What you need to know about finding platypus in Eungella National Park

What you need to know about finding platypus in Eungella National Park


Eungella National Park can be found at the end of the Pioneer Valley in Northern Queensland approximately 80 km west of Mackay, and 858 km northwest of Brisbane. It is a steep drive up the Clarke Range which could be tricky if you are towing a caravan.

It is home to numerous species of animals including some which can be found nowhere else! Look out for greater gliders, tawny frogmouths, sugar gliders and brushtail possums. There are numerous species of birds in the park and when birdwatching look out for rainbow lorikeets, red-browed finches and blue-faced honeyeaters.

The forests at Eungella also provide a refuge for unusual frogs. Some such as the secretive Eungella tinkerfrogs are found only in the Clarke Range. Although they are a rare sight (according to the Queensland Government website all about Eungella) you may hear them around rocky creeks. Apparently they can be identified by a short series of metallic ‘tinks’.

Eungella National Park is also great for hiking with more than 20km of walking tracks. These vary from 30 minute easy walks to half day and day walks. Some of the walks form part of the Mackay Highlands Great Walk. Eungella is the starting point for the 56km Mackay Highlands Great Walk. There is basically a walk to suit everyone even me and I really hate hiking!!!

To find out more about the walks and safety information when visiting Eungella obtain a copy of the Mackay Highlands and Eungella National Park Visitor Guide from the Broken River information centre. Also check out the Queensland Government website all about 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 at Eungella National park - a rare sighting as the platypus emerges onto the surface of the water

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. As I mentioned earlier 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.

A map showing the distribution of platypus in Eastern Australia and Tasmania

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!





Platypus 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 lots 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, eastern long neck turtles and spotted quolls.

We were spooked on our first visit when a lot of rustling in in the forest turned out to be a bush turkey!!


bush turkey

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!)

How to see amazing Australian animals in Queensland


  • 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.
  • At Broken River there is an information centre, a small cafe and toilets.

Broken River Visitor Information Centre

534 Eungella Dam Road, Broken River QLD 4757
Phone: 07 4958 4745
Email: brkiosk@bigpond.com
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!

EUNGELLA NATIONAL PARK a view from the top!

  • 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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Author: Tracy

Tracy is your expert expat!

She has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)

With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Through down-to-earth stories, tips and advice (based on her own extensive knowledge and experience of life as an expat) she also aims to support new and prospective expats to survive and thrive in Australia.


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  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
      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
      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!?

    • TracyJane
      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!

    • TracyJane
      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
      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
      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 🙂

    • TracyJane
      October 23, 2017 / 9:34 am

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

  9. October 22, 2017 / 12:10 am

    I’m really enjoying your posts from Australia Tracy. Growing up an Aussie, the platypus didn’t seem like such an odd creature to us, LOL! Seeing it through your eyes, I guess it kinda is. 😉 Your videos are fab, very professional and dramatic. I’m looking forward to the next one!

    • TracyJane
      October 23, 2017 / 9:33 am

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

  10. 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.

  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
      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
      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

    • TracyJane
      October 28, 2017 / 12:37 am

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

  15. October 25, 2017 / 9:43 am

    We unexpectedly, and very luckily, saw a platypus in Tasmania whilst travelling quite a few years ago. They really are the oddest creatures, albeit strangely cute. And I never realised they were venomous! #farawayfiles

    • TracyJane
      October 28, 2017 / 12:37 am

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

  16. 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!

    • TracyJane
      October 28, 2017 / 12:36 am

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

  17. TracyJane
    October 28, 2017 / 12:39 am

    We are loving it Alexei its such a fantastic country!

  18. October 29, 2017 / 10:47 am

    What an interesting creature is this platypus! I’d never heard of it. There really live the weirdest creatures in Australia! Eungella National Park is one further National Park which has to go on our bucket list!

    • TracyJane
      November 5, 2017 / 4:52 am

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

  19. 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

  20. 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
      November 5, 2017 / 4:54 am

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

  21. 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 .