Australian ghost towns you can visit: Top 10 abandoned places

From doomed settlements and bypassed hubs to mining boom towns that went bust, Australia is littered with ghost towns. Here's 10 that are frozen in time.

1. Silverton NSW

Silverton, New South Wales. str9traveller10-ghostownsstr9traveller10-ghostowns

Photo: Alamy

Even if you've never made it to this tiny settlement near Broken Hill you've probably seen it: the outback pub, dusty streets and ruined gaol have starred in more films and TV commercials than just about any other place in Australia. All this fame has brought it back to life, and many of the once-abandoned mining cottages are now home to art galleries and even a Mad Max Museum.

2. Milparinka NSW

ABYP1X Historic Milparinka Court House Outback New South Wales Australia str9traveller10-ghostowns

Photo: Alamy

Milparinka's imposing sandstone courthouse was designed by the architect of the Sydney GPO and has, along with the police station, barracks and lock-up, been restored and filled with historic displays. 40km south of Tibooburra, the pub has rooms and still serves cold beer, but the rest of the town is a very atmospheric ruin.

3. Hartley NSW

One of the first colonial settlements west of the Blue Mountains most of the buildings were built in the 1830s, including a grand sandstone courthouse, impressive church and stately homes. It's been a historic reserve since 1914 and hasn't really changed since the 1870s. You can stay overnight in one of the renovated cottages.

4. Artlunga NT

Another relic of a long-gone gold rush, Artlunga, 110km east of Alice Springs, was the first official town in central Australia and back in the 1890s was home to hundreds. These days it's an outdoor museum and you can wander around the government battery, cyanide works, old police station, mines and homes and fossick for gold in the adjacent reserve.

5. Victoria Settlement NT

The remains of the married quarters at Victoria Settlement.

It was meant to be our northern capital, but all that's left of Victoria Settlement on the Coburg Peninsula in north-western Arnhem Land is a few ruined chimneys, smothered by monsoon forest. Part of Gari Gunak Barlu National Park, the ruins are accessible only by boat.


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6. Darlington TAS

Former prison settlement and probation station in Darlington on Maria Island, Tasmania. These?terraced cottages were built later in the 19th century using bricks from demolished ?Separate Apartment convict cells. str9traveller10-ghostowns

Photo: Alamy

Spend the night in a World Heritage-listed convict ruin on Maria Island off Tasmania's eastern coast. Practically unchanged since abandoned as a probation station in 1850, there are 14 buildings still intact, including the Old Penitentiary where you can bunk down in one of the dorms, or camp on the edge of town. Hikers on the four-day guided Maria Island Walk stay at Bernacchi House.;

7. Corinna TAS

Visitors to Corinna, in Tasmian's western wilderness, can stay in replica miners' huts.?

Photo: Alamy

In 1883 the discovery of a 7kg gold nugget sparked a rush to the middle of the Tarkine rainforest in western Tasmania. In its heyday Corinna had 30 buildings, including two pubs, but by the early 1900s the town was deserted. The old pub, butchers shop and a cottage are available as accommodation, or you can stay in one of 14 new cottages, built to blend in with the originals.

8. Menzies, WA

Antony Gormley sculptures on Lake Ballard satmar17coveraust?Cover Australia ; text by Ute Junker SUPPLIED (Tourism Australia) credit:?Virgin Australia Lake Ballard, Kalgoorlie, WA Photo: Tourism Australia

In 1905 Menzies, 132km north of Kalgoorlie, had a population of 10,000 and the main street was lined with stately buildings including a town hall with an 8.5-metre-high clock tower. Most people come here to see the famous Gormley sculptures in the desert at Lake Ballard, 55km to the west.

9. Cook, SA

CFRJM6 India Pacific train stopped at Cook on the Nullarber Plain str9traveller10-ghostowns

Photo: Alamy

Straddling the train tracks in the middle of the Nullarbor there are no roads to Cook. The Indian Pacific stops here to change crews and passengers stretch their legs as they wander past the abandoned school, hospital, post office and stores. It might only be home to four people, but it operates on two time zones (SA and WA) so the drivers don't need to change their watches.

10. Coward Springs, SA

Another railway relic, Coward Springs was once a thriving community with a station, hotel, workers' cottages and a hot artesian spa pool surrounded by date palms. The pub was demolished in 1965 and the town abandoned in 1980 but the campground's natural spa pool is still a magnet for travellers on the Oodnadatta Track. The old stone Engine Driver's Cabin is now a small museum.

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