Noises in the bush?

Submitted: Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:09
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Noises in the bush?

I posted the following to the aus.bushwalking and newsgroups a little over a year ago and received some interesting replies – I would be interested to see if anyone on this forum relates to it?

Please don’t bother with “humorous” or ridiculing replies – the newsgroups did it far better than you internet innocents here ever could and after 12 years jousting on the internet I’m quite immune to them anyway :)

Last Sunday (7th March 2004) my partner and I
were camping on the south bank of the Murray
River in NW Victoria a few 10s of kilometres SE
of Robinvale. We stayed in the one spot for four
days and had a great time, my elder son and his
girlfriend were with us and camping about 2k
downstream, joining us for meals and much of the
day. Our campsite was in a state forest with low
to medium density bush and about 8k away from the
nearest habitation, a farmhouse. The forest was
_very_ dry with a lot of fallen branches and
leaves on the ground. It is the second time we
have camped in this forest the first time being
about six months ago. I have spent many, many
nights in the bush/deserts all across Australia
and the world (probably 50% of those nights by
myself) and am familiar with the night noises
and animals of such places.

Sunday (by chance a very bright full moon) was
our last night camping before returning to
Melbourne on the Monday. My partner retired to
bed around 10pm in our see-through mozzie screen
tent and promptly fell asleep; I followed about
30 minutes later and was asleep within five

I think it was about 3.30am when I awoke from a
deep sleep - I was instantly wide awake and knew
what had awakened me, I was not surprised to find
my partner was also awake, she was sitting up in
bed and looking around at the forest. We were
both listening to the loud and unmistakable sound
of a heavy biped moving through the forest
towards our camp and, at a guess, no more than
100m away. I listened and looked for a further 5
or 10 seconds using the bright moonlight to try
and see the creature walking across the forest
floor on the dry twigs and leaves. I could see
nothing but I sure as hell could hear it. Two
feet, crunching the forest underfoot as they
moved. I pulled on my shorts, left the tent and
put on my shoes, the footsteps were still loudly
approaching but nothing was to be seen. I decided
to hide in the shadow of a large tree about 10m
away, as I moved towards the tree I made quite a
lot of noise on the dry leaves and by the time I
reached the shadow of the tree the sound of the
approaching footsteps had ceased. I waited for
about 3 minutes and neither saw or heard
anything. I moved the few metres across to the
camp, placed a chair in deep shadow and waited
silently for about 45 minutes. The only sounds
were those of the normal night noises of the
forest. I returned to bed and slept lightly for
the balance of the night, my partner had fallen
asleep before my return.

During the night my partner and I had not
exchanged a single word about the incident, we
both knew we sensed danger and took appropriate
measures to protect ourselves so there was no
influence or suggestion from one to the other yet
in the morning we were in 100% agreement about
what had happened and what our perception of the
noise was.

As an electronics design engineer I've not given
to making assumptions without having creditable
evidence and I offer none here; but I can think
of no creature which could tramp through a dry
forest and then, suddenly, disappear without
trace, surely an animal would either have fled
when it heard/smelled me and I would have heard
it's flight through the bush or it would have
frozen for a time and then cautiously moved away
and I would have heard it during my 45 minute
wait and with such a bright moon that night I
probably would have seen it too.

I would return to this location to camp but I
suspect I will never sleep there as soundly as

I would be interested to hear of experiences
others may have had of a similar ilk.

Mike Harding
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Reply By: Lone Wolf - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:58

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 20:58
Mike, I remember this post.

My thinking now, as was then, ( but not posted ), was this...... night-time military manoeuvres.

I have once camped, and been on the periphery of this, whilst living up at Woomera.


AnswerID: 109298

Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:30

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:30
G"day Mike,

yep, tend to agree with Wolfie here. Some mates of mine were camping up Kununurra way a few years ago. Did not wake up during the night but in the morning they found stickers all over their camp, possibly even on their swags. Forget what they said but it was something like "you have been..." and it was the military running night manoeuvres. Funny though, despite discovering this in the morning light, they were still spooked. Guess the bush can do that to you.
FollowupID: 366009

Reply By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 21:38

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 21:38
Mike I also have had what I call my "squeel like a girl" episode...

We have 20 acres in a small town called Barkly, not far from Redbank in central Vic. I was there with the dog doing some routine maintenance work and staying in the caravan which we deposited there about 6 years ago. Just for the record I have spent many nights alone there with the dog, without incident.

