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Location: Kilkivan, Queensland

Date: Jan, 2000

Day 1.

Over the past months we had many reports come in from a certain location near Gympie, one of which included a family of Yowies, a Yowie chasing a trail bike rider and one up a tree. We were due for another expedition, and this seemed far too good to pass up so the plan was put into place. For the first time, Glennys and George Mackay joined us for the experience bringing their camper van and our guide to the area was Rod Sengstock and friend Alan.

The rendezvous point was 10am at a service station near Gympie, however we were all there very early and made it to the remote location by 10.30am. Rod and Alan set up camp at the bottom of the mountain in a hut, while the rest of us endeavoured to take our vehicles further to the top of the mountain, which was harder than it looked at first.

Myself and Trevor were the first to leave. After only 1KM the road vanished from sight with tall 7ft grass blocking our view, it was a long time since anyone had visited this area.

At first we thought we had made a bad mistake being the first car though, the 4wd's were far better suited for the almost non existent road. It was wet, the track was slippery and we had no idea if there were logs across the track ahead. The car slipped and slid, lost and gained traction, and finally the supposed 5 minute drive got us there in 15 minutes.

The moment we stepped out of the car at the top, we were face to face with a Python. The hut was old and dusty and the surroundings had absolutely no sign of the usual traits that we find with a Yowie in the area.

It wasn't long before radio feeds came through telling us that the other cars were struggling to make the climb. The camper van had stopped and gone back, as it had no chance of making the journey and the van too was forced to turn back. Steve was even having dramas in the 4wd. It was a good hour or two before we saw any of the guys.

Myself and Trev had a lot of time to scout the area for signs, however even a simple game track was found anywhere in the area. The hut was a location given to us by people who new of many sightings here, and they too had their own story to tell.

One story stood out from the rest. This report came from very credible witnesses who said that while camping in the hut they had seen three there. Apparently, just on duck while cooking a BBQ, they sighted a large male, a female and a juvenile approach from the valley near the hut on the edge of the bush line. The family of Yowies stood and observed the humans as they cooked their meat while fully aware of the visitors. After discussion, they left 3 pieces of meat on the cooker and retreated to the cabin and watched from the window. The smallest (juvenile), made a quick dash from the bush line to the BBQ and gathered up the remaining meat and ran back to mum and dad with the rewards, then they all walked off down the valley.

Rod and Alan (our guides for the weekend), also had their own stories to tell. They told of tree tapping at night, strange howls and footprints. They also had stories from others who had visited the area including a story of 3 trail bike riders who had been chased by a large male Yowie. The bikers had planned to stay there for the weekend and had unpacked their gear at one of the many loggers huts. We went for a quick ride up the hill that we had driven in on and as the last bike came over a rise, he almost hit the creature which put it in a rage and they said it chased the last rider for quite some distance. Needless to say, they were so shaken up by their ordeal, they promptly packed their gear and left.

The loggers who come to the location ever few years also have their far share of tales to tell as most loggers do, and our guide Alan swears that he had sighted one in a tree not far from where we were camped.

All in all, the location at the top of the hill sounded like a winner in principle, however there was growing concern in reality once we were there due to the lack of evidence that we could find.

One noticeable aspect of the location that there was an unusual lack of any animal, even birds. The only living creature that was visible was the snakes. By the end of the trip we'd found six - browns, blacks and Pythons. Great!

As the guys arrived, we unpacked the cars and began to set up camp. Ashley and Trevor set up the surveillance, while the rest of us constructed the campsite.

Two hours before dusk, myself and Trevor decided that we would endeavour to hike to the bottom of the valley and spend the night there in hope that 'something' was down there. Everyone who had hiked the top end of the mountain confirmed what we had originally thought - there ain't nothing here!

Of course the hike down the valley couldn't be a easy one for us - an hour of cutting our way through wet lantana made the hike hell. It was a good 6km to get to our destination, however after battling our way through what we did, we knew we'd be lucky to make it half way before night fall. Up hills, down hills, through mud, slush and lantana, we were exhausted! As night time set in, we pressed on further until we had at least found some kind of stream that this thing may feed from and there we set up our camp in the dark. I must admit, it was pretty darn spooky there at one stage when we thought we heard something walking passed in the night.

At 8pm, we received a radio feed saying that Richard had gone back to the van which was next to the camper at the bottom of the mountain and also Rod and Alan had gone back to the loggers hut for the night. Ash, Steve and Phil were at the top camp with all the equipment.

