Would you go on a tour to look for ghosts, spirits and hauntings? If this idea fascinates you then read on, for we are about to take a journey into the supernatural…

If you hadn’t guess it, every city has it’s hidden past and secrets. Sydney is no different, and from my last blog post, The Rocks was the earliest settlement to arise when the first settlers from England arrived. Due to it’s long history as a convict settlement, there have been all sorts of horrendous deaths from murders, suicides and accidents. With all these violent deaths, there’s bound to be unhappy spirits lurking around.

I found out about this tour during my previous visit but for lack of time had to skip it. So on my second visit, this was something of a must do for me.

The starting point of our tour was at Cadmans Cottage. We had to find our way there where we met our Ghost Guide. After brief introductions, we were handed ponchos and flashlights (essential gear for all ghost hunters) and off we went.

Our Ghost Guide, James, was dressed in a 19th century styled black overcoat and hat, and carrying one of those old black doctor’s bag. It does look creepy, but then I guess that’s the general idea for a ghost tour. It was also a wonder how he managed to squeeze ponchos and flashlights for around 20 of us in that little doctor’s bag. With the Sun setting we started off with a visit to the inside of Cadmans Cottage. This building is normally closed to the public so having exclusive access through this tour was really unique.

The ghost stories started once we were inside Cadmans Cottage. It was pitch dark inside and we only had our flashlights to light up the room. It reminded me of my school camp days when we would huddle around our tents with flashlights shining under our faces and scaring each other with ghost stories.

From Cadmans Cottage we made our way to the streets of The Rocks. Normally, these streets would be quiet at night, but on the night of our tour, a Christmas market was going on in full swing at The Rocks. Needless to say, the spook factor wasn’t there with all the crowds and merry making going on.

There are pockets of quiet and solitude amongst the crowds. Like this rock cliff which gave the name of The Rocks to the area. You can see canopies on the right side where an Italian restaurant has set up an al fresco dining area.

However, the tour moved further away from the main market area of The Rocks, and the streets gave way to silence.

Once we were out of the crowded sections of The Rocks, empty quiet streets beckoned. Here it was easy to get spooked by the various stories of past deaths occurring at the very spot where we stood.
A dark alley way leads to the back of residences. And it didn’t help that we could see big bats flying from tree to tree. Occasionally we could hear their squeaks breaking the silence of the night. How’s that to set the mood for a haunting?

The last stop of the tour was an old ruin of a house buried under a modern apartment block. Now this was really interesting. Who knows what we will find under there.

With a set of keys (ill gotten or not), our Ghost Guide led us down into the old ruins hidden under a block of modern apartments.
It was pitch dark inside and we had to use our flashlights. It’s hard to imagine that under this apartment block lies ruins from a couple hundred years ago. We were told that next to these ruins is the basement carpark of the residents living above.
This is supposed to be the most haunted place in The Rocks with some guests refusing to even enter. My tour group was very brave that night since everyone went inside and even stayed a while. But when it was time to leave, everyone rushed for the door. I guess nobody wanted to be locked overnight in a haunted ruin.
We headed back to back to the hustle and bustle of the bars and restaurants along The Rocks. After this, I will never think of The Rocks as just another tourist trap. There are secrets and stories waiting to be discovered under those old stones.

So I guess everyone will be wondering if I did see or encounter any supernatural happenings during the tour. To be honest, it was hard to feel spooky since there was around 20 of us in the group. According to our Ghost Guide, some people with more clairvoyant sensitivities would feel something, but sometimes all they did see were couples doing the “ahem” in the dark alleys.

Overall, it was a fresh and intimate way to learn about the history of The Rocks. It was more like a walking tour, and if you do encounter anything paranormal, take it as a bonus. Tours can be booked online through their website. And if you are looking to visit another spooky place closer to Singapore, try this castle in Ipoh, Malaysia.

And in case you are wondering how I took those photos in the near darkness, here is the gear I used.

Camera: Canon 5D Mk 3
Lens: Sigma 14mm F1.8 DG HSM Art
Aperture: F1.8
ISO: max 6400

Using a wide angle fast lens with high ISO enabled me to capture most of the scenes at reasonable shutter speeds. Even if the shutter speed was slower, motion blur is minimal due to the wide angle.

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