Day started OK, got alot of work done before a freak storm arrived, dumped about an inch of rain and left again. I decided working in the wet was not for me so I left to visit family in Raglan. Came back via Moonambel and decided the pub looked good for a countery(have had many a meal there and always treated well). Well you'd have thought I was lepper, the rugby world cup was on and I was sitting between the tv and a couple of blokes who were talking about it. They didn't acknowledge my "g'day" when they walked in and both turned their backs on me(and the game) to continue talking rugby. I left feeling more than a little odd, grabbed the dog and headed back to the caravan.

After sitting by the fire for a while I decided to turn in and the dog and I both got comfy in the van. I was awoken suddenly and in fear as you have described, instantly alert to the fact that the noise I could hear didn't belong. The dog crawled back into the corner of his bed with his tail between his legs as I headed for the door with the axe in hand. What sounded like bipedal footsteps, very heavy and deliberate continued past the van at what seemed to be about 10-15m away. I turned on the torch and burst through the door with all the fury I could muster... Nothing... I looked under the van, under the car & trailer, behind every decent size tree nearby... Nothing. At this point I decided I was a little too wound up for sleep so I stoked the fire and sat up for a while. About an hour later the dog curled up under my chair in the same fashion he had done earlier, I started to $hit myself, sitting still, listening even holding my breath to hear a little clearer. All of a sudden the footsteps were back, a little further away this time it appeared. I could hear them getting closer and tried to jump out of my chair, turn on the torch and swing the axe all in one motion. This resulted in me falling over backward out of the chair, squeeling like a girl and nearly cut my own head off with the axe. Looked everywhere again and nothing... Packed my gear and the dog up and left for home.

Have been back alone since but also don't sleep so easy there anymore. Haven't to this day heard the sound again, and hope I never do...

I was telling and old guy at the Moonambel pub about my little episode and all he had to say was "If the dog $hits itself like that, you know all hell is about to break loose" made me feel sooo much better...
AnswerID: 109316

Follow Up By: Member - Bernie. (Vic) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 23:47

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 23:47
Hi Blue, RAOFLMAO....... Barkly (from memory 25years ago its in the hills & lots of trees) ?
We farm stayed in an old farm house near Tulkara /Navarre between 1976 to about 1986 lots of memories and a nice area, was up at Greens Creek on the last 2 weekends, and the old house is still there, and the country looked just the same.

Can't help with the footsteps, but do know some true tales about Min Min lights around Pooncarrie and there just as spooky.


FollowupID: 365998

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 13:57

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 13:57
Blue, great story! Gave me shivers in the back of my neck!
FollowupID: 366060

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 14:17

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 14:17
Hi Jeff, you should've seen the brown shivers running down my legs... Laugh about it now, my missus even offers to do a quick camp check before we bed down for the night... Sarcastic so'n'so...
FollowupID: 366067

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 19:36

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 19:36
Interesting tale Blue, sounds similar to my own - who knows? You don't sound like an easily spooked man to me - I guess we revert to some very basic "fight or flight" modes in these situations and, I'm sure you'll agree, "you had to be there to understand" :)

What are "Min Min" lights?

Only thing I remember about Pooncarrie was that it was probably the worst drive I have ever done one night from Pooncarrie to Menindee when I got caught on that road and it rained!

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 366101

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:35

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:35
I've never been an easily scared person Mike... Spent a lot of time in the bush as a kid(had an uncle who thought he was Harry Butler). Along the way I've been startled by koala's, goats, roo's, owls, pigs and just about anything else you could think of, both in daylight and at night... Much to the delight of afore mentioned sadistic uncle. This one seriously got the "flight" mode happening. Usually with a little calm rational thinking, you can identify the source and relax again...

I also haven't heard of "Min Min" lights...
FollowupID: 366110

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:44

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:44
Back to the first part of your response Bernie... Barkly is in the low lands, probably similar elevation to Navarre... Up and over the hills to Redbank.
FollowupID: 366113

Follow Up By: Member - Bernie. (Vic) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 23:12

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 23:12
Hi Blue & Mike I noticed a new post from Footloose (I will reply up there also) about the "Min Min" lights or some folk call them "Jacka Lanterns" I think it is.
Had a folklaw book about them years ago so I must see if I can find it.

