|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.