I found it odd that we had camped at the top of the mountain, but since we had so many reports from that specific location we had little option at that stage. Normally these creatures dwell on lower ground during the day and work their way around in search of food during the night. They do roam to higher areas during the night, but that seemed to be almost too high, the animal activity was low and there were no tracks. It just didn't seem right.

As the night went on, we also had little to no activity - not even small rodents. We walked some of the dry water ways during the night, and again - nothing - no movement.

I finally fell asleep at around 3.30am after wrestling a giant cockroach which had made its way up my pants. At that stage I had no idea what it was, just that it was big, fast and ultimately .........gooey!

We woke around 7am feeling worse for wear after the big hike down, the injuries had crept in during the night and the mere thought of the daunting task of hiking all the way back up didn't impress us one bit. I had broken the major rule of hiking, which was to travel light and my knees let me know in no uncertain terms.

I think it took us almost 2 hours of hiking up some of the most inhospitable terrain until we reached one of the major tracks. By this stage I was dropping to the ground in pain clutching my knees. We radioed the guys at the top and asked for a 4wd to be sent our way, an hour later we had managed to limp our way back.

Straight after, myself and Steve headed out over the other side of the mountain. This time all I carried was a two-way! My knees were still buckling and I was still dropping, but at least I didn't have a 55 pound pack on. Once we were down there we radioed Ash to come down in my car and pick us up. There was still no sign of any activity.

Ash arrived and we drove on to other areas to search for signs. At one stage we found snake eggs that had been dug out by hand, that was interesting. We also found a scat sample, but this was miles away from camp. A radio feed came from camp saying that Richard had arrived and they had action last night at the bottom - we raced back!

The story was great! This was just what we needed to lift ourselves back up again after feeling so disappointed. The camper van had been hit with such a force at 3am, that George and Glenny almost fell out of bed! Phil's van was attached via ropes to the camper, and that also felt the brunt of the 'whack'. It then went to the front of the camper and began pulling on the tarps. Richard (who was sleeping in the van), raced out but the creature had gone. There were also large footprints outside the van which we cast. Bingo!

The moment we heard the news, we packed the gear and headed off back down the mountain. We were clearly in the wrong place and just by chance, the camper stopped in the right place. The van was so large that a Human could not make it move, but it was hit by a hard enough force to rock it. George began yelling, and after it had a play with the tarps, it ranced back into the forest.

As soon as we arrived, we viewed the footprints that were left and Trevor got straight on to casting. I set off again and found a semi dry creek bed and tracked more prints leading into the dense forest. Myself and Ash found 16" prints in succession which Trevor cast. The quality of these ones weren't quite as good because they had been rain washed a little, but it was still obvious that it had 5 toes, instep and heal. Things were looking up. The tracks and foliage damage through the bush was inspiring, although it was obvious that Deer also inhabits this lower region.

I teamed up with Steve again for a hike down stream. The tracks similar to what was found near the camper van were heading down that way. We came so close that we found a wet print on a rock that was only minutes old and others in the sand.

That night while the others were at the camp fire, myself and Steve staked out two locations surrounding the camp. We made no noise as we sat and listened, then a strange 'tapping of rocks' began. It was a constant noise that originated from the other side of the valley. I put my video camera on, but the pick ups in the mic weren't quite good enough to hear it. We listened for a long time to the tapping and had all kinds of hypothetical’s on the situation, one of which that it maybe a warning call to others that humans are in the area? It was just a thought and that's all! The interesting things about it was that our guides also spoke of the taping each time they came to the area.

After a quick midnight meeting around the camp fire, we all headed our separate ways and performed the tasks that were required of each member. Ash was base camp commander in charge of communications and monitoring of the surveillance, Phil was in the back of the 4wd with Richard using the I.R. spotlight and video, and the rest of us split and hiked.

To cut a short story shorter, not much happened for the rest of the night as far as the Yowie was concerned. There was just far too much noise coming from the base camp and these creatures like to wait until eveyones asleep before they advance.

The next morning I went for a quick hike before we left. As I got to the top of a large hill after examining several other footprints along the way, I heard a loud crashing coming through the bush, then it stopped. This happened another two times, and because I was out of radio range due to the hills, I thought I'd better start to make tracks back towards the camp slowly. Then the tapping started - 3 bursts of about 20 taps against a tree exactly where the crashing came from. When I became within radio range I had Trevor come up for back up, sadly by the time he arrived the noises had stopped.

It was a more than interesting expedition, we all looked forward to the next trip.

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Australian Yowie Research - Data Base