The amazing wildlife of Peterson Creek Walking Track. A quick guide to the Platypus, Tree Kangaroo and other captivating creatures found here.
The Atherton Tablelands is hands down one of our favourite spots in Australia! There is literally so much to see and do in the area. For outdoor lovers, there’s some truly fascinating flora and fauna to discover, crater lakes to explore and hikes to undertake. And without doubt, one the best places to start is at the Peterson Creek Walking Track in Yungaburra.
For most people it is the lure of the unique Platypus that brings them to Peterson Creek. And rightly so, it is one of the best places in Queensland to see one of Australia’s most bizarre species. But we’re about to show you there’s SO MUCH more to Peterson Creek than you ever imagined! And why this little track is a must for any wildlife lovers!
About Peterson Creek Walking Track
Peterson Creek hasn’t always been like this. Twenty years ago it looked nothing like what we see today! But what we find now is a brilliant example of a biodiversity conservation project success story. To quote the signage ‘the project’s aim was to improve the creeks riparian zone and native habitat by planting local rainforest trees and shrubs‘. Community, landholders and the government have worked together over the last two decades to create a continuous corridor of forest habitats along Peterson Creek, joining the Curtain Fig/Yungaburra National Parks to Lake Eacham Crater lakes as part of the Peterson Creek Wildlife Corridor Project.
The Peterson Creek Wildlife and Botanical Walking Track now takes you on a meandering journey along this biodiverse corridor. There’s something for everyone with interpretative signage, historical objects, picnic areas, a lovely suspension bridge and of course stunning flora and fauna all around.
Trail Type: One-way (point-to-point)
Start Point: Gillies Highway Platypus Viewing Platform or the cemetery on Mulgrave Road *
Finish Point: The cemetery on Mulgrave Road or Gillies Highway Platypus Viewing Platform *
* Can be done in either direction
For us, it’s the unique and abundant fauna in particular, that really blows us away. And we keep coming back, hoping to find more! Here’s just some of the wildlife we’ve found so far.
Peterson Creeks main drawcard is the instantly recognisable Duck-billed Platypus and the reason for most peoples visit. The slow moving creek and now healthy riparian zones (land alongside the creek) makes the perfect Platypus habitat, allowing a reliable area for Platypus spotting. Every time we visit Peterson Creek, we see a Platypus and it never gets old. Just remember move slowly, keep quiet and look out for signs of bubbles or ripples and movement on the surface.
Checkout our guide – Finding the platypus of Peterson Creek – The ultimate guide.
There are two species of Tree Kangaroo in Tropical North Queensland – Bennett’s and Lumholtz’s. In the Atherton Tablelands it’s the smaller of the two species that can be found – the Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo. And at Peterson Creek, there’s a few sections along the track where you have a reasonable chance of finding these rarely seen creatures. Not nearly as easily seen as the resident Platypus, we were excited to find four of these tree-dwelling macropods on a recent walk along the creek.
Other Mammals of Peterson Creek
It’s not just Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroos hiding high up in the tree tops. Spectacled Flying-Foxes (Spectacled Fruit Bat) can also be found ‘hanging around’ in their daytime camps along the creek. This now endangered species is generally heard long before they are seen as they can be very noisey! To find them simply follow their quarrelsome shrieks and squeals as they squabble in nearby trees.
Several species of possum’s can be found along the Peterson Creek Walking Track. The revegetated area can be a good place to spot Green Ringtail Possums as they sleep during the day on the horizontal branches. But you’ll have to look very carefully as these stocky creatures are not easy to see. We’ve also come across both Coppery Brushtail and Common Brushtail Possum along this walking track.
Reptiles of Peterson Creek
There’s plenty of Saw-shelled Turtles at Peterson Creek which causes a bit of confusion and short-lived excitement for Platypus spotters. Trust us, they are easily mistaken at first glance as they rise to the creeks surface. We’ve seen Australia’s largest dragon lizard, the Australian Water Dragon’s along the riverbanks on a couple of occasions. And if you’re out looking for Possums on a night walk keep your eyes peeled for the exceptionally well-camouflaged Northern Leaf-tailed Gecko. Active by night they hide in plain sight. But their lichen-like patterns and broken outlines make them very tricky subjects to spot!
Birds of Peterson Creek
The avifauna in the Wet Tropics of Far North Queensland is the most populous in Australia. So unsurprisingly Peterson Creek is also a bird lovers dream. With well over 100 different bird species known to frequent this area, you can tick off many of the Tablelands species here alone. Endemics like the Spotted Catbird, Macleay’s Honeyeater and Bower’s Shrike-thrush can be found in Peterson Creek.
Some other more common and colourful birds include Pale Yellow and Eastern Robins, Rufous Whistlers, Red-browed Firetails, Scaly-breasted and Rainbow Lorikeet and the particularly photogenic Olive-backed Sunbird. There’s multiple other species of Honeyeaters including the smallest – the Scarlet Honeyeater, which can be easily found when the Bottlebrush are flowering. A favourite with us, the males are really eye-catching, with a bright red coloration on their heads which extends down onto their back and breast. And as with all Platypus viewing experiences in Queensland, keep your eyes peeled for vibrant blue Kingfishers darting by. The variety of birdlife here is spectacular!
We simply adore this little wildlife and botanical walking track! The Platypus alone are more than enough reason to visit. But once you arrive, you’ll find that Peterson Creek has so much more to offer. Hopefully like us you’ll find and fall in love with all the flora and fauna in this amazing part of the Atherton Tablelands. Thank you to the Yungaburra Landcare Group for what you have created here!
Like this post? Then pin it! Heading to Atherton Tablelands? Then pin this one too!
Planning a trip to Queensland? Check out our blogs to help you plan the perfect trip