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Are you a ghost-hunter? Is the supernatural your thing? Do you love scaring yourself silly exploring a haunted house? Here are the attractions, places, tours and things to do in spooky South Australia.


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Spooky South Australia

It’s not for nothing that Adelaide is sometimes called the murder capital of Australia. It’s not that we have any more murders here than anywhere else in Australia (so not a whole lot in the scheme of things!) but that it’s been the location of some of the gorier, high profile cases. For example, you may have heard of the Snowtown murders? This means that surely there are a few ghosts and ghouls hanging around. Here are a few of the locations around South Australia that are supposed to be haunted.

(I have to admit, I’m a sceptic, and even when I’ve been to places that others claim give them the creeps I don’t feel anything at all)

 

Old Adelaide Gaol

Just outside the Adelaide City centre is the Old Adelaide Gaol. This is probably one of the easiest of the spooky sites to visit while you are visiting Adelaide. There are numerous reports of hauntings, strange noises and weird goings on, and there are any number of possible ghosts.

The Old Adelaide Gaol started construction just four years after South Australia was settled. (So much for the free settlement not having convicts 😂). The first hanging occurred that year, even though the whole gaol was still under construction. The gaol was used until 1988, when it was officially closed and is now a tourist attraction. There were 45 hangings carried out at the gaol.

Old Adelaide Gaol is open to visitors seven days a week from 10am to 4pm for self-guided tours. If you would like to participate in an organised tour, book a Ghost Tour and Paranormal Investigation here

 

Torrens Island Quarantine Station

The Torrens Island Quarantine Station was built in the mid 1800’s to stop diseases such as Cholera and Smallpox coming into Adelaide. It was where immigrants were “processed”, spending 14 days on on the island before being allowed to come into Adelaide and settle. (Sounds very familiar to us today!) The site is in quite good condition, as when it was closed down in the 1970s, it was left exactly how it was.

When people died in quarantine, they were buried in the century right there on Torrens Island. There are fifteen known burials, but who really knows how many spirits might called the island home.

There are tours of the quarantine station run by the South Australian Maritime Museum in the cooer months of the year. They have just ended for 2021, but I recommend keeping an eye on their Facebook page for the 2022 dates.

 

Adelaide Arcade

Adelaide Arcade regularly pops up on these lists of haunted places in South Australia. Located in Rundle Mall, it was built in 1885  and is today the oldest shopping arcade in Australia.

This beautiful arcade is home to over 100 little shops and is a great place to enjoy a cup of tea or shop for that boutique item. It is also home to at least three known ghosts. Francis Cluney was the caretaker of the arcade, and was said to have been pushed into the boiler by local ruffians who he had earlier removed from the arcade. Today his ghost is most often heard in the ceiling areas, and it was him that was supposedly filmed on security camera footage in 2008. A second ghost is Florence Horton, who was shot in the back by her husband, and now likes to hang out in Shop 50 of the arcade, which today is Koko Black.

You can of course just walk in and visit Adelaide Arcade anytime it is open and do the self-guided history tour, but if you want to find out more about the arcade and the resident ghosts, you can also book a ghost tour.

 

Old Treasury and Tunnels

Under the streets of Adelaide are a whole pile of tunnels. There has also been speculation over the years that there is an abandoned subway station and wartime bunkers. Unfortunately these don’t seem to exist, perhaps they never did, or perhaps they have since been destroyed as the city has been rebuilt.

To see some of the known tunnels and underground spaces, do a tour of the Old Treasury and Tunnels where you will learn the stories and legends of these spaces. Tours are run each Sunday and can be booked here.

 

Z Ward, Glenside Mental Asylum

Z Ward is the most notorious of institutions in South Australia. It was built in 1885, and until 1975 was the home of the criminally insane. There Were a number of murders within its walls, with one story telling of a warden who was beheaded with a shovel. Another is a real mystery, with the death of inmate Richard Blight in 1933 that remains unsolved to this day.

The curious can tour Z Ward to learn about  the history of the asylum, the building, and perhaps spot a ghost or two. Visit during the day to learn about the architecture and history, or if you are really brave, visit at night to do a ghost tour. Tours can be booked through the National Trust here.

 

Port Adelaide

If there was an award for the most haunted suburb in Adelaide, surely Port Adelaide would be a frontrunner!  Port cities are often well known for their shady characters and abundance of crime, booze, and dubious goings-on. Port Adelaide was no different. There are dozens of buildings in Port Adelaide that are said to be haunted, from many of the local hotels to the causality hospital, even the town hall. The Port Adelaide Visitor Centre (also haunted!) has even thoughtfully put together a self-guided tour to follow to learn about the history of the area and the stories of the ghosts who live nearby. You can pick up a map from the visitor centre, or download it here before you arrive.

