10 Seriously Spooky & Haunted Places in New Zealand


Scare Yourself at these Haunted Places in New Zealand

Like everywhere in the world, New Zealand has its fair share of the creepy and supernatural. If you’re looking for a good scare in New Zealand then these are the places to be! Take a look at the list below for some of the most haunted places in New Zealand, as well as places that are just darn right spooky.

Whether you’re celebrating Halloween or just like giving yourself a scare every now and then (because that’s normal), these are some seriously spooky places in New Zealand. We’ve included sites with recorded hauntings, spooky stories and places which just have that eerie atmosphere.

So take a look at the list below and find yourself some seriously spooky and haunted places in New Zealand!

1. Ghost Town – Tangarakau

Let’s start with a place so spooky in New Zealand that it’s even called Ghost Town. Signs to the town of Tangarakau say: Ghost Town, accompanied by goat skins slung on either side. Should you dare to turn into the town on this secluded section of the Forgotten World Highway in the North Island, you will be met with a campground surrounded by rolling hills and a working farm. Things have changed since the tunnelling and railway days where 1200 people used to live here… Now, well, it’s a ghost town.

Location: Forgotten World Highway©

2. Napier Prison

A prison, an orphanage and a psychiatric unit… nothing sounds spookier. Napier Prison has been all of these things since it was built in 1862. There are often reports of supernatural activity in the prison, which you can now explore through self-guided day tours, spooky night tours or attend one of the regular events. Delve down death row, the hanging yard, the psychiatric units and more in this seriously spooky place in New Zealand. Learn more about Napier Prison on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, find more awesome things to do in Napier using The Complete Guide to Napier.

Location: Bluff Hill, Napier©

3. Chateau Tongariro

To some, Chateau Tongariro is a premier historic hotel at the base of New Zealand’s largest volcano. To others, it is a creepy old hotel with stories to tell. The hotel wasn’t always serving high tea and hosting guests. Chateau Tongariro used to be a women’s asylum to which some staff have said to have seen a nurse called Charlotte who died here, as well as patients who hung themselves…

Location: Whakapapa Village, Mt Ruapehu©

4. Lake Wakatipu

Ok, so this isn’t an obvious one. Lake Wakatipu is more famous for being the stunning lake that Queenstown sits along. However, the story of Lake Wakatipu and what it represents in Maori legends is pretty darn spooky. Lake Wakatipu is said to be a giant taniwha – a huge monster – lying on its side with its heart beating at the centre of the lake. The beating heart creates the waves that you often see at the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Scary!

Location: Otago©

5. Quail Island

Just a short ferry ride from Lyttelton in Christchurch, Quail Island has a fascinating yet spooky past. Visit the island to see quarantine sites of when the island was used to contain patients with leprosy, shipwrecks and gravesites of the island’s residents.

Location: Quail Island, Lyttleton Harbour, Christchurch©

6. Larnach Castle

New Zealand’s only castle wouldn’t be a very good castle without a few haunting stories to go with it. Larnach Castle was complete in 1887 for a politician called William Larnach. His first wife died in the castle at 38 years old after a stroke, his second wife died of blood poisoning at the same age and his daughter died of typhoid at 21. William committed suicide after learning his son was having an affair with his third wife. Beyond that, the castle was a mental hospital during the World Wars. Unsurprisingly, two TV shows have been to the site in search of paranormal activity. Find out more about Larnach Castle on Viator and Tripadvisor. Visiting Larnach Castle is one of the many things to do in Dunedin.

Location: Otago Peninsula

Pixabay© Pixabay

7. Spirits Bay

If the name wasn’t obvious enough, Spirits Bay is said to be the place where the dead gather before moving on in Maori mythology. There have been numerous reports of weird sightings at Spirits Bay over the years. Either way, it is a stunning and culturally significant part to camp at in the Far North of New Zealand.

Location: Far North, Northland

Williamsphotographynz (© Williamsphotographynz (

8. Otira Tunnel

If an 8.5km (5.3-mile) tunnel running right underneath the Southern Alps wasn’t scary enough, the Otira Tunnel is also said to be one of the haunted places in New Zealand. One of the people who died during its construction, a Scottish construction worker, is said to be wandering around trying to find his way home. Not that you will get much chance to help him as you pass through the tunnel inside the TranzAlpine that goes through Arthur’s Pass. Find out more about the TranzAlpine train journey on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Location: Arthur’s Pass National Park

Public Domain© Public Domain

9. The Vulcan Hotel

Said to be one of the most haunted buildings in New Zealand, The Vulcan Hotel most famously holds the spirit of a spiteful prostitute named The Rose who was murdered in a room of the hotel. Electrical appliances turning themselves on, groaning in the corridors, and even male guests to the hotel have apparently felt being strangled or held down. Gulp!

Location: Saint Bathans, Otago

Schwede66© Schwede66

10. Demolition World

Perhaps not haunted but a seriously spooky place in New Zealand has to be Demolition World. The pay-by-donation attraction in Invercargill is a pretend town made entirely from objects found in a dump. Creepy mannequins watch you as you wander around this fake town full of historical objects with unknown pasts.

Location: Invercargill, Southland©

More About Scary Places and Holidays in New Zealand

Plus, for alternative activities, head over to our 101 Things to Do in New Zealand: The Ultimate List.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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