Blue re Barky I just could not remember exactly where it was as it's many years ago, but we did a day trip out through Redbank etc at the time.
Next trip to Greens Creek we may try the road through Avoca & Moonabele the way we used to go to Navarre, I'm looking for a better run other than the highway to Stawell, as I think we will be going there ouite a bit now.

FollowupID: 366156

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Wednesday, May 04, 2005 at 08:09

Wednesday, May 04, 2005 at 08:09

the road out through Avoca and Moonambel will take longer than the Western Highway to get to Stawell. Is a nicer drive though, very few trucks is always a nice change...(Fancy that coming from a bloke who spends half his spare time in the bloody things).
FollowupID: 366172

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 22:21

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 22:21
yea I remember this too.. but back then we didnt know that Diamond was a bush terrorist.. I say it was him havin a spew
AnswerID: 109330

Follow Up By: Member - iMusty (VIC) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 07:34

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 07:34

FollowupID: 366004

Reply By: geocacher (djcache) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 23:05

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 23:05
Ghostbusters... Their number may still be in the New York white pages...

Sounds weird.

My old boss had a son in the Australian SAS. They camped among a group attending to their dope crop when they found it on manouvers once in WA. After monitoring the guys for a few hours or days (can't remember now but it was a long time) with these guys practically walking over them, they stood up rifles at the ready. The guys sh@t themselves and the cops took them away.

That was quiet getting noisy rather than the other way around.

AnswerID: 109346

Reply By: Member - Mungo Explorer (NSW) - Monday, May 02, 2005 at 23:33

Monday, May 02, 2005 at 23:33
Spooky. I suppose it's a reminder of the flipside of remote camping: great to be away from the crowd, but also means you're on your own....
AnswerID: 109354

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 14:12

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 14:12
Yeah when we camped out at yellowdine over easter we were deffinatally alone, but very flat country. It was the first camping trip for our 4 month old girl so I was in protection mode to start with.

Woke up at about midnight, bolt upright, ears twitching!!

Turns out I'd left the UHF on and on ch40, a truckie was having a yarn to the bloke at the Yellowdine servo! Clear as day and we were about 20km's away as the crow flies.

Scared the CRAP out of me till I realised what was going on! LOL
FollowupID: 366065

Reply By: Michael O'Reilly - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 01:41

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 01:41
Was camped alone at Cocoparra NP near Griffith NSW back in 87.
Cooked tea, had a whisky, and hit the hay.
Was later woken (who knows how much later?) to the obvious sounds of footsteps in the brush. I waited, in slowly increasing terror as the footsteps would continue for a while, stop, then start again. I heard no animal sounds and was by this stage shotting myself.
With pictures of some axe wielding maniac in my mind, I eventually summoned the courage to shout/whimper "hey, this isn't funny..."

Feeling that I had little to lose by hiding in the tent, I felt for the trusty Dolphin torch and slowly unzipped the fly (the tent's, not mine...) shining the torch beam straight into the eyes of a now equally terrified emu!
It took off startled through the bush and I used a whole years worth of adrenaline in one second...
I did spend the rest of the night in the car listening to ABC radio though.
AnswerID: 109368

Follow Up By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 12:58

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 12:58
The axe wielding maniac may well have been me...LOL
FollowupID: 366053

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 14:14

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 14:14

That's a classic!
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Reply By: Member - Brian (Gold Coast) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 06:52

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 06:52
I have thankfully never had an encounter such as this, the closest we get to remote bush camping is Fraser Island, and there we just worry about the dingoes ;-)

But I also hope I never have to experiance it either! It took me years to convince SWMBO to bush camp and definitely don't need it spolied now!

I usually convince myself that we are the only ones in cooee and are much safer than if we were at a caravan park somewhere NOT knowing our neighbours!
AnswerID: 109371

Reply By: Capt. Wrongway - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:21

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:21
About 30 odd years ago, my mates and I were driving V8 bush buggies throughout the Clyde/Pigenhouse Mountains. One night we were camped in a clearing about 15klms from Shallow Crossing, about 3 in the morning I got up for a leak ( as you do ). It was a half moon that night, not pitch black. I was just standing there, contemplating nature, taking care of business, when I happened to notice what I thought was a long black log/fallen tree about 50' a head of me. Nothing too exciting .... until it got up on four legs and walked away!!!! I neally shiate myself!!!
This was a very big black cat. Picture great dane size.
The locals have told stories of big cats for years ... some people think their just tales ... I do'nt!
AnswerID: 109393

Follow Up By: Footloose - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:40

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:40
Bazza, I saw something similar around Chilli Beach on CY. I had three witnesses so we went straight to the rangers station. He said it was probably a feral cat. A feral the size of a small tiger ??
Not sure if large feral cats lope across the track, but this one did.
FollowupID: 366111

Reply By: herkman - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:49

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 08:49
I see on ABCV news, found off a Google search, that they have found a skeliton of a Biped date between 3,8 and 4 million years old.

