Grey nomads are used to keeping their eyes peeled for exciting things as they criss cross the country.
For most, the sight of a saltwater croc or a platypus is about as thrilling as it gets … but then there are the bewildered minority!
But every now and again, the spotlight gets thrown on the weird and wonderful ‘things’ that some startled travellers encounter.
Las December, three men were left in ‘utter disbelief’ when they came across a ‘yowie’ while driving home from work inland from the Sunshine Coast.
The trio were in the tiny town of Jimna when they caught sight of a ‘slouched over figure’ standing under a street light.
“We initially thought it was a boar or a really big animal until we got closer and saw it run off in a very apelike way,” said one of the men, Seamus FitzGerald.
The men recalled the creature standing up all and turning to look at them.
They described it as having ‘very long arms’, ‘an apelike’ face and shape and covered in ‘dark reddish hair’.
Despite having a population of just 91 people, this hasn’t been the first sighting of a yowie in Jimna. Locals have reportedly claimed to see evidence of the yowie in bushland, just on the edge of town, and say the creature is ‘flushed out’ by storms.
While it’s easy to write off reported sightings of yowies, bunyips, UFOs, ghosts, and aliens as misidentification, hoax or delusion, for those on the sharp end, the experiences can be all too real.
Yowie hunter Dean Harrison from Australian Yowie Research says the sighting of the mysterious ape-like ‘yowie’ a few years ago in Mount Jerusalem National Park in New South Wales left a woman deeply traumatised. The unidentified witness described how she heard a scream, a grunt and a growl, and then saw a giant creature standing on a fire trail near the town of Uki.
“When it was in my headlights, it was 6’ to 7’ tall, it had a face with eyes about golf ball size, and it had really long hair,” she said. “The eyes glowed with or without the light bar and it smelt like five-week-old road kill.”
The small town of Kilcoy in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland proudly bills itself as the yowie capital of Australia. Although sightings here date back to the late 1800s, it was in 1979 when two campers encountered a ‘two to three metre brown-haired creature’ in nearby bushland that yowie fever really struck.
As interest soared, a fibre-glass yowie statue was erected in Kilcoy’s Yowie Park and this has recently been re-modelled as the town seeks to use its yowie power to lure in grey nomads and other travellers.
And it’s not just yowies.
The small settlement of Wycliffe Well between Alice Springs and Tennant Creek, has labelled itself the ‘UFO capital of Australia’, and long-term caravanners and motorhomers now spend many a long hour staring skywards hoping to confirm if ‘we are not alone’.
But maybe it would be better to know that we were alone. Back in January, 1988, the Knowles family were travelling near Mundrabilla on the Nullarbor when they say a powerful beam of light yanked their car into the air, filled it with a foul-smelling grey mist, and then plunged it back to the ground again.
Reliable witnesses say the entire family was visibly shaken, with one son saying that it had felt like his brain was being sucked out.
Elsewhere, many travellers swear they have seen ‘part fish, part animal’ creatures swimming in southeast Queensland waterways, and giant panthers roaming New South Wales.
So, are these things real or the figment of over-active imaginations? For continent-crossing, remote-travelling grey nomads, the truth is out there.