Tourism is viewed as the panacea for rural decline. A critical dimension of this is the recreation of rural places as spaces of consumption as opposed to agricultural production. This transition draws explicitly upon the discourse of the rural idyll, which positions rural places as a utopia of harmony, tranquillity and safety. However, an alternate discourse concerning some rural places exists. This discourse is darker, embodying a rural dystopia. This paper explores the limits of idyllic rural place making opportunities. Drawing upon the systematic stigmatisation of the South Australian rural community of Snowtown, this paper considers the scope for dark tourism to constitute a means of renewal for places characterised as rural dystopias. In doing so, the paper invites discussion on the limited theorisation of dark tourism with specific regards to new rural economies.