Finding platypus in Eungella National Park

Finding platypus in Eungella National Park

A guide to finding Platypus in Eungella National Park


duck billed platypus at eungella national park

Just saying the name Duck billed Platypus tells you that this is one strange creature! It was such an oddity that when descriptions and even real specimens reached Europe in the 19th century that it was declared a hoax! To be honest when you first see one for real it is hard to believe it isn’t some sort of elaborate hoax by mother nature – a bill like a bird, a tail of a beaver, teeny little eyes  and such big feet!

finding platypus

So one of our first adventures after arriving in Mackay was  a day out finding platypus in Eungella National Park. How could we resist the lure of such a  creature!

The duck billed platypus can only be found in Australia and even in Australia they are not widespread. There are only a few places you have a small possibility of seeing one. And one of those places is at Broken River in Eungella National Park in Northern Queensland. Eungella is an hour’s drive west of Mackay so if you are heading to the Mackay region be sure to add it to your itinerary. (If you don’t know where Mackay is then check out my post all about our ex-pat experiences so far in this Northern Queensland town)

Platypus distribution (Native distribution in red, small introduced population in yellow)

At Broken River there are special viewing platforms where you can sit patiently and wait for that first incredible siting! We have visited 3 times now with a 2/3 success rate. Sadly for my daughter on her one visit they didn’t appear despite us all sitting patiently for over an hour!

So what are platypus? These creatures are classed as a monotreme. It is only one of 5 species of mammals who lay eggs rather than give birth to live young. (The other 4 species are echidna) They are small – 43 cm on average for females and 50 cm for males and covered in a thick brown fur. They are semi-aquatic and carnivorous.

The platypus is also (and I love this!!) venomous!!! Well it lives in Australia so it HAD to be!! The male platypus has a spur on its hind foot that delivers venom!

As well as finding duck billed platypus at Eungella National Park there are 25km of graded walking trails through magnificent sub-tropical rainforest to tackle in the park.

Other animals that can be found in the park include possums, pademelons (what is that you are asking!!!!!It is a small marsupial!), eastern long neck turtles and spotted quolls(yep I know – another weird marsupial only found in Australia!!You couldn’t make this stuff up…..)

We were spooked on our first visit when a lot of rustling in in the forest turned out to be a bush turkey!! (Thank goodness as I had visions of catching my husband in my arms if it was a snake!)

is it a quoll? is it a pademelon? no it is just a bush turkey!

There are also lots of beautiful birds to spot – there is a comprehensive list of the 227 birds you could spot at the park at eungella.com so print it off and tick them off as you go! (Get a book too so you know what they actually look like – I now know at least 10 species of bird I had no idea existed before moving to Australia – this includes the plover a bird to be avoided if you wear a toupee!)

You may be interested in reading – Where to find Australian animals in their natural habitat in Queensland


Facts and tips for finding platypus!


(and other useful stuff!)

  • The duck billed platypus is a shy animal and can be difficult to spot – the best time to get a chance of seeing one is at sunrise or sunset (though a cloudy day may also prove succesful).
  • The plural of platypus is platypuses (though I think platypi sounds so much better!)
  • As I mentioned there are only a few places where you can have a chance of finding platypus in the wild and Eungella National Park and Finch Hatton Gorge are some of the most reliable. More information about Finch Hatton Gorge coming soon!
  • At Broken River there is an information centre and a small cafe as well as toilets.

Broken River Visitor Information Centre

534 Eungella Dam Road, Broken River QLD 4757
Phone: 07 4958 4745
Email: brkiosk@bigpond.com
Web: www.brokenriverkiosk.com.au
Opening Hours:
10am-4pm, 7 days a week

  • Prepare for the drive up to Eungella to be  steep one (it is 686 metres above sea level)! Once at the top the view over the Pioneer Valley is rather beautiful!

  • Take a picnic! Or book accommodation and stay in the park – camping, cabins and hotel options are all available.
  • Check out the official website which details accommodation and and other facilities in the Eugella area.

For more information about the Mackay region visit mackayregion.com and/or drop into the visitor’s centre in Mackay where the helpful staff will give you all the information you need to have a great holiday!

Mackay Visitor Information Centre

320 Nebo Road, Mackay Q 4740
Phone: 1300 130 001
Email: bookings@mackayregion.com
Web: www.mackayregion.com
Opening Hours:
9am – 5pm, 7 days a week


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Finding platypus

Finding platypus


46 Comments

  1. Linda Tallett
    October 16, 2017 / 11:52 am

    Great post Tracy!! Amazing and unusual creatures out there in Oz ?. Great to hear all about them and hope to see some of them for ourselves one day.

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 18, 2017 / 9:00 pm

      Definitely Linda – the wildlife is one of the reasons I am enjoying Oz!

  2. Jenny Guest
    October 16, 2017 / 12:42 pm

    FB post Tracy thank you – opens your eyes to amazing things in the world?

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 18, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      Thanks Jenny glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  3. October 17, 2017 / 1:06 pm

    This sounds like so much fun!! Can you pleaseeee adopt me and take me on your next Australian adventure 😉

  4. October 17, 2017 / 6:17 pm

    The plural should so be Platypi!! And I had no idea they were venemous! It sounds like you are really exploring this new habitat of yours, and it also sounds like there is so much to explore too! I wonder if you will ever feel like you KNOW it!?
    Alex recently posted…Holiday Sickness Sucks! – Advice For Before, During And After.My Profile

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 18, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      It is still very alien Alex!

