The Yowie: Elusive ‘Bigfoot’ of the Australian Outback

He goes by many names–Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch. But in Australia, the huge, ape-like cryptid is known as the Yowie.

Apeman legends can be found all across the planet, and Australia is no exception. Considering the size of the continent, and all of its unsettled land, the idea of something like a Yowie existing isn’t all that unbelievable.

Add that in with the hundreds of Yowie sightings over the years, and the Yowie legend could very well become a reality. So what is the Yowie, and where did the story of the creature originate from? And is there any truth to the legend? 

A rendering of the Australian cryptid, Yowie

What is a Yowie?

Before Europeans settled in Australia, the Australian Aboriginal people first migrated to the continent 65,000 years ago. They are considered to be one of the oldest examples of continuous culture in all of history. 

Like any population of people, there is a rich history of mythology and folklore among the various groups of Australian Aboriginals. 

One example of a piece of Australian Aboriginal folklore is the Yowie. It is a mythical hominid, also known as a cryptid, that echoes similar legends in other parts of the world.

Like the Bigfoot, the Yowie are said to be huge, hairy, ape-like creatures that have inhabited the Australian Outback for thousands upon thousands of years. 

Aboriginal Origins of the Yowie

While we don’t have a clear date of when the term “yowie” was first used, we do have records of the cryptid being referred to by this name since 1875. Australian Aboriginal history is complex. Therefore, given the diversity of Aboriginal groups and languages, identifying a specific linguistic origin proves challenging.

However, what we are sure of is that the Yowie finds its roots in The Dreaming. This is a foundational concept in Australian Aboriginal culture that denotes the time of creation.

During The Dreaming, ancestral beings crafted the world. They gave life to plants, animals, and people, including the Yowies, also known as the Yahoos in certain stories. In some Aboriginal cultures, there is a belief that the Yowies were the original inhabitants of what we now recognize as Australia.

What Does Yowie Mean in Australia? 

Outside of Australian Aboriginal folklore, the term Yowie has no other particular meanings. 

There is one mention of a word similar to Yowei in the 1875 text, “Kámilarói and Other Australian Languages” by Reverend William Ridley. It states that Yowei, or Yō-wī, is a “spirit that roams over the earth at night.”

As mentioned above, the Yowie has striking similarities to another bit of Aboriginal mythology, the Yahoo. With both names bearing a resemblance to each other and the similarities of the individual myths, many experts believe that Yahoo and the Yowie are one and the same. 

Yowie Statue, Yowie Park, Kilcoy, Queensland. 

Yowie: Anatomy of an Australian Cryptid

Now that we know a bit more about the history and origins of the elusive, enigmatic Yowie, let’s look into what exactly a Yowie looks like. 

  • Appearance: The Yowie is a tall, bipedal creature. It is robust, muscular, and humanoid in form. The Yowie is tall. Some sightings claim that the cryptid is anywhere from 6 ’11 to 12 feet tall and weighs an astonishing amount. Its body is covered in dark, shaggy, unkempt fur or hair. The limbs of the Yowie are proportional to the body, but the feet are much larger than would be expected, even at the creature’s extreme height.  Yowie’s facial features are said to be heavy and ape-like, with a pronounced brow ridge reminiscent of a Neanderthal. 
  • Behavior: While the Yowie tends to be elusive, hence its status as a cryptid or mythological creature, some sightings report it to be curious or even violent in nature. Some reports even claim that the Yowie may be responsible for the death of family pets such as dogs and cats.
  • Habitat: With an estimated 40% of Australia remaining uninhabited, there are plenty of possible places for the Yowie to hide. Since the biggest portion of Australia that is uninhabited is the Outback, this is considered the most likely habitat for the Yowie. That being said, there have been recent sightings of the Yowie in more residential areas, suggesting that its habitat needs may be changing or that the range of the Yowie might be larger than originally thought. 

Recent Yowie Sightings 

Yowie sightings have been consistently recorded since Europeans settled in Australia. The first Yowie sighting on record was in an 1876 edition of the Australian Town and Country Journal, where it was notably called a Yahoo. 

Another sighting that gained some attention was in 1977 when Queensland Senator Bill O’Chee claimed to have seen a Yowie as a child when he was on a school trip. O’Chee spotted this Yowie in the Springbrook region of Queensland, which is one of the biggest Yowie-sighting hotspots in all of Australia. 

Later in the 1990s, a mango farmer was said to have seen the Yowie from only feet away. There was footprint evidence to back her claim up. 

With the popularity of the Bigfoot in the United States, the television channel Animal Planet, decided to extend their reach and search for the Yowie in 2012. This led to one of the more credible sightings of Yowie, which included audio that the Animal Planet crew claimed was the calls of the Yowie. 

And lastly, one of the more recent sightings was that of a Yowie in a more urban part of Queensland beneath a streetlight in 2021. This sighting was unique in that it was a group of 3 men who all saw the Yowie at the same time, corroborating each other’s stories and lending them credibility. 

These are just a few of the astronomical amounts of Yowie sightings in Australia. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next one to spot the mythical beast that haunts the Outback. 


“Dog Killed by Yowie”

“We were confronted by a Bigfoot-like ‘Yowie’ apeman on our way home from work”

“Animal Planet TV crew capture audio they believe proves existence of yowies”

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