Everyone loves a good murder mystery, but if you want to take your experience up a few notches, we’ve found Victoria’s most haunted regional town.
Just two hours from Melbourne and a gateway to the breathtaking Grampians region, Ararat is also home to some of the best (read: terrifying) midnight ghost hunts and haunted historical tours.
Luckily for you, you can unwind with a glass of red after these experiences at one of our favourite wineries. Trust us, you’re going to need it.
J Ward Tours
Ararat’s Old Gaol, J Ward was a place for incarceration of the criminally insane. Every guided tour (hosted by a dedicated team of volunteers) is unique because of the sheer wealth of true stories. The Gaol became a maximum security facility for some of the notorious criminals. Daily guided history tours operate from Monday to Sunday.
Eerie Ghost Tours
Take a visit to the Aradale Lunatic Asylum for some serious ghost-busting. All tour numbers are limited and lead by a team of theatrical historians. Ghost tours (two or four hours) and paranormal investigations (three hours or six hours) take you through the enthralling and brutal history of the asylum. Ghost tours travel through eerie cell blocks, the administration building, chapel, kitchen, infirmaries, surgery theatre and morgue, while paranormal investigations give you the opportunity to search for evidence of paranormal activity with the most state-of-the-art equipment. Yes, this is way better than Netflix on your couch!
Lantern Ghost Tours
If your love for Stranger Things extends beyond the run-of-the-mill Sunday binge fest, a 12-hour paranormal investigation tour should scratch that supernormal itch. Held at Ararat’s J Ward and guided by Lantern Ghost Tours, you’ll start with a two-hour ghost tour, followed by a tour conducted with a paranormal investigation team that covers the governor's bathroom, hangman's gallows, kitchen, shower block and grave sites to name a few. You’ll finish the tour with an overnight stay in the original gaol cells.
Where To Wine & Dine
Mt Langi Ghiran Winery
Excelling in cool climate wines, including the Langi Shiraz, the Mt Langi Ghiran Winery’s range is completely vegan-friendly with zero animal ingredients. The team loves visitors—you’re welcome to head to the cellar door to sample the rotating range, then BYO picnic and goodies to the Picnic Idyll area to soak up the views.
Favourites include the Jimmy Victoria Riesling, Montara Grampians Rose and Montara Grampians Shiraz. Get one of each at Montara Wines, because, why not? Coincide your visit with their Wine Down Fridays (on the first Friday of every month) or visit their cellar door for a tasting and a delicious grazing platter, open Friday to Sunday 11am to 4pm.
Mt Langi Ghiran State Park
Not a wine person? Head to the Mt Langi Ghiran State Park and hike to the summit. A 15km loop, we recommend packing a light lunch, water and snacks to enjoy at the peak.
Image credit: Provided.
Editor's note: This article is proudly sponsored by Grampians Tourism and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.