Do a google search on Biped in Google, it will come up as no 2 .

Hell I do not feel so old now.


COL Tigwell
AnswerID: 109402

Reply By: Member - Craig M (NSW) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 09:13

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 09:13
Hi Mike,
Thought I might add my encounter to the list.
We use to go shooting rabbits etc back in the 70s (long time ago) up around the Windeyer, Capertree areas and this one time we had gone for a bit of a wander and had a few shots at some rabbits and then all of a sudden there was a crasshing sound of trees breaking and branches etc on the hill oposite to where we were it continued to come down the side of the hill with lots of other noises thrown in for good measure. Ill tell you what it wasnt a normal animal as you would think that after firing off a few rounds from a rifle anything within cooee would of been running the other way.
I guess it just comes down to the Yowie stories, I am pretty certain they excist, christ we have so much country that people never get into anything could live there.

AnswerID: 109408

Follow Up By: BenSpoon - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 16:18

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 16:18
Drop bears.
Rub vegiemite behind your ears at night for protection mate
FollowupID: 366087

Reply By: dirtdodger - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 12:41

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 12:41
Explaination for "some" of the noises in the night

I too have heard the biped moving through the bush noises at night when camped in the mountains on the Qld/NSW border area.
But........nothing freaky. It was deer descending to the river flats to graze at night.
Yep, they have four feet, but they sound like two feet when moving carefully.
I have observed them at night until they become aware of humans nearby, and then the noises just they do a u turn and silently disappear into the night.

Sorry. No circular indentations in the grass, bright lights, saucer shaped objects, or the dog having a coronary..............Just feral deer.
AnswerID: 109435

Reply By: Vince NSW - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 14:00

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 14:00
I agree with the Emu idea. Have had the same thing in the mid seventies when the army did their exercises west of Bourke.
We were on 50 5 stand too this night( 1 on, 1 asleep) when had the same footsteps comming my way. Woke the whole troop and waited for what we thought were the bad guys to wander in, only to blow 10 years worth of feathers of a mob of emus who wandered through our position. the bad part for us was that we had to bug out and find another position for the night after making so much noise
AnswerID: 109445

Reply By: Member - Karl - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 14:25

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 14:25
My turn. Back in the mid 80s when I was in the Infantry we were on operations in Malaysia down near Jahor Baru (near Singapore). We had been moving through the 'J' (jungle) all day and late in the evening we set up our night harbour and went into 50% stand too.

Sometime after midnight our whole Section was woken by a loud noise that was very close by. We knew that it was big as we could hear it move through the 'J'. For about 20 mins we listened out for it as it moved around our position. Being the 'J' at night it's pitch black and you can't see more than a meter to your front.

By this time we were all on edge and the addrelaline was pumping through us. Eventually there was a bit of moonlight and the creature moved slowly through it enough for us to make out what is was.

It turned out to the the biggest f******g tiger that I had ever seen in my life and it was no more than 2 m from where I was laying. I damn near s**t myself - it's one thing to see them at the zoo but this was rediculous. I couldn't fire my weapon because I was not totaly sure of where my mates were as the tiger was inside our perimeter and walking around.

I looked over to my mate and his eyes were as big as diner plates - he couldn't say anything - but the look on his face said it all. For another 20 min or so this tiger moved around our position - he obivously knew we were there. Eventually he let out almighty roar - this time I p****d myself and it ran off into the night.

We all stood too for the rest of the night until first light when we got up and moved around. When we got together and spoke about it - it turned out that the tiger actually stood next too one of my other mates - it was that close he could feel it breathing. We moved out of that loc ASAP. It still brings a shiver to my spine when I see them at the zoo.

