The answer to the question ‘Where to Find Platypus’ is of course AUSTRALIA, or more specifically the East Coast of Australia.
We are Australian and until recently had not seen a platypus in the wild. On our latest Queensland Road Trip that all changed and we saw so many Platypus. It was incredibly exciting and really quite easy to do. It’s all about knowing where you can find platypus and when is the best time to look for them. In case you are wondering, the plural of Platypus is platypuses or simply Platypus.
What You Will Find in This Post
Where to find Platypus in Queensland
- Broken River Eungella near Mackay (Confirmed sighting by BTT)
- Yungaburra Atherton Tablelands (Confirmed sighting by BTT)
- Maleny, Sunshine Coast Hinterland (Still Looking but I know they are there)
While the above spots are known platypus habitats, it is logical that they could also live in nearby rivers and creeks – the more isolated the better.
We saw the most platypus at Broken River Eungella, 85 km inland from the coastal town of Mackay in Queensland. Officially, Platypus live in fresh water creeks, usually not fast flowing. If the creek runs into a Lake they could also live in the Lake and have been known to live in Dams.
Platypus dig burrows into the riverbank just above water level, but they are well disguised and mostly not visible. They live in their burrows when not hunting and swimming.
Interesting Facts about Platypus
Also known as duck billed platypus and weighing between 1 and 3 kg, these water loving egg laying mammals are both cute and weird looking.
Their warm thick coat is impervious to water, their Suede like flat bill is flexible and their paddle-like tail, full of fat. Platypus feet are webbed in front to paddle while back feet act as rudders.
Originally hunted for their lush fur, Platypus have been protected since 1905.
The female platypus lays eggs, keeping them inside for 28 days before curling around them after they leave her body for the final 10 days.
The male has poisonous spurs on it’s rear feet. The poison is not deadly to humans but causes extreme pain and some effects may be felt for months.
A Platypus diet consists of hunting worms, larvae, fish and yabbies via electric fields caused by the muscle movement of the prey. Yes Platypus are carnivores.
Platypus are nocturnal so are likely to be seen very early morning or late afternoon. The exception to this rule is cloudy overcast days when they are spotted randomly. If you only have daylight hours available, try looking beneath bridges or in the shade of overhanging trees.
Where to find Broken River Platypus
Broken River Platypus can be found in Eungella National Park, a Tropical and Sub-Tropical Rainforest approximately one hour west of Mackay in North Queensland.
The drive through the Pioneer Valley is very scenic with sugar cane farms and small towns. After climbing the 686 metres to Eungella there are great views back down the Valley. It is going to be cooler than the coast so remember a coat.
Broken River is another 5 km further on from Eungella. Broken River Picnic Area has paths, boardwalks and viewing platforms with Information Boards with Cafe and Broken River Visitors Information Centre nearby.
From the Carpark and Information Centre, short National Park paths lead along the river bank to a major viewing platform on the left and another to the right beneath the road Bridge. Pedestrians can also look down from the bridge to this same section of river.
When to see Platypus at Broken River
I’ve included times and dates as a reference.
- 4.20 pm on a rainy 7th August. We saw platypus at the main viewing area but they were at the far end of the pool and even when walking on informal tracks to the far end of the pool we weren’t close enough for good photos. On the way back at 4.46 pm there was action in a section of river before the main pool where we saw some fairly close action. We didn’t have our good camera with us then, but returned the next day prepared for more action.
- 10 am and 2 pm on the 8th August – no sightings.
- 4.45pm 8th August – good sightings in the pool beneath the road bridge. We photographed from the Viewing Platform beneath the road Bridge. Although we spoke to others who had seen platypus downstream we didn’t on this occasion.
- Wait at least 10 minutes at each viewing spot and try not to make a noise.
How Platypus Hunt
This is relevant as hunting time is when sightings are common.
- Platypus blow bubbles into the muddy river bottom to disclose food.
- In deep water concentrated bubbles coming to the surface are a good indicator.
- In shallower streams look for bubbles followed by muddy cloud of water.
- Afterwards Platypus pop up like magic to float, chew and swallow.
- They only stay on the surface for about ten seconds, so these indicators are important. Platypus eat 20% of their body weight daily and if you are lucky they will go through this sequence repeatedly, enabling plenty of photo opportunities.
It is more difficult than you would think to get good photos, mainly because parts of their bodies remain submerged.
Some Tips for Platypus viewing at Broken River Eungella
- Drive from Mackay to Broken River.
- Aim for arriving early morning or late afternoon. We found it worked well to arrive late afternoon, stay a day and leave the following morning.
- They are only about 45cm long.
- There are two National Park Campgrounds right at Broken River and some nearby State Forest camping options.
- Dogs are not allowed in National Parks. If you’re travelling and camping with a dog we suggest staying at Finch Hatton Showgrounds. Dogs are allowed on a lead and doggy day care is offered by the Campground Caretakers. The Showgrounds are also well-positioned for walks in Finch Hatton Gorge.
- Feeding Platypus is not allowed.
- Viewing Platypus is free and Park Entrance is free.
- Check weather conditions and take a coat, umbrella or poncho if rain is expected.
- Platypus are not put off by rainy conditions.
Read where to see Kangaroos in the Wild in Queensland.