5 “Haunted” Campsites & Hiking Trails in Australia
After a great day hiking in the great outdoors, you’re sitting by the campfire just enjoying the sounds of nature. It’s dark all around you, save for the moonlight, and suddenly, you hear a rustle somewhere around you. ‘Just some animal’, you tell yourself, but you’re shaken. Suddenly, you sense movement behind you; like a quick shadow darting past.
You may want to check your campground or its surroundings, because there may be a chance that you’ve stumbled upon one of those “haunted” hiking trails or campsites. Everyone loves a good horror campfire story, but it isn’t that much fun when stories turn out to be true. Today, we’re looking at some of these haunted campsites and hiking trails for those of you that are feeling brave enough to face some supernatural adventure.
Before we start, remember to check out our store for the best camping and hiking gear and accessories for your next trip! Also, for some non-haunted campsites and hiking trails, check out our favorite spots in South Australia.
1. Slaughter Falls, Queensland
Yes, the name Slaughter Falls does have a hint of menace in it, for good reason. Slaughter Falls is a hiking trail within Queensland’s Mount Coot-tha Forest. Slaughter Falls was named after JC Slaughter, but it is famous for its dark past with a reputation for being a place of murder, suicides and lingering spirits.
Many peculiar and terrifying events have happened at Slaughter Falls, bringing a question of why so many events have been drawn to this one spot.
The first event of interest took place on Christmas day, 1925, where a woman was shot by a man hiding in the bushes along the trail. When caught and questioned, the man did not have any reasons for doing so. He had no relation to the woman, and when questioned as to why he had committed this crime, the man stated that he did not even know and just felt something come over him.
In 1926, Slaughter Falls was the site of a double suicide. Two men entered the falls together to take their own lives, with the reasons why still a mystery to this day.
In the following year, 1927, a murder-suicide was documented at the falls. This saw a man take his girlfriend out for a walk, only to shoot her in the forehead. He then took poison, but survived the suicide attempt. When he was questioned about this event, he stated that he couldn’t remember anything about what had happened and just felt as though some kind of dark cloud had taken over him.
There are also speculations that Satanic rituals were performed in the area, one reason why Slaughter Falls draws in so much negativity around it. Other rumors state that a young, teenage girl was raped and then murdered in the area. It has been said that her spirit continues to haunt the place to this day, still searching for help.
Still, if you’re interested to visit Slaughter Falls despite its dark past, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that Slaughter Falls is a fantastic place to hike. There is a beautiful bushy gorge walk with grassy creek banks for picnics and barbecues, an open air bush chapel and a resident flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos.
The area also has plenty of parking spaces along the foot of the trails for convenience, and you can follow a series of paths which will take you across the Mount Coot-tha region. Despite the name, you shouldn’t be expecting to see the falls, unless there has been rain.
One great hike would be the Summit Walk, a steep-2 kilometer hike to the top of Mt-Coot-tha, giving you one of Brisbane’s most panoramic hilltop views. It takes around 1-1.5 hours, perfect for a day trip.
2. Quarantine Station, Sydney
The Quarantine Station is located at the North Head of Sydney, dating back to the 1800s. As its name suggests, it was built as a quarantine centre to protect the residents of Australia by containing the spread of diseases from immigrants coming into the country.
For many, the Q Station was a place where their final moments were lived out in pain. For most of the people stuck inside the Quarantine Station, most of their final moments were lived out in pain and agony, with a wide variety of diseases, including the Bubonic Plague, Smallpox, Cholera, Tuberculosis, Typhoid Fever and Spanish Influenza said to have been thriving among the population of the station.
In all its years of operation, as many as 600 people have died, although the total death toll may be greater as earlier deaths were not properly documented. The spirits of those who died here are said to linger in what many describe as one of the most-haunted spots in Australia.
Image from: NSW National Parks
However, because the entire area was used as a quarantine zone, a diverse array of flora and fauna has grown and thrived in the area. For those of you who want to ramp up the adventure, you can take a hike through the vast undergrowth which leads you to a great beach overlooking the North Head. Still, it’s better to watch out for spirits around the area.
