Each and every year, Halloween in Australia and New Zealand is becoming a big holiday celebration and adults are starting to join in on the fun too. No longer is it simply a chance for kids to dress up and run riot annoying the neighbours for candy; adults too are searching for experiences with a scare factor.
From ghost tours of world heritage sites, old gaols and theme park nights to mind-blowing skydives and terrifying shark dives … the options are endless. If you love a thrill or simply a laugh at someone else’s experience then here are eight scary things to do in Australia and New Zealand this Halloween.
There is something about Halloween and ghostly encounters that go hand in hand but did you know that there are many paranormal tours around the country that run all year round?
One of the most historically significant convict sites in Australia is Port Arthur near Hobart. Tasmania’s notorious convicts faced the harshest of punishments here and you can learn more about the old settlement and prison on a guided tour by day. Stop by at night, though, and the atmosphere of the site is entirely different. Join a lantern-lit tour of the world heritage listed site and unearth centuries of documented paranormal activity at the haunted location. A more in-depth paranormal investigation is also available for those who want a glimpse into the supernatural world with ghost hunting equipment given to the brave participants.
Curious souls can visit other haunted sites around Australia too. The Boggo Road Gaol in Brisbane, the Gold Coast Cemetery and the Q Station in Sydney are all open to the public, each with their own tales of tragedy and hauntings.
OLD MELBOURNE GAOL
There is something about dark tourist attractions that somehow attract restless spirits and in turn those curious in paranormal activity. If only the walls of these historical sites could talk… the tales they would tell. Among all of the infamous gaols in Australia is the Old Melbourne Gaol located in the heart of the central business district.
One of the most famous inmates of the gaol was bushranger, Ned Kelly who was arrested and eventually died here in the gallows. Visit the eerily cold cells, city watch house and spine-tingling gallows on a self-guided tour of the gaol. On display here are over 300 artefacts including handcuffs, leg-irons, contraband weapons and Ned Kelly’s death mask, revolver and noose.
It doesn’t need to be Halloween for a skydive to be one of the most terrifying experiences of your life. The thought of stepping outside of an aeroplane with complete trust in a stranger attached to you may be a psychological barrier too much for most, while others absolutely thrive on the thrill of pushing themselves to the limit for an unbeatable adrenaline rush.
For those who are feeling squeamish, the good news is that Australia and New Zealand has some of the world’s most picturesque landscapes in the world so you’ll have a fantastic view on the roughly 5 minute flight back down to earth. Once you’ve made up your mind to book in a skydive, the hardest decision will be to decide where on earth you want to do it. Choose from a plethora of locations across Australia and New Zealand including Queenstown and Taupo, the Great Barrier Reef, The Whitsundays, Uluru, Byron Bay and major Australian capital cities.
Curious animal lovers will be attracted to this scary experience the most. Sharks are known and feared as the predators of our oceans and for good reason. If you’ve always wanted to come face to face with these marine creatures than a shark dive may be the experience for you.
There are two ways that you can take part in a shark dive: in an aquarium and in an ocean cage dive. SEA LIFE Sydney and SEA LIFE Melbourne currently offer a 30 minute shark dive experience with Grey Nurse Sharks in their oceanarium while Kelly Tarltons SEA LIFE Aquarium in Auckland take divers underwater in a shark cage with a clear Perspex bottom so sharks can literally swim underneath you.
Nothing could beat the ultimate shark dive experience in Port Lincoln, South Australia. The caged shark dive is one of the most spectacular animal experiences in the world involving a sea journey to Neptune Island where you’ll wait for the sharks to circle (literally). Choose from a cage dive or stay dry in the aqua submarine and watch from a distance.
Queenstown gets a shout out all on its own as the undisputed adventure capital of the world. The New Zealand city is blessed not only with breathtaking alpine scenery but also boasts a dozen scary experiences to get the heart skipping a beat. Marvel at the natural scenery on a skydive, heli-ski flight, bungy jump, canyon swing or the crazy Nevis catapult experience. For a slightly tamer scare factor, adventurers can join a Queenstown Shotover jet boat ride, white water rafting tour or Ziptrek Eco Tour tour instead. The thrills are endless in Queenstown.
FORWARD RUN ABSEIL
Opinions are divided on this one, however, a quick survey around the office and the general consensus is that this experience is insanely scary. After harnessing up, you’ll be facing gravity head on as you step over the ledge and run (read: leap) down the side of a 7 storey building. It takes a special kind of iron stomach to give this one a go and kudos to you if you are brave enough.
DRACULA’S CABARET DINNER AND SHOW
Dance with the kings and queens of the vampire underworld at Dracula’s on the Gold Coast. Entertaining audiences for over 10 years, the vaudeville cabaret show is filled with side-splitting politically incorrect comedy, sexy dancers and acrobatic acts plus a satisfying 3-course meal and a ghost train ride that you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled on.
FEAR FACTORY NEW ZEALAND
By far the best haunted house we’ve come across is the Fear Factory in New Zealand which first opened in Queenstown and is currently being replicated in Wellington. Incredible bravery is needed to walk the hallways of the Old Lockhart Hotel shrouded in complete darkness. In fact, over 20,000 guests have shouted the words ‘Chicken’ for a quick exit out because they have simply been too scared to finish the walkthrough experience. The Fear Factory is a permanent attraction open all year round and not just for Halloween, but… if you do visit at Halloween, you can expect an extra spooky experience.
For more information on other ways to scare yourself and others be sure to head to our main experiences page or leave us comment below if you have been on any of the activities mentioned in this article.