  5. October 18, 2017 / 8:23 pm

    We were at this same spot years ago, but you guys had more luck with the platypus. We hardly caught a glimpse of one, never even attempted a picture. They are such special creatures, aren’t they!
    Jurga recently posted…How To See The Best of Amsterdam in One DayMy Profile

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 18, 2017 / 8:58 pm

      They are fascinating! We have been lucky twice – the one time my daughter could do we had no luck!

  6. October 20, 2017 / 7:40 am

    I love the platypus. How amazing to see them in the wild. There’s a wildlife sanctuary just outside of Melbourne where you can see them swimming around in their environment. They are a lot smaller than I thought. If you are heading further north there are lots of opportunities to see them in the Cairns hinterland. And a few cassowaries and bush turkeys too! Thanks for joining #farawayfiles

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 23, 2017 / 9:36 am

      Hoping to get further north next year – when its a little less hot and humid! Can’t wait!

  7. October 21, 2017 / 12:08 pm

    I would totally love to go to Eungella National Park in search of the platypus! Too bad it’s not guaranteed that you can spot them but 2/3 seems like a good record. Thanks for the tip about going at sunrise or sunset for the best chance! #weekendwanderlust

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 23, 2017 / 9:35 am

      It is definitely worth a trip and the chances are good of seeing them!

  8. October 21, 2017 / 8:38 pm

    I had no idea that they were venemous!? Or quite so small. I had always imagined them being bigger! Looks like you’re having an amazing time exploring Australia. Can’t wait to read more of your adventures 🙂
    Michael – The Boys Abroad recently posted…4 Days Sighseeing on MaltaMy Profile

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 23, 2017 / 9:34 am

      I think they are bigger in NS Wales – I know I don’t know they were venomous either!!

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 23, 2017 / 9:33 am

      Thanks Shona – next will be my kangaroo post from Cape Hillsborough 🙂 Glad you are enjoying the posts 🙂

  9. October 22, 2017 / 6:54 pm

    I loved the vision of your husband jumping into your arms if you had spotted a snake! Sounds like a great day of adventure.

  10. October 23, 2017 / 5:21 pm

    Platypus is pretty much the only animal I haven’t seen in the wild in Australia – so this makes me super jealous! I’ve heard a lot of good things about Eungella and I would love to visit some time to hopefully spot the star attraction! Sound like you had an awesome time and are making the most of your time in Australia already!
    Travel Lexx recently posted…Hiking in Peneda-Gerês National Park – PR7/Trilho de São BentoMy Profile

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 28, 2017 / 12:39 am

      We are loving it Alexei its such a fantastic country!

  11. October 23, 2017 / 6:31 pm

    What an interesting animal! I’d love to be able to see a platypus in the wild. I had no idea about venom, especially on the male foot!

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 28, 2017 / 12:39 am

      I know that is something I just found out!

  12. October 23, 2017 / 9:07 pm

    Searching for a platypus sounds like quite an adventure. I would be disappointed if I went home without seeing one. I don’t know how I’d feel if I saw one but didn’t photograph it! It’s good there are other things to photograph too, like the turkey!

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 28, 2017 / 12:38 am

      We were so lucky and the third time the one we saw surfaced right in front of us! Was so exciting!

  13. October 23, 2017 / 10:26 pm

    This is fabulous! I love any odd animal, so now platypus searching is on my bucket list. Great you’ve been able to see them 2/3 times! Sounds like you’ve been lucky. Enjoy your adventures 🙂

  14. October 24, 2017 / 12:24 pm

    What a fun activity, Tracy! I’d love to see a platypus. I think that so many of the creatures in Australia look like they belong in the pages of a children’s book – it’s hard to believe that they’re really real. My kids would love this. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted…The Harry Potter Guide to LondonMy Profile

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 28, 2017 / 12:37 am

      Ah yes i bet the kids would love looking for them! Such wonderful animals to see in Australia!

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 28, 2017 / 12:37 am

      That must have been amazing! They are very cute and weird at the same time!

  15. October 25, 2017 / 11:29 am

    We would love to see a platypus! We have a horrible record of spotting wildlife, though. Hopefully, your tips will help if we ever get the chance to go hunting for platypusesesss… Nope, we like Platypi, too. 🙂 Thanks for sharing on #WeekendWanderlust and #FeetDoTravel!
    Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) recently posted…Favorite Travel Quotes: How Much I Haven’t SeenMy Profile

    • TracyJane
      Author
      October 28, 2017 / 12:36 am

      Thanks – me too sounds sooo much better! Good luck when you do get the chance!

    • TracyJane
      Author
      November 5, 2017 / 4:52 am

      They really do Marcelle! Lots of amazing animals to see here!

  16. November 2, 2017 / 5:45 am

    Oh my goodness Tracy, I am OBSESSED with platypus (platypi?)! They’re so fascinating and adorable! I can’t believe you got to go find them! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday – hope to see you again this week! xo

  17. November 2, 2017 / 6:01 pm

    THis is amazing. What a dream come true. My hubby is Aussie and his family live in the Gold Coast. I must get him to take me here when we go back! hope to see you at Fly Away friday tomorrow!

    • TracyJane
      Author
      November 5, 2017 / 4:54 am

      Definitely! Fly up to Mackay and explore the area – lots to see here!

  18. November 14, 2017 / 6:37 am

    This is a great post about Platypus hunting. Heard this creature troubled scientist 19th to 20th century. Big eyes, a mammals, duck beak etc. Mother nature is amazing isn’t it?. And aslo while reading this article I noticed Australia has lot of these kind of amazing creatures in the world. I mean they have Platypus, Kangaroos, snakes, Great barrier corals etc. Thanks for the the great post and images and videos. This is an informative article about platypus. Thanks for sharing .

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