3. Hanging Rock, Victoria
The popular Hanging Rock, located just less than an hour away from Melbourne’s CBD, is one of those spots where you wouldn’t expect to be haunted. Located less than an hour from Melbourne is the famed Hanging Rock. The eroded remains of an extinct volcano, It was formerly an extinct volcano, eroded over time, and is best known as the setting for the novel and subsequent movie and TV series, 'Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay. It is reported that she was inspired by the disappearances of local women in the 1800s.
The former volcano is very important both culturally and spiritually to the area's indigenous peoples; namely the Dja Dja Wurrung, Woi Wurrung and Taungurung. It is believed that they used Hanging Rock as a site for their sacred ceremonies and initiations. However, even they avoided heading up to the rock’s summit due to the belief that the summit was inhabited by evil spirits.
Still, even though there have been numerous stories about the hauntedness of the place, Hanging Rock remains a popular area for hiking and picnics. You can hike along the trails and parks that go through the forest reserve to observe local flora and fauna, or even go fishing along the dam. If you’re feeling brave, you can even plan a night out through Hanging Rock’s caverns, where you’re likely to stumble across Aussie wildlife, like kangaroos, possums and wallabies.
There is a caveat though; as visitors have claimed that their electronic devices have malfunctioned the nearer they are to Hanging Rock, further adding fuel to the fire of mystery surrounding the area.
4. Newnes Railroad Tunnel, New South Wales
While this may not constitute a haunted hike like the rest of our entries, this hiking spot can still bring a chill to the hearts of some people. The Newnes Railroad Tunnel is a 400m hike through the sandstone mountains in NSW’s Wollemi National Park. It was closed in 1932, but as after the railroad tracks were removed, bioluminescent larvae, or glow worms, moved in and flourished.
If you’re not too fond of insects, you really should just skip to the next entry.
Known as the Newnes railroad tunnel, it runs for some 400 metres through the sandstone mountains of the state’s Wollemi National Park. Built in 1907 to transport shale oil from the mining township of Newnes, the railway line was eventually closed in 1932. And as the rail tracks were pulled out of the tunnel, bioluminescent larvae called Arachnocampa richardsae moved in.
The Glow Worm Tunnel walking track is the fastest and easiest way to experience the wonder of this historic tunnel, lit by thousands of glow worms. Remember to bring a torchlight because it gets very dark in the tunnel when the worms are spitting out their mucus.
5. Ghost Hole Mine, Queensland
Yet another entry around the area of Mount Coot-Tha near Brisbane. The Ghost Hole Mine was closed in 1959 after its rent was not paid but that’s not the scariest thing about it. The entire area of Mount Coot-Tha has a dark history, one filled with murder, attacks and even suicide.
Many people have claimed to have had paranormal experiences in the vicinity of the Ghost Hole Mine. These range from sighting figures, apparitions, hearing unexplainable sounds and even capturing voice anomalies on recordings. That’s not all, paranormal hunters have said that there could be up to 3 ladies and 2 men spirits haunting the mine. It does not say if they are friendly to visitors.
Ghost Hole Mine can be publicly accessed and is a hiking trail on its own. There are sufficient parking spots available and it isn’t too tedious of a hike either. You can follow the winding trails leading through a dense, dry vegetation and overgrowth with abundant Aussie flora and fauna. However, you’ll probably also feel a thick unease at the creepy atmosphere as you arrive at the entrance of the mine. Though, we’d really just stick to tried and true hiking trails like our favorite spots in Queensland.
It really does say much about a person who actively goes to haunted hiking trails or campsites to get spooked. Believe us when we say that it really isn’t an experience for everyone. Still, if you’re feeling brave enough to face some supernatural adventures, the above few spots may just scratch that itch.
What did you think about our article? Have you ever gone haunted camping before? Do you have any supernatural experiences to share? Leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you. Itching to go on a camping trip? Check out our comprehensive guide to choosing a backpack or our guide to start ultralight backpacking. You can also check out our list of essential camping gear for 2020 to help you better plan out your next camping trip or check out our store for more camping gear!