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Scary Oz

Thursday, April 8, 2010
Australia has its share of freaky places and experiences on offer. From haunted houses and gaols to terrifying river cruises, we take a look at some fave fright fests.

Monte Cristo

The beautiful home built in 1884 in Junee is the south-west of New South Wales has a history or murder, horror and terror — and is open for tours. It's said that in one room some people get severe headaches and become violently ill. Some people say they have seen a woman in black, kneeling and praying.

In 1963 the owners had been in their home for just three days when, from the bottom of their driveway one foggy evening, they saw light streaming from every door and window. Electricity had not yet been connected and their kerosene lamps were not lit. There were no window panes due to earlier vandalism, so their car headlights could not have caused the light. As they cautiously drove towards their home, the lights abruptly disappeared.

It happened again to their son as he returned home alone, some 27 years later, and there were many puzzling events in between — all with no explanation or reason. Some people have "a feeling" about the house and some have said they have heard voices.

Adelaide Gaol

Almost every old gaol in Australia runs night tours, and all are weird and spooky in their own way. Adelaide Gaol is no different.

You'd never imagine the genteel city of Adelaide had a spooky side, but venture five minutes from the CBD and get ready for a spine-tingling experience in the City of Churches: the Adelaide Gaol.

The old building, one of South Australia's premier heritage sites, is open to visitors who these days have the freedom to leave when they wish, unlike the 300,000 prisoners incarcerated there over a period of 147 years. It is fascinating to see 19th century-architecture, original cellblocks, the hanging tower, gallows, yards and prisoner graves.

During a torchlight tour, you will hear about, and maybe even see or feel, the ghost of the gaol's first governor, William Baker Ashton. People say they hear very heavy footsteps and the sound of furniture being moved.

Jumping Crocodile Cruise

The Northern Territory is not for the faint-hearted. It's a place where you could die of thirst in the blazing sun, suffer a fatal snakebite or be eaten alive by a creature that has outlived the dinosaurs: the saltwater crocodile.

There are more than 80,000 salties living in the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory, and are rarely seen as they lurk in the muddy waters. The scary beasts measure up to 6m long, and for a real adrenaline burst, you can actually feed them.

Jumping Crocodile Cruises will take you into the midst of a feeding frenzy, dangling raw water-buffalo meat to appease the snapping crocodiles.

The crafty crocs have come to know the feeding boats, and year round, they leave their hiding places to be fed. To them it's like the sound of the ice-cream van in the neighbourhood. Certainly saves them hunting for their own dinner.

If the crocs aren't quite big enough for you, you can get into the water with big, bad Burt at Darwin's Crocosaurus Cove!

Armoured Vehicle Adventures

Twenty-five kilometres out of Goulburn in south-west New South Wales are 121 hectares just perfect for anyone who ever wanted to drive a tank. There's also a tank available in Canberra if that's easier for you.

The Goulburn vehicles are an FV603 Saracen Armoured Personnel Carrier and an FV432 Armoured Personnel Carrier. Both seat nine to 10 people. The FV603 travels at 80km/h through rough terrain and can be driven by anyone whose feet reach the pedals.

Nullarbor Links Golf Course

Not weird, but certainly different, Nullarbor Links Golf Course is an 18-hole par 72 course spanning 1365km along the Eyre Highway from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to Ceduna in South Australia. It's the world longest course.

There's a hole in each participating town or roadhouse along the way, each including a green and tee and a rugged outback-style natural terrain fairway. It gives a quintessential Australian experience for travellers as they head across the Nullarbor.

The Nullarbor Links was developed to enhance tourism along the highway, providing travellers with a most unusual added attraction.

Location

Weird and different places and things across Australia.

Cost

Monte Cristo tours are $9.50 for adults and $5 for children.

Adelaide Gaol night tours are $22 per person.

Jumping Crocodile Cruises cost $35 for adults and $20 for children.

Armoured Vehicle Adventures start at $449 per person for half an hour.

Nullarbor Links Golf Course costs $50 per person for a round. Golf clubs are for hire at each hole for $5.

Prices correct at April 8, 2010.

For further information

Monte Cristo Homestead
Homestead Lane
Junee 2663
Ph: (02) 6924 1637
www.montecristo.com
montecristohomestead@bigpond.com

Adelaide Gaol
18 Gaol Road
Thebarton 5031
Ph: (08) 8231 4062
Fax: (08) 8231 8975
www.adelaidegaol.sa.gov.au

Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise
Lot 1615
Arnhem Highway
Darwin 0800
Ph: (08) 8978 9077
www.jumpingcrocodile.com.au
spectacular@jumpingcrocodile.com.au

Crocosaurus Cove
Mitchell and Peel streets
Darwin 0800
Ph: (08) 8981 7522
Fax: (08) 8941 5522
www.crocosauruscove.com
info@croccove.com

Armoured Vehicle Adventures
94 Crest Road
Queanbeyan 2620
Fax: (02) 6297 7501
www.lead.net.au
estevenson@bigpond.com

Nullarbor Links Golf Course
www.nullarborlinks.com

To find out more about the hot deals mentioned on the show, check out Holidays for Sale.

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