A Visual Tour Through 5 Australian Ghost Towns

Transcontinental Hotel Farina
Transcontinental Hotel Farina | © Peterdownunder / WikimediaCommons
Monique La Terra

When formerly prosperous towns vanish into the pages of history, crumbling remains provide a glimpse into their past. The ruins are cloaked in stories of misfortune that unravel how once prosperous towns became abandoned settlements. This is a photographic tour of five Australian ghost towns.

Silverton, New South Wales

With the discovery of silver in 1875, the township of Silverton was established and the population ballooned to 3000. However, the find was overshadowed by the lead-zinc ore deposits in the nearby town of Broken Hill, and residents soon packed up and left. Since then Silverton has been featured in more than 140 films and commercials including Mission Impossible II, Mad Max II, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and The Flying Doctors. Today there are approximately 50 permanent residents, although the town attracts visitors with its art exhibitions in derelict buildings.

The Road Warrior from Mad Max Silverton. NSW
SilvertonNSWchurch
Silverton railway platform
Silverton ruins

Walhalla, Victoria

This Gippsland ghost town was founded in 1862 and during the gold rush its population soared to 4,000 residents. Only 20 residents inhabit Walhalla today, although visitors can experience the Long Tunnel Extended Mine tour that runs daily. During its heyday the town was a flourishing community with more than a dozen hotels and its own newspaper. Actor Patrick Swayze even visited the town during his childhood.

Walhalla 1910 Hospital carnival
WalhallaVicCorner
Walhalla Chronicle Stevage
Walhalla in 1975

Cook, South Australia

Established in 1917 when the Trans-Australian Railway was built, the South Australian town of Cook was named after the sixth Prime Minister of Australia, Joseph Cook. The secluded town on the Nullarbor Plain sits on the longest stretch of straight railway in the world, at 478 kilometres. Cook once had a population of 50, however, since the privatisation of railways in 1997 the population has dropped to just four residents.

Historical Gaol Cells of Cook. SA
Cook-SouthAustralia
Straight Track. Cook. SA

Farina, South Australia

Located within the Lake Eyre Basin, Farina was settled in 1878 by farmers and was once a thriving community with a population of 600. Farina boasted silver and copper mines, two hotels, an underground bakery, two breweries, a bank and general store, a school, an Anglican Church, and brothel. After the closure of the Ghan railway line in the 1980s, as well as the local mines, the population dwindled to 55.

Farina hotel
Transcontinental Hotel Farina
Bakery at Farina
Ruins at Farina
Exchange Hotel Farina

Kanyaka Station, South Australia

Established in 1852, Kanyaka Station employed 70 families and included a homestead, cottages, workshops, huts and sheds in an effort to run self-sufficiently. Severe droughts in the 1860s claimed the lives of 20,000 sheep at the station, and by 1867 only 15 men remained employed at Kanyaka. Today ruins of the homestead and cemetery are all that remain.

Kanyaka homestead
Kanyaka Station Ruins
Kanyaka-Station
landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article