There was also the time when we were on exercise near Tully, FNQ, when my platoon was chased by a Cassowary - but that's another story.
AnswerID: 109447

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 18:04

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 18:04
Terrific story Karl. I was down in that part of the world a few years back - I didn't realise there were wild tigers that far south or I might have been a little more circumspect :)

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 366095

Follow Up By: Member - Karl - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 19:30

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 19:30

We also came across a herd of elephants that morning and that was scary enough as we were doing a river crossing. We used to have a problems with monkeys coming down and rumaging through our packs and stealing stuff from us.

FollowupID: 366098

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 19:46

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 19:46
Again I didn't know elephants came that far south?

Anyway, I fell in love with elephants in Thailand. They are just the most wonderful of creatures, they have a sense of mortality which is not observed in any other animal. They also place less weight on the ground, per square cm, than a deer. And, I can assure you all, they beat the hell out of any 4WD for an ability to transit through the forest :)

Monkeys I have seen down there but generally managed to keep the little buggers at bay :)

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 366104

Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 14:50

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 14:50
after spending 70 nights in ultra remote bushland and another 20 in semi remote in the last year. I believe I am qualified to say the most unusual thing about night noises is the lack of them. Sometimes a boobook owl occasionally frogs (area dependant) the odd insect or yowling fox dingo. Maybe even a confused bird at full moon but generally very quite any animal crashing about I would put down to feral goats,emus or camels perhhaps even the odd wild dog sneaking about (we have had them prowl about the campfire or sneak about just out of site) "the most fearsome thing is fear itself"
AnswerID: 109454

Reply By: gone bush - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 15:37

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 15:37
Hi, we have just come back from camping around lake bonney at barmera and 1 night at about 2am my hubby and i were awaken with a big startle, we could hear what sounded like a person wading quickly in the lake, so hubby got up and looked around he couldn't see anything, the noise had stopped so after a while we went back to sleep but not for long the noise was back, off he went again to check it out and finally we found out that it was only a group of pellicans herding up fish, it really did sound like some one wading in the water. i can tell you it was a big relief to go back to sleep feeling safe.
AnswerID: 109463

Reply By: WDR - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:31

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:31
I came to this one late.
Camping alongside the goulbourn river one night, face to the tent opening becuase i was a smoker. The flap was back but the zip was closed.
Woke up for some reason in the middle of the night and there were two big bright eyse not more than about 5-10 centimetres away from me.
I screamed (very manly), so did the possum - I don't know if he shat himself or not but I sure as hell had trouble getting back to sleep.
AnswerID: 109505

Reply By: Footloose - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:47

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 20:47
Mike :))
A Min Min Poem

Have you ever seen the Min Min
have you ever seen the light
Never in the daytime
But always seen at night

Now there's a native story
The modern yarns are white
It can be a bit confusin
Unless you see the light

Get yourself to Boulia
Its a lonely little town
But when it comes to Min Min
Thats where its goin down

The packers come from everywhere
they travel over seas
And end up at the Visitors centre
Which never fails to please

Bugs or little aliens
Gases if you please
If you believe in darker things
You'll never be at ease

The real start of the story
is many miles away
But if we get them rollin
We'll be there in a day

For out along a lonely creek
there stands a little grave
the old shanty broke into a fire
and a kid they couldnt save

The birthplace of the Min Min
stands upon this place
Thousands of broken bottles
And the wind upon your face

If this were not in Oz
A shrine would surely stand
Not broken bloody bottles
On a sea made out of sand

It's a great Australian story
Thats told along the track
there's always Min Min searchers
And some of em go back

Day trips come from Winton
Money comes to town
Amazin how a ghostly light
Can make it go around

But have you seen the Min Min
Have you seen the light
Its bright and very scary
And only comes at night.

AnswerID: 109510

Follow Up By: Mike Harding - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 21:10

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 21:10
Hi Footloose

Thanks for that - a nice poem.

I have been to Boulia - but I must admit I didn't stay long (5 minutes for petrol I think) - however I'm afraid I didn't see any lights although IIRC I did spend a solitary night in the desert 30 or 40 Ks south of the town.

I'll try again in a year or so :)

Mike Harding
FollowupID: 366122

Follow Up By: Footloose - Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 21:15

Tuesday, May 03, 2005 at 21:15
Hi Mike. I have to admit being there a few times and never actually seen "the lights". But as I'm usually on my own, I don't think I'd want to ! Actually I'm planning on passing through that way in around 8 weeks. Hopefully it will be too cold for any lights except campfires.
FollowupID: 366127

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