My partner and I were driving to Sydney from the Blue Mountains one Sunday when we were caught up in the most horrendous traffic jam. After inching along for half an hour or so we were diverted off the Great Western Highway….into another  dreadful jam.  Apparently there had been a major accident near the village of Blaxland.  Both eastward and westward  lanes of the highway were blocked.  It had occurred at about 11.00am and since it was now 1.30 pm we realized it must have  been pretty serious.  Probably a truck had turned over, we thought. That seems to happen a lot in the Blue Mountains.

It was only when we received our local paper a few days later  that we discovered it had not been  a truck accident, but a multi-car pile up involving four vehicles. The disruption continued until   the highway was finally reopened at 4.15pm.   Worse still,  eleven people  people were injured.  Six  ended up in hospital, one poor woman with serious injuries. What on earth could have caused such mayhem?


Part of the carnage.


Well, it all began when a  huntsman spider dropped from the internal  roof  of a car onto a 65 year old male driver. His age and gender are irrelevant of course.   In his panic he swerved, crossed into the westbound lanes and hit someone else. The second car then spun and crashed into  a further  two vehicles.

Now a huntsman spider is quite harmless.  It will rarely  bite, and  even if it does  the worst that might happen is a minor swelling.  But well….they are very LARGE;


Huntsman spider.  Huge, but harmless….well generally speaking!!

They come out during wet weather, and we’ve had a lot of that recently.  My husband Rob has removed several from our Blackheath living room over the last couple of weeks.  Mind you, he gently relocates  them in the garden so maybe it’s the same one popping back in.  Many  an Australian  driver has been spooked when a giant spider walks across their  windscreen, especially if it’s on the inside.


However, one actually falling  on your head is just a spider fright too far.

SPIDER TIP – Huntsman spiders like to creep under sun visors, so before you sit down, just reach up and pull it down. You could use a little stick rather than your hand if you are nervous. Of course it might run down the stick.

FOOTNOTE….I was bitten on the wrist by a huntsman once. It was hiding under the rim of a bucket I was rinsing at an outside  tap. It was a bit sickly and unable to run away, so it acted in justifiable  self-defense. Unlucky  that it hit a vein!

Spider bite.

Spider bite.

I suspect the Blue Mountains has more spiders than most places, but on the whole they don’t cause me much angst.  Click here to see the  wonderful residences they construct in  my own garden.



  1. How lucky you are to live in a land so rich in interesting spiders! 😉

  2. I can’t kill huntsman spiders but I admit I am really frightened of them. Years ago now, one dropped from the ceiling onto my sleeping baby in his cot near his face and I was torn between rescuing my baby and trying to remove the hairy creature using a hair broom without disturbing my son. I swished a bunny rug across it and it ran across his face and down to the other side of the cot. Screams from me. I was so frightened that I grabbed the baby out of his blankets and ran from the room. For the remainder of the day, he slept in his pram and when my husband came home he had to do a thorough shaking of all the cot bedding and mattress and, of course, the whole room before life could resume a normal pattern. Now that I live in USA, I don’t miss spiders one little bit, especially the huntsman which seemed to have inhabited the coastal areas of Queensland, or anywhere else in Australia, apparently. They have even hitchhiked in shipping containers to island nations to the east of Australia and they grow to a huge size in the tropics. Shivering as I write.

    • Pauline

      Oh Heather, what a story! I hope your baby didn’t grow up with a spider phobia. There was a spider (big, but not huntsman size) on my husband’s pillow this morning.

  3. What a terrible accident and hope the injured have all been making complete recoveries.
    I have to admit that if that spider had dropped down into my car there would have been an instant death; MINE! I’m terrified of big spiders, and I’m sure the sight of one of these on me would have had me ‘arresting’ in the blink of an eye.

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