Great Alpine Road Visitor Guide

PAGE 22 | GREAT ALPINE ROAD VISITOR GUIDE BEECHWORTH A town of ghosts, gorges and goldrush history Beechworth is a rich ‘gold mine’ of history to see and enjoy. The town’s Ford Street is festooned with 19th-Century store verandas that make you feel like you’re stepping back into the goldrush era, and some 30 local buildings are listed by the National Trust. At nearby Beechworth Gorge, which can be accessed via Camp Street and Skidmore Road, you can drive, cycle or walk along the sealed Gorge Scenic Drive for spectacular views of the striking granite landscape and countryside, while gaining insights into the town’s fascinating gold-mining history. Historic asylum tours One historic highlight, hidden away from prying eyes, atop a lonely hillside on the outskirts of Beechworth’s historic town centre, is the Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum. In its 128 years of operation, more than 9000 deaths were recorded, and likely many more unrecorded. Now, thanks to Asylum Ghost Tours, you can take a guided tour through its many twisted hallways and small, stifling rooms. You can choose from ghost tours, history tours, paranormal investigations, or a photographic journey through the historic ‘Lion of Beechworth’, as the asylum was known. Let the experienced guides tell you all the secrets of the place, relax in a comfortable lounge chair to watch a horror double-feature, explore the property’s 11 hectares of heritage gardens, or join one of the sleepover events and stay the night. If you’ve previously visited, it’s worth returning to explore some recently-opened areas you may have never seen. Explore beyond doors that have been locked for decades, and see what few have experienced before. While the sun shines, join the weekend, familyoriented and child-friendly daytime history tours to hear about the 128-year history of the buildings of the former asylum. You’ll hear stories of the opening of the facility, the many patients that are still known about, and the final years of the asylum. After darkness falls, the tours of the dark, haunted buildings of the facility begin. Your host will guide you through the many abandoned hallways, cells, common rooms, surgeries, and isolation areas of the old asylum. The ghost tour encompasses facility history, memories, local tales, urban myths, and stories of the supernatural. For the more adventurous, paranormal investigations take place when all is quiet and the dead open their eyes. Groups can experience two- or threehour investigations, in an attempt to find out who or what still haunts the foreboding asylum. From experienced ghost-hunters, to those who merely wonder at the whispered tales of hauntings, the promise of an entertaining exploration of the asylum’s most haunted areas is a temptation that, for many, is too exciting to forego. Asylum Ghost Tours also hosts an annual horror pop-culture, book and film convention. Traditionally held over the last weekend of October, Asylumfest comprises three activity-filled days, including a short horror film festival, ghost story competition, sales of various books and popculture treasures within the hall, workshops for authors and readers, and live panels and interviews with surprising and entertaining guests from around the globe. Check the website for Ghost Tour times. Bookings are essential. Asylum Ghost Tours also offers private group bookings outside normal tour hours. To book a tour or find out more, visit Night-time ghost tours of Beechworth’s historic asylum are also available...if you dare! Photo: Visit Victoria Beechworth’s historic Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum sits overlooking the town, awaiting exploration. BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL 0473 376 848 DAYTIME HISTORY EVENING GHOSTS PARANORMAL INVESTIGATIONS BEECHWORTH, VIC ij ASYLUM GHost tours ij PB10943