Adventure

5 Super Weird Aussie Mysteries To Blow Your Mind And Ruin Your Day

Australia is a wild, wild place. One of the most remote continents on the planet, this soil has history stretching back over 60,000 years (that we know of). Brimming with spiritualism, legend and mystery, these ancient lands are bound to hold a few inexplicable curiosities.

Here are five mysteries from Australian nature that’ll leave you either creeped out or scratching your head, from Australia’s Bermuda Triangle to a town infested with tarantulas that love to swim.

#1 Marree Man, South Australia

On a desert plateau just outside the Outback town of Marree, sits the world’s second largest geoglyph. The thing is, not a single soul knows who created it or how long it’s been there – it was only discovered in 1998 by accident during a flyover.

Cut deep and wide into the harsh landscape, the figure depicts an Indigenous man holding a woomera. The figure is 2.7km tall with a perimeter of 28km, extending over an area of about 2.5km2  – it’s so big you can see it from space.

At one point it was thought that Americans were responsible for the geoglyph. Anthropology experts from the South Australian Museum claimed the figure was not an accurate representation of indigenous peoples of the area, but included a mixture of the features spanning peoples and eras. This added to the speculation that foreigners had created the geoglyph, although, to this day, who’s responsible for the giant is still a mystery.

The site is not accessible to the public, but flyovers across the area are allowed. Due to environmental changes and lack of maintenance, the Marree Man had almost completely disappeared until locals made efforts to restore it in 2016.

#2 Black Mountain, Kalkajaka, Queensland

 

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Black Mountain is a place of mystery and legend to Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples alike. Located in Far North Queensland, a few kilometres inland from the stunning coast, you’ll find Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park.

A striking landform of black granite boulders that rise above the surrounding verdant greenery, “it has been dubbed the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ of far north Queensland due to stories dating back to the late 1800s of people, horses and whole mobs of cattle disappearing,” according to ABC.

While the site is a National Park, visitors aren’t invited to climb the mountain – in fact, you’re not even advised to approach it. Other than a lookout just off the road, that’s as close as anyone should get.

The traditional owners of the land are the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people, who know the mountain as Kalkajaka, which translates to ‘place of the spear’. It is explained as a sacred battlefield, the scene of the last spear fight between two Indigenous clans — but there is an oral history of warring spirits, too.

Known as a place of dark energy, there are many reports of those wanting to enter the site never returning, dating as far back as 1800 with the notorious criminal Sugarfoot Jack.

#3 Devil’s Pool (also known as Babinda Boulders), Queensland

 

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To the unassuming eye, Babinda Boulders is an idyllic spot south of Cairns, with crystal waters that flow down from Mt Bartle Frere. But it’s known by another name – Devil’s Pool – and is sacred ground to the local Indigenous community.

Babinda (meaning ‘water flowing over rocks’) is the site of a Dreaming legend: the tragic love story of the beautiful young Oolana woman and a handsome young man from another tribe, Dyga. When their tribes said they couldn’t be together, a heartbroken Oolana threw herself into the waterhole to her death, scattering boulders into their current formation. In her search for Dyga, it is believed that Ooolana lures young men near the site to their deaths. (Listen to the full story from Yidinji elder, Annie Wonga, here).

Of course, there are a number of the natural features of the waterways around the Babinda Boulders that lead to dangerous conditions for swimming, like the fast-running water pinning people under the masses of rocks and logs, as well as the fact the water is highly oxygenated, making it super difficult to stay afloat. But the thing is, 16 of the 17 people who have died at the spot were all male. The only woman included among the total allegedly drowned further upstream from its icy waters. Strange, no?

After another death in 2008, the pool and its surrounding area was declared off limits and no further deaths have happened since.

#4 The diving tarantulas of Maningrida, NT

 

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In horrifying news for arachnophobes, a small town in West Arnhem Land made headlines in 2015 after international media picked up the fact that the world’s largest population of tarantulas were living there. But actually, the Maningrida diving tarantula was discovered 10 years prior to that by local children during a scientific excursion.

Diving tarantula, you may ask? Why yes, these particular tarantulas are keen swimmers. You see, they live on a floodplain and coat themselves in mercury-like air bubbles to breathe underwater, so they can access their burrows when submerged during the wet season. No biggie.

It’s estimated there are 25,000 aquatic tarantulas that live along a single 10-kilometre stretch of floodplain, largely hidden from anyone other than the traditional Indigenous owners who control the lands.

Queensland Museum Archeologist Robert Raven has studied the arachnids since 2006. He told ABC the spiders were incredibly unusual, almost their own species: “They’re in the wrong family to do this. They should be among the fish”.

Another mystery is the fact they live in such close proximity, with some burrows a mere few feet away from one another – definitely not the norm. In fact, little is still known about the diving tarantulas and they’re yet to be scientifically named.

#5 Min Min lights, Boulia, Queensland

An outback town in western Queensland is a place of longstanding recounts of eerie-coloured orbs appearing after dark – a mysterious light phenomena that spooks the bejesus out of people.

The Min Min Hotel burned down in the early 1900s and legend has it that a stockman passing by the burning ruins saw a light orb rise up, which then chased him to the nearest station. That was the first known encounter of the Min Min Lights.

The lights have been described by witnesses as mostly white, but sometimes yellow, red, green and even blue. They appear as floating, fast-moving, fuzzy-edged balls that glow and follow people, leaving some feeling confused and frightened.

However, well-known scientist Dr Karl Kruszelnicki believes there is a simple explanation: that the Min Min lights are in fact caused by far away lights (such as headlights) being trapped in pockets of cold air. Way to ruin it, Karl!

(Lead Image: Instagram / @chelseahandasyde)