If you want to do an organised ghost tour in Port Adelaide there are a couple of options. This one is run on most weekends and takes you around the streets to some of the most haunted locations, and this one takes you ghost hunting at the National Railway Museum.

 

Ghost Tours

I’ve mentioned a few of the ghost tours that run in Adelaide already, but there are even more available. Here is a really quick list of the companies providing the tours and where they go.

Adelaide Haunted Horizons

These folks are probably the most well renowned of the ghost tour companies. The have been hunting for ghosts for over 30 years. Not only do they do regular ghost tours, but also many one-off investigations. The also run dark history tours for those into the macabre but ghosts not so much!

Ghost Tours & Ghost Hunts

  • Adelaide Zoo
  • Z Ward
  • Old Tailem Town
  • National Railway Museum
  • Adelaide Arcade (no ghost hunt)
  • Old Adelaide Gaol

Dark History Tours

To read more or book the tours, visit their website here.

Ghost Crime Tours

These guys are creepy! The website even has a live stream set up from the North Kapunda Hotel, arguably the most haunted location in Australia. They run a handful of different tours, including a tour for children, which could be a lot of fun during the school holidays. There tours are:

  • Port Adelaide
  • North Kapunda Hotel
  • Old Adelaide Gaol
  • Old Adelaide Gaol for children
  • River Torrens Dark History

To read more or book the tours, visit their website here.

Lantern Ghost Tours

Lantern are new to Adelaide, but they are one of the biggest ghost tours companies in Australia and they offer tours in many cities across the country. In Adelaide they offer two different Old Adelaide Gaol experiences – a ghost tour & investigation, and a 3-hour paranormal lock down.

To read more of book the tours, visit their website here.

 

South Australian Ghost Towns

There are many small ghost towns located throughout South Australia. In particular I think of those towns that used to service the railway lines that criss-crossed the state. The Old Ghan line is a good example with towns like Bruce & Hammond almost relegated to ghost town statue. Around the mid-north areas these small settlements are easy to come across.

There are other towns too, such as Kanyaka, located between Quorn and Hawker and Farina, further north toward Marree. The latter is undergoing a restoration of sorts, and during a few weeks each winter the Farina bakery again opens, selling, amongst other things, an awesome sourdough loaf. In the same area is Beltana, another railway town.

On the foot of Yorke Peninsula is Inneston, that housed the workforce for a nearby gypsum mine and in the South East you can find Jessie, near Naracoorte. Over on the Nullarbor, don’t blink or you will missed the tiny settlement of Cook, a recent ghost town after the railway privatised in 1997. You can even find the ghost town of Hoffnungsthal in the Barossa Valley.

 

More Haunted Places

I could go on all day about haunted places in South Australia, here are a few more that I have come across while researching. visit them if you dare!

  • Kapunda Cemetery
  • The Migration Museum (formally the Destitute Asylum)
  • Martindale Hall
  • Golden Fleece Hotel Gawler
  • West Terrace Cemetery (night tours are available here)
  • Dotti store in Rundle Mall
  • Brompton IGA (apparently the ghost doesn’t like Rollups!)
  • Overland Corner Hotel
  • Redruth Gaol & Reformatory, Burra
  • Port Wakefield (ghost often reported “hitchhiking” on the highway)
  • Seppeltsfield Winery
  • Waterfall Gully
  • Ghost Mushroom Lane

 

 

Halloween Events

For some more spooky fun, how about one of these Halloween events?

 

 

South Australian Haunted Hotels to Sleep In

If you are game enough to try them out, these haunted hotels are open for accommodation

The Grand Hotel Millicent – Home to around ten different ghosts, including a little boy who plays near the pool table, and an elderly gentleman who wanders up the stairs.

Jens Town Hall Hotel, Mount Gambier – There have been reports of a four year old girl haunting the ground floor of this hotel. It is thought she is waiting for her mother to return for her.

Cornucopia Hotel, Wallaroo – Choose room 13 if you want a haunted stay, as this seems to be where the action is. One of the common visitors is a Swedish sailor who thinks the hotel is his home, even though he died elsewhere.

Mount Torrens Hotel – the ghosts here are friendly. Staff enjoy having George and Mary around to watch over them.

Mount Lofty House – More than one ghost is known to inhabit this building, particularly the old section where George the Carpenter likes to hang out. His curiosity often gets the better of him and he can’t help but wake guests just for fun.

Old Mount Gambier Gaol – While there have been some mysterious happenings, it’s all friendly here and the ghosts are not known to be any particular person. I have stayed here, and didn’t notice anything strange, but others have noticed strange sounds and their belongings have moved slightly.

Looking for less spooky things to do in Adelaide? Here are some ideas
Adelaide 3 Day Itinerary
100 Adelaide Experiences
Best Adelaide Museums

Don’t forget to come on over and join the Facebook group for more South Australian inspiration and to get all your questions answered. Click here to join now.


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