Presented by Ghost Crime Tours
Reviewed 4 March 2017
Starting from Australia’s most haunted Hotel in the main street of Australia’s most haunted town, the Ghost Crime Tour of Kapunda, South Australia is a history tour of murder, suicide and hauntings from the 1800s.
Unlike the Ghost Crime Tours of the Adelaide CBD and Port Adelaide, the Kapunda tour has an international reputation to live up to but doesn’t quite get there, in part because of tour guide Mel, who has still not learned the part after six weeks in the job. She reads from her notes too much (and loses her place), forgets names and information, and doesn’t engage the eager participants a great deal by asking questions or gathering their thoughts. She’s an amicable host with a lot of potential but needs to put in the study time which, in turn, will give her the confidence she needs to make the tour more interactive. That may seem harsh, but I hark back to the Port Adelaide Ghost Crime Tour of 2 years ago where host Vicki was presenting her very first solo tour. She knew the history, had plenty of stories to share and was both engaging and funny.
The tour itself begins and ends at the haunted North Kapunda Hotel where the star attraction turns out to be the stellar bar staff who were welcoming, extremely funny and even dragged a few of us into the midst of an actual haunting that occurred in the dining room during a break in the tour. Spooky stuff!
The North Kapunda Hotel’s delapidated accommodation rooms upstairs are the primary focus of the tour where many deaths occurred. Now left unattended, the crumbling hallway and rooms are a horror movie in waiting (check out the photo gallery below). One ghost, a child who tumbled to her death from the balcony, hates men and likes nursery rhymes, so why I chose to recite Humpty Dumpty to her can only be excused as a death wish. After her fall, she wasn’t put back together again either.
The tour shares very little of Kapunda’s interesting history, even failing to make a passing acknowledgement of the traditional Ngadjuri owners of the land. There are only a handful of stops on the tour before returning to the Hotel, and not a lot of historical stories.
Were the places visited haunted? Some on the tour were sure they felt something, others not. For those of us lucky enough to be pulled into the dining room haunting during the tour break, about half sensed something odd.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the Ghost Crime Tours are a gruesomely twisted history tour. The Kapunda tour was disappointing whereas it should have been the best. Certainly, the expectation was there for it to reveal more history and haunted locations. The gathered participants were all raring to have fun however, which they did – some by jumping out of the shadows at each other and others by attempting to make legitimate contact with the spirits who haunt the Hotel.
For an amazing meal and service far beyond expectations, arrive an hour early and have dinner at the North Kapunda Hotel. The food was excellent, but you have to make a booking. An hour is enough for a meal before the tour begins and will give you your fill in case the tour doesn’t.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 5: 2
Venue: North Kapunda Hotel, 50 Main St, Kapunda
Season: until 18 March, Friday and Saturday nights only
Duration: 2 hours
Tickets: $28 all tickets