – including the Magistrate’s Court and Watch House – is recommended to brave-hearted phantom fans aged 12 and above.
General entry for a family (2 adults and 2 children) costs $70. You can also additionally book a tour online, which will run for approximately 1 hour. Choose the ‘Ghosts? What ghosts!’ tour, or the Hangman’s Night Tour to hear stories from the gaol’s least popular employee, the executioner. If you are over 16 years of age and accompanied by an adult, then you can choose the Night in the Watch House Tour.
Freaky Fremantle – Fremantle Tram Ghost Tour, WA
You might make the mistake of thinking you’ll kick back and relax on this tram ride. Don’t let the fish and chips fool you – this ghost tour will leave you seriously spooked!
A ‘hop-on, hop-off’ tour with a difference, this guided experience of Fremantle’s most notorious haunts (pun intended) unfolds in a specially renovated dining car. Think Poirot and Miss Marple, with the old-school charm and murder mysteries to match.
Running every Friday night, the ghost tour departs from Town Hall stop at 6.45pm and returns around 10.30pm. On the way, you’ll encounter echoes of old inmates at Fremantle Prison for a torchlit tour with a prison guide. Other stops include Fremantle Roundhouse, Fremantle Arts Centre (an old asylum) and Fremantle Cemetery.
Be sure to pre-book your spot. Fremantle Trams recommends the scares to ghostbusters over 10 years of age.
Horrifying Hobart – Hobart Convict Penitentiary, TAS
Tasmanians are no strangers to spectres. Surrounded by sea and covered with wilderness, the isolated Apple Isle seems the perfect setting for a ghost story.
Walking distance from the Hobart CBD, the ‘Tench’ (as it was called by its inmates) was built in the 1830s and expanded in the late 1800s to include a gaol, a chapel, criminal courts, underground tunnels and gallows.
Visits are by guided tour only. The Hobart Convict Penitentiary Ghost Tour, for example, happens after dark and is suitable for ages 10 and above. If this doesn’t tickle your fancy for phantoms, then you can opt for the daytime Convict multi-sensory film experience. You’ll experience the rich colonial history and convict origins of British settlement in Tasmania.
The Port Arthur historic near Hobart also runs excellent family-friendly day and ghost tours covering the region’s convict history.
Creepy Quarantine – Manly Q Station, Sydney, NSW
Packed with historic buildings, burial grounds and dark alleyways, Manly’s Quarantine Station is a ghostbuster’s dream come true.
The Quarantine or Q Station used to house incoming migrants or local residents who carried disease. 16,000 people passed through the Q Station doors while it was operational, many of whom spent their final days beneath its roof.
The ‘Ghostly Encounters’ tour is for 15 years and older. There is also a kid-friendly ghost hunting group activity, ‘Ghost Trackers,’ which you book for children 8 years and above accompanied by an adult.
Perhaps poltergeists, spine-tingling stories and jump scares are not for your family. Don’t shy away from a daylight visit to this rugged, windswept site and its rich history. There is also a free Quarantine historical exhibition, daily history tours and kayaking, paddle-boarding or snorkelling at Quarantine Beach. 30 hectares in total, Q Station sits on Manly’s picturesque North Head in the middle of Sydney Harbour National Park. There is a lot to see.
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