Halloween is coming soon and I thought what would be more fitting than to combine scary and travel stuff and tell you gruesome horror stories from my time in the Australian outback? I have plenty of stuff to share (Book coming soon! Follow here for updates), but these are second hand narrations that happened in real life. Grab a blanket, darken your room and hold a candle to watch your breath quiver. Are you ready?
Australian Outback Tale 1: Lone Ranger Danger
One day one of my tour guide – let’s call him Aaron – was doing his usual trip along the Stuart Highway. You know, the longest and straightest highway in the world where you will not encounter a fellow soul on the road for hours, where civilisation is so far away, you can’t even use a phone and have to hope someone on the radio funk will hear you scream if you’re in trouble.
He was driving a tour group northwards and was staring at the horizon when he saw two dark dots briskly approaching. He soon could tell it was a tall, lean man with his dog. He seemed in a hurry but was averting his face. Even when he slowed down to double check if the man was alright, the figure kept on walking, completely ignoring any attempts at providing help or assistance.
Rule number one on Stuart Highway is to look out for one another. You keep other drivers informed if you spot trouble, such as roadkill or even animals feeding off of it in the road. You offer a lift and maybe treatments if someone is stranded. This is because you can actually die in the outback. When you find someone who can help you, that might often be your only chance if you’ve broken down and are not well prepared.
So Aaron wanted to be considerate when he saw the lone man, but received no reply. Something was off about him. He couldn’t put a figure on it but he had a bad feeling in his stomach. He was about to drive off but the whole bus was protesting. It was not either to leave him behind. He might be dehydrated and out of his mind. He might need help after all. But he had the interest of the group at heart and couldn’t justify taking on a total stranger and possible weirdo.
The tour group voiced their anger at this even louder but he did not relent. Back in town, he dropped off everyone and headed to the bar to catch up with his old mates. One of them arrived later than usual and seemed flustered and upset. What was the matter, the guide wanted to know. All day long they had been investigating bloodshed in a small town. Several people had been brutally butchered to death and the perpetrator was on the run. Even though they pretty much knew who he was, they couldn’t locate him. He had disappeared.
With a sudden intuition the guide asked what he looked like. And the following description sent chills up and down his spine. It perfectly described the man and the dog he had seen! The police had been searching in the wrong direction all this time as he had cleverly diverted them off his track. However, thanks to Aaron’s tip, the police was able to handcuff the armed murderer two hours later. Just imagine he had gotten on the bus!
Australian Outback Tale 2: Newspaper Alert
On another tour of Aaron, a weird man joined the group. He seemed entirely disinterested in what was happening around he, never talking to anyone or getting off the bus during photo stops. He even rejected the meals that were prepared during the tour. To be honest, the guide wasn’t even sure if the guy was quite sane as he seemed to be startled really easily and stared into the distance mostly.
During the stop at Coober Pedy, where you ditch the swag and sleep in bunk beds underneath the earth, he chose to have a nook all to himself. This meant four bunk beds and a curtain to separate the corner from the overall room.
In the morning when Aaron came to wake everyone, he found the guy still asleep but nearly startled him to death when he opened the curtains. Aaron had stepped on newspaper that covered the whole area around the bunk beds. Why it was there, he didn’t even want to know and was mighty glad to be rid of the guy once they landed in town. The feeling seemed mutual because the guy was the first one off the bus and gone in an instant. Only later he would Aaron see the guy again. On TV. He was labelled the most wanted drug criminal in the country at that time.
What about you?
So these were just some of my scary stories about my time travelling the Australian outback. You have probably heard that Australia is a dangerous place and that is certainly true. But you also see that if you have common sense, listen to your gut and stay on your guard, you have a clear disadvantage. A word of caution: don’t blindly buy all the media dishes because that fear mongering is truly the worst horror story of all!
Shop the Safety
In case you do want to go into the Australian outback – and I absolutely recommend it – here are a few things I handpicked from Amazon to help you stay more comfortable and safer Down Under. These are affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you decided to purchase anything. It doesn’t cost you a thing and it helps bring more stories and travel tips to this blog (blogs are not free, you know). Turn off your adblocker to see the articles.