Monday, January 14, 2013

Finding Bigfoot Season Three - Australian Field Notes

The view from the Sydney Harbor Bridge

I remember the entire cast being in a meeting a the New York headquarters of Animal Planet last year and being asked if we’d ever want to go international, and if so, where? We immediately said, “Australia,” as if it were the obvious answer. It was the obvious first-choice for our intercontinental excursions looking for bigfoot.

In Australia, they call their giant hairy bigfoot-like creature a “yowie.” As it turns out, there is a long history of sightings of not only yowies, but a smaller variety that they refer to as a “brown jack.” I was a bit surprised at this, but the consistency of reports clearly indicates the presence of both species. Yowies seem to match the description of the typical North American bigfoot, but brown jacks are smaller, rarely exceeding four feet in height.

We based our trip out of Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast of Queensland. Even though we were there at the onset of winter, it was a balmy 80 degrees nearly every day on the coast. The ocean water was 70 degrees and made for a refreshing swim before or after shooting each day. I tried to pay much attention to the shark nets that were bobbing just outside of the surf break…

Several things stand out to me from the trip. Gary Opit is a naturalist and cryptozoologist specializing in the fauna of Australia. I have rarely met someone with such an encyclopedic knowledge of plants and animals. He invited us to his rural homestead on the edge of a huge nature preserve where he encountered a yowie several years ago.


  1. So thrilled your trip to Australia was so eventful and that you enjoyed your time here! Can't wait to catch the episode when it goes to air in Sydney!

  2. Cliff, I loved this episode! It had some guffaw out loud moments, was infused with the wit and knowledge of articulate locals, and mystery was rife. What a kick, and we got a taste of the local culture to boot. I actually caught myself rewinding a couple of times to watch certain segments over again. This was great fun. I thought the episode filmed in my backyard (WA) would be the best, but this season, the Aussies have clinched the Top Squatching Episode title so far. Do they Squatch or do they go Yowieing? Semantics, perhaps, but anyone wearing a "Gone Yowieing" t-shirt would likely have their intentions questioned...

  3. It's too bad this episode didn't involve Neil Frost. Would have been interesting to see everyone's opinion. I would like to see someone ask him questions rather than him just telling stories on youtube, body language says a lot.

  4. I have been waiting for this episode for so long, I really enjoy this episode, Matt making friends with a Kookaburra and Cliff and Bobo getting excited the night outings,fun all round. I’m glad the finding bigfoot team came to Australia, Yowies sightings are rarely spoken in public for the fear ridicule and any talking Yowie could get other people to openly talk about their sighting. Look how Neil Frost was ridicule. I hope it wasn’t the only trip the finding bigfoot team makes to Australia.


  5. Just a thought: Could the Yowie or 'Brown Jack' actually be giant marsupials? I mean historically no placental mammals existed in Australia with the exception of bats prior to human arrival.