Is Eungella National Park/Broken River the best place to see a platypus in Australia? Never had I imagined it could be this easy to find platypus in the wild. Were we extremely lucky? Maybe.
If you’re interested in seeing a platypus in Eungella National Park, here are a few tips.
1. Go to Broken River in Eungella National Park
Female platypuses stay their whole life in the same territory. A few call Broken River home, so you have a high chance to spot a platypus there. They have built a few platforms along the river to make it easy to know where to stop and wait.
We weren’t even looking for platypus yet when two appeared in the river below as we were crossing the bridge. We hadn’t reached the platform yet. And our luck never stopped that day. At each platform, at least two platypuses were hunting, and a few turtles were showing off too.
It’s not always like this. But I haven’t heard of other places with such a high number of platypuses. So if there is one place where you have the highest chances of seeing a platypus, I’d say it’s in Eungella National Park/Broken River.
Responsible travel tip: Like many native animals in Australia, platypuses face conservation threats. Drought, land clearing, polluted waterways, predators… They struggle in some places. But if you like spotting platypuses, you can help! Have you ever heard of citizen science? During your travels, you can help researchers by providing data. Check this out: platypusSPOT
2. Go at the right time
Platypuses are usually active at dusk and dawn as 98% of them hunt at night. So you’ll increase your chances if you go for the first lights before 8 am or after 3 pm.
Is it still worth going if you are not a morning person? We had a sleep-in and took our chance late in the morning, as we were told some of the specimens at Broken River had been active during the day. It had been cloudy and rainy a few days before our visit. This may have helped with our fabulous encounters.
3. Look for bubbles
The water clarity wasn’t good to spot platypus before they’d reach the surface. They don’t stay up there for long, so you’ll get better sights if you manage to know where the platypus will pop out.
The best way is to spot the bubbles the platypus makes when it’s underwater. It allows you to follow it without seeing it, and be alert when it finally comes up.
4. Be quiet
Platypuses are shy creatures. Even if the ones in Broken River are used to being watched, they still scare easy. You’ll have better chances of seeing a platypus from close if you keep the noise levels down and avoid sudden movement.
While we were on the platform under the bridge, a particularly noisy motorcycle passed over us and the platypus we were watching. It dived quickly and we didn’t spot it again!
5. Take your time
Don’t rush to go to another platform if you don’t see a platypus where you are straight away. They can stay underwater for a bit while they hunt.
If there are people on the platform, ask them if they’ve spotted a platypus here, or on another platform. People are usually keen to share their tips!
6. Learn about the platypus
If you understand better platypus behaviour, you might get better at spotting one. Knowing more about the species won’t just help to find the animals, it will enhance the experience once you finally get to see one.
There are signs in Broken River that will teach you a few things about the platypus. They are incredible animals. You can, of course, also read a lot about it online. But a guided tour* is often the best and most fun way to learn about the environment you’re visiting. We had a fantastic time learning about them before our dive in Finch Hatton.
Have you seen a platypus in Eungella National Park or Broken River? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where is Eungella National Park/Broken River?
Broken River is in Eungella National Park, about one hour drive from Mackay in North Queensland.
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