Top tips for Platypus Spotting

It’s estimated only 10 percent of Australians have seen the elusive platypus but with a bit of time and a dab of patience you can spot this unique animal on the Atherton Tablelands.

There is a viewing platform in Yungaburra above Peterson Creek and the town’s tourism information centre posts daily sightings on a board. There’s a good chance you will see one at the lookout but locals will also tell you to head across the bridge and take a track under the bridge. It’s quieter and with a creek to walk beside there is more chance of spotting the animals.

It’s often said best viewing times are dawn and dusk and with a bit of luck, other animals such as snakes or turtles will be in the water.

Tarzali Lakes at Minbun on the Malanda-Millaa Millaa road is another good bet. Home to the Australian Platypus Park it offers guided tours with a qualified ranger on the half hour from 9am to 4pm. Sightings can’t be guaranteed but the success rate is very high.

If staying on the Atherton Tablelands, ask your hosts if they know of a creek or still pool where platypus are known to live.

Many wilderness retreats and lodges in the area have places on their property where you can sit and wait for a platypus to pop up in the water.

So, what to look for…

Watch the water surface for ripples or bubbles

Look for a notable bow wave produced by the animal’s front feet paddling.

They are not always easy to see – platypus swim low in the water with only a small part of their body showing and have excellent hearing.

But if “Ornithorhynchus anatinus” is on your bucket list, the Atherton Tablelands is one of the prime places in Australia to see these wonderful, curious creatures.