Duck-billed Platypus in Queensland

3 Best places to find Platypus in Queensland. A complete guide to where and how to find wild Platypus in the Sunshine State.

The Duck-billed Platypus is one of Australia’s most instantly recognisable creatures and certainly one of it’s most extraordinary! It is said that when British naturalist George Shaw first saw a Platypus specimen in the 18th century, he was so puzzled he assumed it was an ‘elaborate hoax’. He apparently cut apart the taxidermied carcass, trying find where the bizarre assortment of body parts had been stitched together.

But we can assure you the strange looking Platypus is definitely no hoax. Found only in Australia the iconic Duck-billed Platypus is very real and one of the most amazing creatures you’ll ever lie your eyes on. And Queensland has 3 of the best places in Australia to find a Platypus in the wild. So if you need to ‘see it to believe it’, we’re going show you where and how to find them in the Sunshine State.

8 interesting Platypus facts

A Little Off Track Platypus Facts
1. They’re endemic to Australia and found only in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.
2. Queensland Platypuses are the smallest.
3. Like Echidna’s, the Platypus is a monotreme. This means the females produce offspring by laying eggs.
4. Male platypuses actually possess venom which they can use to fight other males during the mating season. Making them one of the world’s few venomous mammals!
5. As with sharks, platypus detect their underwater prey (prawns, crayfish and insect larvae) in their murky creeks using electronic impulses.
6. Platypus can stay underwater for up to 10 minutes.
7. Their large tails not only act as stabilisers while they swim, but they store fat in there for when food is scarce.
8. Platypus numbers are decreasing alarmingly due factors like to climate change (drought), habitat loss and introduced predators.

The best places to find a Platypus in Queensland

There are a number of good spots to find the elusive Platypus in Australia. And the continent’s northeast state of Queensland is one of, if not the best state to do so. But let’s not forget Queensland is massive. In fact it’s a whopping 1,727,000 square kilometres (1.727 million km²). To put that into context, thats about seven times the size of Great Britain! So if you’re wanting to find a Platypus in Queensland you need to know where to look!

To help you with your search, we’ve compiled a list of what we consider to be 3 of the best places to find a Platypus in Queensland. Here they are, from north to south:

  1. Peterson Creek – Yungaburra: Found in northeastern Queensland in the beautiful Atherton Tablelands*
  2. Broken River – Eungella National Park: – Nestled in the Clarke Range of the Mackay Highlands west of McKay*
  3. Carnarvon Creek – Carnarvon National Park: An oasis hidden in the semi-arid heart of Central Queensland*

* Click on the green link to bring up their exact location in Google Maps.

Peterson Creek Walking Track – Yungaburra

The Atherton Tablelands is probably our favourite part of Queensland. And lucky for us, it’s only a relatively short drive from our home, meaning we can visit regularly. So kicking off our list – 3 of the best places to see a Platypus in Queensland is ‘our local’ Platypus hotspot – Peterson Creek! There are many things we love about the Peterson Creek Wildlife & Botanical Walking Track in Yungaburra. But what makes it so special is the reliable resident Platypus population. In fact by ‘reliable’ we mean we have never visited the creek and not seen at least two Platypus, though usually far more! And we don’t mean miles in the distance, we mean literally only metres away!

Platypus from Peterson Creek Walking Track - Yungaburra

Thanks to a successful biodiversity conservation project, the slow moving creek and healthy riparian zones (land alongside the creek) now makes the perfect Platypus habitat. So the short 2.4km (one-way) Peterson Creek Walking Track leads you along a continuous corridor of native forest habitat in prime Platypus viewing territory!

For more details about spotting Platypus here take a look at our blog – Finding the platypus of Peterson Creek – The ultimate guide.

Duck-billed Platypus from Peterson Creek Walking Track, the best places to find Platypus in Queensland

What else might you find at Peterson Creek?

Peterson Creek isn’t just about the Platypus though. It’s home to a bounty of diverse wildlife! Another mammal topping everyones list at Peterson Creek is the rarely seen Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo. These along with Green Ringtail Possum and Australian Water Dragon are just some of the many other creatures seen here. And then there’s the amazing avifauna of the Wet Tropics of Far North Queensland. Around the creek alone you’ll find an abundance of birdlife.

Checkout our guide – The amazing wildlife of Peterson Creek Walking Track for more info on the fauna found here!

Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo from Peterson Creek Walking Track

Broken River – Eungella National Park

The Broken River of Eungella National Park (pronounced ‘young-galah’) is maybe the best of the best of the places to find a Platypus in Queensland, if not Australia. The short River Walk takes you along the seemingly platypus laden Broken River via several viewing platforms and decks. You can even camp right alongside them in the Broken River camping area, so you literally have Platypus right on your doorstep. Rightfully touted ‘as one top spots to find platypus’, we lost count of how many sightings we had in this park over our few days here.

