Monday, February 23, 2015

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Australia with Cassandra Page

Paranormal Road Trip: Destination Australia with Cassandra Page

Come on boys and ghouls!  It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip.

This week's stop is Australia, the setting of Isla's Oath and our special guide is Cassandra Page.  Cassandra is the author of the Isla's Inheritance young adult urban fantasy series.

Cassandra's Top 5 Spooky Places in Australia

The title is a bit misleading, because Australia is a huge country and I haven’t been to all the spookiest places and done a creep-factor comparison (presumably measured based on the number of goosebumps per square inch!). Still, these places come up again and again in conversations about spooky places to visit.

Monte Cristo Homestead, New South Wales

The Monte Cristo Homestead, a beautiful two-storey house ringed with balconies and set on gorgeous grounds, was built in the late 1800s. It’s located in the New South Wales town of Junee, whose name is Aboriginal for “speak to me”. The homestead claims to be Australia’s most haunted house, and its hauntings include strange lights and presences, and visions of the reclusive Mrs Crawley, the wife of the man that built the house, who died there when she was 92.

Port Arthur, Tasmania

Port Arthur was Australia’s allegedly “inescapable” prison back in our convict days, and was the place where all the worst British criminals were sent. Located on the Tasman Peninsula, these days it’s an open-air museum, but at the time the waters around it were rumoured to be shark-infested, and guards protected the isthmus accompanied by half-starved dogs. Much more recently, in 1996, Port Arthur was the site of Australia’s last killing spree, in which 35 people were killed and 23 wounded.

Beechworth Asylum, Victoria

Originally known as the Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum, this is a decommissioned hospital that closed 20 years ago, after being in operation since 1867. Regardless of whether you believe in ghosts, any abandoned hospital is going to be creepy—with the peeling paint on the walls, bars on the windows and the strange marks on the floor—but an abandoned psychiatric hospital from the dark old days of isolation boxes and restraining chairs is far, far worse. Apparently over 3000 people died at the asylum over the course of its life.

Old Melbourne Goal, Victoria

The Old Melbourne Gaol—well, the third gaol—is a three-storey bluestone building that operated from 1842 to 1939. It was also used during World War II to house AWOL prisoners. Many of Australia’s most notorious criminals were housed there, and 133 were hanged, including a serial killer, an innocent man who strangled for 40 minutes before finally dying, and our most famous bushranger, Ned Kelly. Kelly’s skull was stolen in 1978, but his death mask and those of many others are still on display.

Lake George, New South Wales

This one is close to my own heart. Lake George is located on the highway just outside Canberra, where I live. It is long, almost completely flat, and generally extremely shallow (averaging around a metre, but up to 4.5 metres deep when its full)—this shallowness means that during a strong wind the surface gets very choppy and dangerous. The lake is also notorious for its fluctuating water levels.

More often than not these days it’s shallow or bone dry, so it’s hard to believe that in 1956 five cadets from the local military academy drowned there. Its Aboriginal name, Werriwa, means “bad water”.

Sure, you could say that this was due to how salty the water is, when there is any at all—it’s almost as saline as seawater. But every time I drive past this lake, it creeps me out. And others claim to have seem ghosts out there. It’s also a popular site of UFO sightings

Thank you Cassandra for giving us such a haunting tour of Australia!  

To learn more about Cassandra Page and her books, please visit her website.  You can add her Isla's Inheritance series here on Goodreads.

isla's oath by cassandra page

Have you visited Australia?  Ever experience anything of the supernatural kind in Australia?

What did you think of Cassandra's picks for spooky places?

Last week on Paranormal Road Trip we visited Rapid City with Elizabeth Bear.  Next week we'll be traveling to New York City with Susan Wright.

Join us for another spine-tingling Paranormal Road Trip...
if you dare!


  1. The prison at Port Arthur does indeed sound super creepy, and nothing beats a good ol' Lunatic Asylum. LMAO 3,000 deaths, eh? Whoa!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    1. That is one serious death toll! Definitely ups the creep factor. I think I might avoid that paranormal destination. ;)

  2. Wow I had no idea there were so many spooky places in Australia! I've never been to Australia, but if I do go, I might have to check some of these out!

    1. That's one of the reasons I love this blog feature! Each week on Paranormal Road Trip, I learn about spooky places to add to my travel bucket list. :)

  3. Thanks for having me! (I spotted a typo - it was Ned Kelly's skull. I'm not sure how one would steal a skill, or what his skill might have been. Clearly making homemade armour wasn't it!) :D

    1. My pleasure! I've also edited "skill" to "skull" for you. ;)

  4. This was a great post to read and very informative interested in the ufo sightings.