Location: Noojee, Victoria
Event: Yowie Sighting
I'm not sure if this counts as a sighting or not, but my girlfriend and I went camping near Noojee on Easter weekend and had some strange experiences up there. I had heard of the 1984 Yowie sighting but dismissed it as it was such a long time ago. Since that weekend I've read a lot on the subject and I'm now wondering if what we experienced could have indeed been a Yowie...
We arrived in Noojee early on Friday morning only to find all the campsites at Toorongo Falls taken. We decided to try up Loch Valley Road, checking out The Poplars campsite but it was also full. After a few hours of driving and checking out 4WD and logging roads we stumbled across one which lead to a recently logged valley. There had been some recent burning off but it seemed safe enough and like our best option to camp for the weekend. This was up near Loch Valley.
It was about midday, we'd set up camp and had lunch and I wanted to go explore the area, so leaving my girlfriend at camp I set off down the valley to try find a creek or river that I suspected was down the hill. The bush was very dense and full of fern trees but I found an animal path leading down to the water. As I began getting close to the water I heard a banging sound like someone banging a piece of wood onto a rock near the water. I heard this sound repeated about 4-5 times, quite loudly and close to me, (about 20-30 metres away on the opposite side of the bank). I stopped and looked around but couldn't see anyone or hear any voices. There were people camped in the bottom of the valley at least a couple of kilometres away from where I was, so not wishing to startle anyone, I started making a lot of noise descending to the creek. When I got to the bottom there was an eerie feeling, it was dead silent, and the dense canopy felt claustrophobic. I photographed some strange prints in the mud, turned around and got out of there fast. I just felt uneasy and wanted to leave. Walking up the hill I met my girlfriend and we spotted some more strange prints in the dirt. They looked like a heavy dog print but something about them wasn't right. There were two that were about a metre apart and I could swear they looked like hand prints, almost like someone digging into the ground with their hands. There also appeared to be claws on the hands which made us think maybe it was a big dog, probably tagging along with one of the loggers.
That night we sat around the campfire, relaxed and just chatting. The sun had just gone down and the moon was yet to come over the horizon. The group camping in the bottom of the valley had loud music playing, there was a group of hunters out in the bush, and another group camped about 800m away on the other side of the main road. As we were talking we stated to hear a sound like someone walking through the clearing up the hill towards us. I figured it was just someone looking for firewood. But it got closer and closer and it was very odd. We heard a sound like an animal knocking quickly on a hollow tree trunk (there were a few in the valley). It would stop then reappear closer to our camp. The knocking sound got closer and closer, it almost sounded like a galloping horse. Suddenly we heard it within about 30m of us. We both jumped up with our torches and went to look. I thought it might be a feral pig or deer, as we'd also seen hoof prints in the dirt. The strange part was as soon as we shone our torches into the clearing the sound stopped and we didn't hear it again. Whatever was out there disappeared silently, which was weird, but I didn't give it much thought.
The most terrifying experience happened later that night at around 3am. I woke up to go to the toilet (we had been drinking a bit while sitting around the campfire), and when I returned to the tent my girlfriend woke up and also went out to urinate in the bush. By now it was a full moon and you could see clearly outside. She returned and we both drifted off. What felt like a few minutes later I was awoken by the sound of twigs crunching on the ground pretty close to our tent. Suddenly there was a sound like a man marching through our camp wearing heavy boots. It definitely sounded like footsteps, rather than an animal. I didn't know what to think and my heart was pounding in my chest. I was ready to grab the torch and hatchet next to my bed if it got much closer to us. I thought maybe it was one of the other campers but there was no light from a torch at all. I heard a rustling next to the tent where the rubbish bag was outside. Then it went silent. Somehow I fell asleep only to be woken again by the sound of cracking branches in the bush over near my car.
We ended up staying another uneventful night, even though we both struggled to relax after that. My girlfriend was particularly freaked out that whoever or whatever was out there must have seen her out in the dark alone.
The thing that troubles me is that I knew nothing about Bigfoot/Yowie encounters until only after this weekend, and the more I read, the more it seems like it might fit... Whatever it was, in my lifetime of camping trips in the Australian bush so far, something was definitely different about this one.
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