Platypus in the Broken River - Eungella National Park, one of the best places to find Platypus in Queensland

One of the Broken Rivers real plus points for us is the Broken River Bridge. Spanning the river this lofty vantage point is the ultimate platypus viewing area. From here you can easily scan the river up and down for signs of platypus activity. It’s the most rewarding spot for finding and photographing platypus in our opinion. And we encountered some special platypus interactions from here. With a bit of patience it’s only a matter of time before one surfaces right below you.

For lots more information, tips and tricks about finding Platypus here take a look at our guide –Finding the platypus of Eungella National Park: A complete guide.

Amazing view of 2 platypuses underneath the water from Eungella National Park

What else might you find at Eungella National Park?

Described as one of ‘Queensland’s most ecologically diverse parks’ the flora and fauna here is amazing! There is so much more to Eungella National Park than just the Platypus. The countries longest stretch of sub-tropical rainforest is home to a wealth of wildlife including a number of species you’ll find no where else. Mammal, birds, amphibians and reptiles, Eungella’s got it all. But it’s not just the fauna, the flora is equally as special with Strangler Figs, Epiphytes and Cabbage Tree Palms to name a few. And with over 20km of walking tracks to find all of this, Eungella National Park is a nature lovers dream.

Don’t miss our blog – Walks and wildlife of Eungella National Park

Carnarvon Creek – Carnarvon National Park

The most southerly located on our list of 3 of the best places to find a Platypus in Queensland is Carnarvon Creek in Carnarvon National Park. The ‘oasis in the semi-arid heart of Central Queensland’ is for us one of the most epic National Parks in the country! Carnarvon Gorge’s walks and wildlife blew us away. Along with awesome hikes, our favourite thing to do here was to find and photograph the amazing Duck-billed Platypus. And we found a couple of really good places to do that. The most popular spot to find them is in Carnarvon Creek at the edge of the what was Takarakka Bush Resort (now BIG4 Breeze Holiday Parks – Carnarvon Gorge) at around dawn and dusk.

Platypus from Carnarvon National Park one of the best places to find Platypus in Queensland

But without doubt our favourite spot was in the pool along the peaceful section of walking track that joins the Nature Trail to the Rock Pool. This almost always deserted spot is a fabulous place to enjoy the Platypus all to yourself. Not only this but they were happily swimming around only metres from us until almost midday in the cool July weather. The pool here also has great natural light, so a really nice place for Platypus photography in our opinion.

Don’t miss our guide Walks and wildlife of Carnarvon Gorge

Platypus in Carnarvon Creek, one of the best places to find Platypus in Queensland

What else might you find at Carnarvon National Park?

What usually entices most people to Carnarvon National Park is the stunning Carnarvon Gorge. There’s some awesome hikes in and around the gorge, particularly the famous Main (Carnarvon) Gorge Trail. That’s certainly what led us there. But what most people don’t expect is the sheer diversity and volume of wildlife here. This includes wallabies, kangaroos, Rufous Bettong, emu, Australian Bustard and so much more. It’s also a really reliable place to find Australia’s other monotreme – the Short-billed Echidna.

Echidna on the Nature Trail - Carnarvon National Park

Tips for finding platypus in Queensland

Ok, so before you begin your search, there’s a few things you can do increase your chances of finding a platypus in Queensland.

A Little Off Track Platypus Spotting Tips
1. Be quiet and slow moving. Platypus are shy, so loud noises and sudden movements scare them
2. Go at the right time (more details on that below)
3. Look for bubbles rising and movement under the surface to locate when and where one is coming up

4. Don’t be fooled by any Turtles. On, and as they surface they are easily mistaken for Platypus and the source of plenty of short-lived excitement
5. Be patient. Good things come to those who wait
6. Here’s a cheat one. If you see excited people grinning with their cameras pointed they’ve probably found one!

When is the best time to see a Platypus in Queensland?

  • As Platypus are nocturnal they are most active during the night and at dawn and dusk. So heading out early morning shortly after sunrise and/or from mid-afternoon onwards will offer you the best chance of spotting one. That said we have seen them throughout the day in all 3 locations, especially in the cooler times of year.
  • Try to avoid school holidays and weekend periods if you can as it can be a lot busier.
  • Avoid the really wet periods. During rain and after rainfall, drips from the overhanging vegetation continually disturbs the water. This makes looking for bubbles and movement on and under the surface significantly harder!

Our Summary

These three and very different locations have certainly provided plentiful platypus viewing opportunities for us, not to mention multiple other wildlife encounters. So if you’re looking for Platypus in Queensland make sure to checkout what we consider to be 3 of the best places to find them anywhere in Australia. They won’t let you down!

If this guide helped in anyway, please do let us know in the comments section!

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