Knowing an early start was needed to increase our chances for a platypus sighting, the alarm woke us at 5am! All my research indicated dawn and dusk were the best times to see this incredibly shy mammal. Above the surrounding sugarcane planted fields lay our destination, Eungella National Park, Queensland. We climbed high up into the cloud-shrouded mountain range. The steep road wound up through a mossy, dense subtropical rain forest filled with eucalyptus and huge palm ferns.
Broken River is a popular place for platypus spotting and we arrived early, very early we thought, it was only 7:30am! Early! Only a few people were gathered at the platypus viewing platform. No one had seen any platypus—yet. We all stood at attention, still, quiet, searching the water almost breathlessly. In these beautiful surroundings it felt like we were in a spiritual space, a sacred site. Turtles, an eel and many duck-billed ducks were easily spotted. Suddenly gasps were heard, fingers pointed and excited energy ran through our small gathering—Awww—it was only a river rat. No bill, webbed feet or floppy tail.
We were vigilant, but to no avail. We explored the nearby waterways, running into fellow platypus seekers who had luck no better than ours. One man looked at his watch, “You’re too late”, he declared confidently. The sign said best morning viewing was from 4am to 8am and it was after eight by then. Feeling extreme disappointment we resigned ourselves to filling our day with other activities and returning between 3pm and 7pm for the prime evening viewing. We slunk to our car and drove off.
Global Wanderers once posted something about talking to the locals. What were we thinking giving up so soon? That’s not like us! Still shrouded in doubt as thick as the clouds enveloping this mountain we stepped into the local ‘Shop at the Top’.
Seeing our disappointment, Terry said emphatically, “Don’t believe what they say about not seeing them in the day, you can see them anytime”, and he proceeded to tell us about his secret spot.
Our clouds of doubt blown away; filled with new optimism and a spring in our step we turned back.
Hiking through the forest, alongside the river, we soon spotted the crop of rocks creating the small open pool Terry had told us about. We walked along its edge, found the perfect spot to scan the entire pool and stood motionless. Within minutes we saw a tiny steam of bubbles emerging from the bottom of the still water, followed by another and another! This is what we were looking for! Suddenly, gliding up to the surface so smoothly and quietly, barely noticeable, our platypus popped up! Had we not been so vigilant we could have easily missed it. Hooray! It was all I could do to silence my excitement! We had done it! With eyes bugged out and my smile wrapped from ear to ear, the platypus and I—BOTH silly looking critters!
We observed at least two platypuses, (or platypi), bubbling and bobbing to the surface. After floating for only a few seconds, they would quickly duck-dive back down to feed on the bottom of the pool, leaving us scanning the surface again for more bubbles. Because of their ability to stay submerged for ten to twenty minutes at a time we continued our observation for over two hours, no one else in sight; this was our special treat alone! Grateful to our new friend, Terry, for igniting our persistence; we left fully satisfied. Our platypus quest complete, it must be time to leave Mackay!
Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.
¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆
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