Going away for Halloween? 10 spooky stays for your weekend road trip

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Halloween is at the end of October (31st), so now is the time – if you get to it fast! – to get booking and organising what you’re doing for it. Staying in, going out, or going away are all valid ideas, but if you’re a little less face make-up and more have someone make the bed, then getting out of town might be the ticket.

We spoke to Toyota to get some of their top ideas for the spookiest weekend of the year…

1.      Monte Cristo Homestead, Junee NSW

Monte Cristo Homestead: haunted hotel that 'smells like death' |  escape.com.au

Dubbed “Australia’s most haunted homestead”, Monte Cristo – only two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Canberra – is said to be haunted by at least ten ghosts, most significantly its original owners Christopher and Elizabeth Crawley. Christopher still haunts the room in which he passed, as kind a spirit as he was in life – Elizabeth, however, is not so nice; if she doesn’t like you, she’ll cause a chill across your skin to scare you off. Don’t believe us? For the thrill seekers and sceptics out there, Monte Cristo offers accommodation for you to sleep – or stare at the ceiling wide awake in terror all night.

2.      George IV Inn, Picton NSW

A room with bunk beds

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If you’re game, how about a night or two at the century-old George IV hotel in Picton? The eerily stripped-back interior couldn’t be more fitting for accommodation located in what is considered Australia’s most haunted town. Picton in NSW – an hour’s drive from Sydney – is host to a variety of ghostly locations. If you dare, venture down to the Redbank Range Railway tunnel, where it is claimed the spirit of Emily Bollard, who was killed by a train in 1916 – stay on the lookout for a pale, faceless figure of a woman. That’s not all – according to residents, the cries of babies can be heard from Picton’s now-defunct Old Maternity Hospital, three ghosts haunt the Wollondilly Shire Hall, and the jukebox has been known to start playing while unplugged at the Imperial Hotel.

3.      Quarantine Station, Manly NSW


Q Station in Manly – only half an hour’s drive from the Sydney CBD – is a stunning venue with accommodation ranging from guest lounges, suites, and cottages, and multiple on-site harborside fine dining restaurants and bars. Yet, the station also has a dark history as a quarantine station for the unwell, first operating over 150 years ago and only closing in 1984, where it has since been the site of almost 600 deaths. As a result, the place is allegedly riddled with ghosts – that’s why Q Station also offers a range of ghost tours around the property, including through the onsite cemetery and morgue.

4.      Caves House Hotel, Blue Mountains NSW

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Described on its website as a “romantic and relaxing place to stay overnight”, you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise if you knew the haunted history of the Jenolan Caves. From disembodied screams and unexplained shoulder taps within the caves to sightings of ghostly arms and the sounds of playing children deep into the night in Caves House, the official website has been sure to document any stories and sightings of spirits and spectres of those brave enough to stay the night in their stunning – but spooky – Blue Mountains lodgings, a three hour’s drive from Sydney.

5.      Castlemaine Gardens Luxury Safari Tents, Castlemaine VIC


Glamp in style at the Castlemaine Gardens Luxury Safari Tents, a semi-open-air accommodation tucked away in beautiful gardens in outer north-west Victoria – only an hour and a half’s drive from Melbourne. With an exposed wood interior and white tulle mosquito nets draped over the four-poster beds, the tents are reminiscent of the gold rush era. To further your historical-themed getaway, you could perhaps consider a trip to Old Castlemaine Gaol – a colonial-era prison famed for housing some of the time’s most violent criminals, many of whom are said to still haunt the hallways. If you’re too scared to go back to your tent, how about sticking it out for one of their infamous 12-hour overnight ghost tours?

6.      Craig’s Royal Hotel, Ballarat VIC


You know it’s worth the drive if the whole city has a dedicated website to ghost tours in the area. That’s the case with Ballarat’s Eerie Tours, which offers a variety of historic ghost tours across both Ballarat, including its Old Cemetery and the Town Hall, and the nearby infamous Aradale Lunatic Asylum in Ararat – known as one of the most hostile haunted locations in Australia. After a night of frights (or two), it’s only fitting to retire in somewhere as grand as the heritage-listed, Victorian-designed Craig’s Royal Hotel – only an hour and a half’s drive from Melbourne.

7.      Spencer Suites, Albany WA


Far down south in WA – five hours away from Perth if you drive – is the former colonial settlement of Albany, a seaside town rich with tales of ghost stories. From the ruins of a lighthouse said to be haunted by its keeper, a former hospital with doors closing on its own, a 150-year-old quarantine station and an old gaol, Albany offers so many spooky experiences you’ll just have to spend a couple nights – how about checking out Spencer Suites, where “heritage meets chic”? The refreshing modernity of the self-contained apartments would be a welcome change from the haunted colonial-era ruins.

8.      Babinda Quarters, Babinda QLD


Most of the locations on this list so far have been colonial man-made institutions housing spirits of those who passed within their four walls, yet, a short drive from the beautiful tropical town of Babinda are the Babinda Boulders – a stunning and tranquil swimming and picnic area with a particularly treacherous stretch of the creek aptly named Devil’s Pool. According to local Indigenous legend, a young widow named Oolana came to the pool to grieve her husband, ultimately drowning herself to overcome her sorrows. It is said she still haunts the pool, with unexplained tides and sudden rushing torrents. Morbidly curious travellers beware: this creek has claimed many lives, something expressed on a sign as you approach it; most of them young men a similar age to the Oolana’s husband. If staying in Babinda to explore the rainforest (both haunted and not), Babinda Quarters, a recently refurbished art deco homestead offers stunning and quirky accommodation with a rainforest twist less than an hour’s drive from Cairns.

9.      Fothergills of Fremantle, WA


Just half an hour’s drive from the heart of Perth CBD, Forthergills of Fremantle is a stunning 19th century heritage listed building, with rooms filled featuring local craftwork and fitted with on-theme colonial furniture – lit quite eerily in their official photos. Fittingly, Fremantle is home to one of the most infamous haunted locations in WA – the Fremantle Arts Centre. The former lunatic asylum is claimed to be one of the most haunted buildings in the state, with reports of faces being seen in windows, strange bouts of cold air, and doors opening and closing on their own.

10.  The Station, Kapunda SA


While the most haunted hotel in Australia might not be available for bookings, we thought it’d be more advisable to stay in a nicer, considerably less-ghostly accommodation such as The Station at Kapunda, a stunning and modern escape in a 162-year-old renovated railway station, only an hour by car from Adelaide. That way you can escape from The North Kapunda Hotel should the spirits cause you too much distress. Kapunda is also known as an extremely haunted town, with tours across the town available for any thrill seekers out there.