12 October 2015
New South Wales, the birthplace of the nation, is filled with unnerving stories of the bygone days and provides plenty of spooky places to explore this Halloween. From the cobbled streets of The Rocks to the Monte Cristo Homestead, the nation’s most haunted house, or the dark silent chambers of the Jenolan Caves – NSW is home to some outright ‘ghostly’ destinations that will have thrill-seekers sleeping with the light on this Halloween. We suggest booking a spine-tingling break or spooky tour this Halloween.
Located in the foothills of the Blue Mountains, the picturesque town of Lithgow transforms into scenes from a spooky film set for Halloween. Put on your costumes and enjoy a range of family-friendly festivities at free community events and ticketed events. This year, join in Australia’s biggest dance-off led by internationally renowned Michael Jackson impersonator Jason Jackson to beat the national record of most costumed people to dance to the song Thriller on Saturday 29 October 2016.
Stay overnight to fully explore the scenic beauty, quality dining options and outdoor activities Lithgow offers. World-class guesthouses and cottages are popular options amongst visitors.
Walking through the cobbled laneways of The Rocks offers a true sense of Sydney’s past with sandstone terraces, convict cottages and some of the country’s oldest pubs lining the streets of this historic precinct. Despite standing in the centre of modern-day Sydney, visitors to the area may feel they have stepped back in time to the 1800s when The Rocks was a raucous settlement of convicts, soldiers, sailors and street gangs.
The Rocks Ghost Tours offer eerie night-time explorations of the area transporting visitors back to this convict colony with local folklore, ghostly tales and haunted sites. Guests will be led through the narrow alleyways and dark courtyards of The Rocks to uncover the area’s fascinating and sinister past. Make a weekend of it and stay at one of the area’s many hotels such as the Russell Hotel, a charming guesthouse steeped in history, also believed to be haunted by the spirit of a sailor.
Monte Cristo Homestead, found in the town of Junee in South West NSW, holds the reputation as Australia’s most haunted house. This beautifully renovated and decorated colonial mansion bears a dark history and is said to be haunted by at least ten ghostly entities who all met untimely ends.
The current owner, Olive Ryan, runs ghost tours through the mansion and generously shares the homestead’s fascinating and frightening past with anyone game enough to listen. Limited accommodation is available at the homestead which offers six comfortable and spacious guest rooms that can be booked via email.
Maitland Gaol in New South Wales’ Hunter region has an intriguing history as a maximum security prison that housed some of Australia’s most hardened and notorious criminals. Operating for 150 years, the gaol was closed in 1998 and has since become one of the State’s premier heritage listed sites. Visitors to Maitland Gaol are offered the opportunity to venture inside the facility which remains genuine to the day the gates were shut.
Guests can choose to take a self-guided audio tour or a themed guided tour by day or night. For groups who want to experience the gaol at night, a group sleepover in the cells can be arranged but be warned, this tour is not for the faint of heart. Those too scared to sleep in one of the cells can find charming bed & breakfasts, budget hostel rooms, self-contained apartments and quality hotels locally in Maitland or in Newcastle, just a 30 minute drive away. Interstate visitors can fly directly into Newcastle Airport.
Sydney’s Q Station is located on the spectacular North Head near Manly, within 30 acres of Sydney Harbour National Park. Despite its tranquil location, Q Station has a dark past entrenched in the isolation, suffering and disease it witnessed during its days as an operational quarantine post. Today, the property offers visitors the combination of fascinating heritage sites and stylish accommodation with some of the city’s most spectacular views.
Visitors can take part in a range of history, education, ghost and paranormal tours with an option of staying overnight in historic cottages with incredible views. According to the site’s resident medium, there are at least fifty spirits wandering the hospital, dining halls, shower block, and morgue, where an ominous mannequin lies under a white sheet to awaken the imagination.
￼The Jenolan Caves are Australia’s most impressive limestone caves and one of the largest cave systems in the world. Situated in the Blue Mountains, 11 show caves are open to the public to explore the dark chambers, underground rivers and awe-inspiring cave formations.
The local Gundungurra people know Jenolan as ‘Binoomea’ which means ‘the dark place’ and a number of ghostly tales have emerged over the years mostly connected to James Wiburd, Jenolan’s third caretaker from 1903. It is believed that Wiburd so loved the place that he chose never to leave, lingering permanently to keep an eye on things. Visitors to the caves can partake in guided tours and adventure caving. Those staying the night can lodge at Caves House to enjoy warm country hospitality, cosy log fires and a lantern-lit ghost tour of the complex cave system.