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The stuff of nightmares: Beat’s Guide to Australia’s most haunted travel destinations

Spooky stuff. 

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Ever felt a breath of wind in your home when all windows are shut? That’s not mother nature talking, you’ve got a spirit in the walls. Maybe a tragedy occurred in generations past or maybe someone’s simply playing a trick on you. Have you checked the date?

Like watching videos of crawling spiders, we don’t enjoy seeking out this stuff. But not to worry, if you’re a thrill-seeker in pursuit of your next buzz, we’ve done the leg work for you, here’s our list of Australia’s most haunted travel destinations.

Port Arthur

Covering this in our guide to exploring Tasmania, Port Arthur is certainly a must-see for those who don’t mind a few shivers up their spine. It’s the site of Australia’s most abhorrent shooting so the goosebumps flow for days inside this prison site. Prior to Martin Bryant’s devilish act, it was home to hundreds of convicts as Australia began its European evolution. A place plagued with pain and suffering makes an ideal setting for a ghost tour. So get involved, open everyday bar December 25.

Southern Tasmania, a 90-minute drive from Hobart.   

Picton

This quiet little country town has forged itself quite a reputation. No, it’s not home to a big pineapple or kangaroo or some other Australian paraphernalia, it doesn’t house the best bakery or pie, but rather its Australia’s most haunted town. This is a result of a creepy tunnel. Picton’s disused Redback Range Tunnel extends 180 metres and was a home for numbers of suicides when it was used as a railway between 1867-1919. The main cause of death? I’ll leave that to you.

A 80km trip south-west of Sydney.  

Beechworth Asylum

Asylums are places for the insane and when you get hundreds of wicked brains into one building, lunacy gets into the walls and stays. Only an exorcist can free these buildings of their curse and the Beechworth Asylum is up there with the worst in the world. The centre closed in 1995, yet the damage had already been done -- the trapped souls of over 3,000 deceased patients throughout its 128-year history are said to remain locked away. Spooky stuff. There’s a ghost tour here too, so check it out.

In Beechworth, north-east Victoria.

Q Station

Manly’s Quarantine Station, aka Q Station, was built during the 1830s to isolate diseased colonists from the public. Stains of pain and suffering still decorate the walls, with at least 50 ghosts said to reside at the property. That’s 50 apparitions from 600 deaths that occurred at the station before its 1984 closure. No thanks.

Take a ferry, this bad boy’s just a small trip from Sydney’s CBD.     

Fremantle Arts Centre

An arts centre doesn’t sound spooky to the unlearned eye, but before it became one of Western Australia’s pre-eminent artistic chateaus, the place was an asylum. There’s been some wild accusations of paranormality in this place, but its cool to believe that visitors have inexplicably been locked in old jail cells, or that security guards have been pushed down stairwells by invisible hands, or even that investigators have smelt burning flesh in an area previously used for electric shock treatment.

Fremantle is just a half hour drive south of Perth.

St. John’s Cemetery

It wouldn’t be a list of Australia’s most haunting travel destinations without a cemetery amongst its battalion. Get out of here old lady! Yes, that’s right, a bitter unwed mother is still looking for her baby that was forcibly taken from her without consent. She just doesn’t leave, making for a ghosthunter’s dream.

In the South Australian town of Kapunda, just north of the Barossa Valley.

Princess Theatre

Yes, one of Melbourne’s most prestigious theatres is also its most haunted. The Princess Theatre is home to the spirit of actor, Frederick Federici, who died of a heart attack on stage whilst performing at the theatre in 1888. Ironically, Federici was descending down a trapdoor in the middle of the stage when the wicked twist of fate overcame him. Check out a show or just walk around, you might spot Federici lounging around.

On Spring Street in Melbourne’s CBD.

Monte Cristo Homestead

The cunning nature of the Monte Cristo Homestead is that it doesn’t look haunted from the front. It’s not the creepy estate amongst the groves in Poltergeist, it’s not the desolate neighbourhood home from IT, it’s just a regular ranch surrounded by clean-cut grass and inviting décor. Yet, grave things went down at this modest farmhouse -- a boy was burned in the stables, while a girl was “pushed” out of a maid’s arms and down the stairs. Most recently, a gardener was shot by a man obsessed with the movie Psycho in 1961. Spirits live here and you can check them out with their regular ghost tours.

Monte Cristo is in Junee, amidst New South Wales’ Riverina region.

Devil’s Pool

Since 1959, 17 people have died at Devil’s Pool. It’s alleged that there’s an Aboriginal legend to blame but putting it straight, this place is a slippery dip to hell. It’s so god damn dangerous and many of the deaths can be attributed to an individual’s bravado getting the better of them. Slide on down at your peril, the rock pool of death awaits.

This natural pool is next to Babinda in North Queensland.     

Feeling a little on edge? Check out our guide to travelling Tasmania to settle the heart rate.