Some people claim that the drop bear is a tall tale created to scare gullible tourists who visit Australia. But with some truly fearsome creatures already in existence in the bush, outback and deserts of Australia, is a man-eating, tree-dwelling bear really so unbelievable? And are you willing to take the risk?
If you're undertaking a spot of New South Wales sightseeing, especially in amazing nature spots like the Royal National Park and the breathtaking Blue Mountains National Park, you might want to pack some Vegemite and keep your eyes trained on the trees above to avoid any encounters with this mysterious beast...
Locals in New South Wales will swear blind that drop bears are real. But have they seen these creatures with their own eyes, or are they simply pulling your leg?
Reputed to be a close relative of the koala, the drop bear is believed to be nowhere near as cute and harmless as its more famous, fuzzy Antipodean relative. Rather than munching on eucalyptus all day, the drop bear is rumoured to spend its time lurking in the treetops, waiting for its prey to pass beneath, whether that's a passing forest creature or an unsuspecting hiker…
Highly carnivorous, the drop bear is said to actively prey on humans, launching itself from the treetops to land on, maul and eat its victims. These creatures could attack at any moment, but don't worry – Australians claim there are many ways to improve your safety and avoid such attacks.
“Drop bear repellents” which are purported to be effective include (but are not limited to): smearing Vegemite behind your ears or under your armpits, speaking in an Australian accent (drop bears are more likely to attack tourists), singing (especially Australian songs such as Waltzing Matilda), hopping on one leg (to create the appearance of a kangaroo, a species drop bears don’t consider prey) and wearing a broad-brimmed hat to disguise yourself from above.
Admittedly, this advice does seem a little ridiculous. But you can never be too careful, eh Bruce?
Browse YouTube for “drop bear sightings” and you'll discover a wealth of footage documenting supposed drop bear attacks across not just New South Wales but Australia as a whole. From drop bears assaulting unsuspecting cyclists to “first-hand accounts” of narrow escapes from the creatures, there’s plenty of content out there pointing to the existence of drop bears. Surely even the the Australian sense of humour wouldn’t lead locals to create all these videos...
If you're keen to catch a drop bear in its natural habitat, many stories suggest that New South Wales is the best place to begin your quest. For the best chance of a sighting, head out into the amazing forests and national parks which surround Sydney, where you might also be able to spot koalas and wombats. And keep your eyes trained on the trees!
If you're hoping to see a drop bear in the flesh, Sydney is the perfect place to base your operations. A fantastic city for any getaway, Sydney is also within easy reach of some of the most stupendous scenery and natural habitats which New South Wales has to offer.
Hotels in Sydney are widely available for travellers of all tastes and budgets, whether you're backpacking on a shoestring or planning a decadent holiday complete with luxury hotel accommodation.
For big brand hotels and a central location, head for the central business district, but those looking for affordability and good transport links should check out the Central Station area. For a true taste of suburban Sydney and a cosy vibe, find a spot in Surry Hills, while for centrality and nightlife make a beeline for Kings Cross.
Located just 13 minutes from the city centre by train, Sydney Airport is easy to access, and hundreds of cheap flights to Sydney arrive at the transport hub every day. If you’re planning to make use of car hire in Sydney, the airport is a good pick-up point. You can drive into the city from the airport in just under 20 minutes in good traffic. There are also many convenient spots to collect hire cars in Sydney itself.
While public transportation around Sydney is very good, if you want to really make the most of your stay in New South Wales, picking up a car and exploring the incredible natural world (and drop bear habitat!) which lies just outside the city limits is absolutely essential. The very useful New South Wales national parks website is a trove of useful information which will help you discover some truly eye-popping views and amazing experiences, from hikes to sky dives.