WALKS & WILDLIFE OF EUNGELLA NATIONAL PARK

Platypus - Wildlife from Eungella National Park

Walks and wildlife of Eungella National Park. A guide to the best things to see and do in Eungella National Park and where to find it all.

The amazing Eungella National Park is found in the Mackay Highlands, an hour west of Queensland’s Mackay. Eungella (pronounced young-galah) meaning ‘land of the clouds’ in the local Aboriginal language is considered to be the longest continual stretch of sub-tropical rainforest in the country. This often mist-shrouded rainforest has enormous biological diversity. Over 850 plant species can be found here and it’s home to huge variety of Australian rainforest fauna, some of which you’ll find no where else! And it also happens to be one of the best places to see the iconic Duck-billed Platypus in the wild.

Packed full with native flora, unique fauna and kilometres of enticing bushwalking trails this is one of the most fascinating and ecologically diverse National Parks we have ever explored. We absolutely loved it here! So if you’re into your walks and wildlife get yourself over to Eungella National Park.

Walks of Eungella National Park

There are some absolutely stunning walks around in this part of the Mackay Highlands. From quick 5 minute lookout circuits to the mighty 3-5 day Mackay Highlands Great Walk. Hiking is undoubtedly one of best and most popular things to do in Eungella National Park.

Eungella National Park short walks map - Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
Map courtesy of Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Click here for a Eungella National Park short walks map (PDF, 1.1 MB)

For the majority of people coming here, it’s the shorter walks that appeal the most. They are perfect to tack onto a day trip and combine with some platypus viewing for a nice family friendly nature fix – nothing too strenuous or time consuming! So here’s a look at 6 awesome options for some of the shorter walks on offer here:

River Walk

Distance: 520m (one-way)
Trail Type: One-way (point-to-point)
Grade: 1
Time: 10min (each way) – But allow far longer for platypus viewing!

This is part of a boardwalk track that everyone walks along, intentionally or otherwise in search of platypus. It links the Fern Flat Camping Area to the Rainforest Discovery track via the Broken River Visitor Area. It’s a beautiful track along the river with informative signage and plenty of platypus viewing areas.

River Walk viewing platform on the  Broken River - Eungella National Park

For more on when, how and where to find platypus here checkout our guide: The platypus of Broken River – Eungella National Park

Rainforest Discovery Circuit

Distance: 780m
Trail Type: Circuit (Return)
Grade: 3
Time: 20min (Approx)

Starting (and finishing) at the Broken River Picnic Area, this is another short and easy track for anyone wanting a flora fix. With plenty of signage about, this is a lovely little walk to see and learn about the rainforest plants all around, like the fascinating Epiphytes and the Livistona australis (Cabbage Tree Palms).

Rainforest Discovery Circuit - Eungella National Park

Granite Bend Circuit

Distance: 1.6km
Trail Type: Circuit (Return)
Grade: 3
Time: 30-45min

This is a good extension to add onto the above Rainforest Discovery Track. Half of the circuit follows the Broken River, offering more platypus viewing opportunities and nice views at the granite bend. The second half takes you back through shady rainforest. We saw lots of Wompoo Fruit Doves about during our walk.

Granite Bend Circuit - Eungella National Park

Sky Window

Distance: 250m
Trail Type: Circuit (Return)
Grade: 1
Time: 5-10min

An easy one, not to be missed, this short circuit takes you past a couple of stunning lookouts with views over the magnificent Pioneer Valley. There was plenty of birdlife in the car park area too.

Sky Window - Eungella National Park

Cedar Grove Track

This is the one for that ‘Insta’ pic standing under the iconic Strangler Fig tree arch! This lovely one-way walk takes you through beautiful rainforest flora with plenty more Cabbage Tree Palms and past the hikes namesake, the mighty Red Cedar.

Distance: 2.8km (one-way)
Trail Type: One-way (point-to-point)
Grade: 3
Time: 60min – each way (Approx)
Cedar Grove Track - Eungella National Park

Pine Grove Circuit

Another nice walk near the township of Eungella, it’s best added to the Cedar Grove Track or done separately when driving in or out of Eungella National Park. A highlight for us was seeing two large Flying Fox colonies found along this walk.

Distance: 1.6km
Trail Type: Circuit (Return)
Grade: 3
Time: 45min (Approx)
Pine Grove Circuit - Eungella National Park

Wildlife in Eungella National Park

The unique environment in this part of the Mackay Highlands is home to a wealth of wildlife. Here’s some of the fauna we were lucky enough to find and a bit about some of the other special species also found here.

Platypus

It’s the platypus of Broken River that brings the vast majority of people to Eungella. It’s fair to say that platypus spotting is without doubt the most popular things to do at Eungella National Park. And for good reason. We rate this as the best place to see them in Australia.

Platypus - Broken River

For some tips, tricks and the best spots to see Platypus here checkout our guide – The platypus of Broken River – Eungella National Park

Other mammals

Eungella National Park was the first place we saw the shy Red-Legged Pademelons. During the early mornings and evenings we had fleeting glimpses on the River Walk. But they were easier to find by night in the deserted Fern Flat Campsite.

Red-legged Pademelon - Fern Flat Camping Area

The area around the Fern Flat campsite and along the Broken River was also a good place to spotlight for Bandicoots. Both Northern Brown Bandicoot and Long-Nosed Bandicoot are common here. The latter, like the above pademelons were also easily found around the campsite after dark.

Long-nosed Bandicoot - Fern Flat Camping Area

There are several species of bats found in Eungella National Park. The noisey Flying-Foxes were straightforward enough to find on the Pine Grove Circuit, where we saw two different species. At the time of our visit, there were two large and loud colonies. Just listen out for their squabble-some shrieks to find them.

Pine Grove Circuit - Flying Foxes

Reptiles & Amphibians

When searching for platypus, you may come across a few reptiles in the water. More readily seen than the platypus, turtles are easily spotted in the Broken River, particularly the Saw-shelled turtle. We were also stoked to see our first Keelback (Freshwater) snake. These are Australia’s only non-venomous, semi-aquatic snake.

Keelback (Freshwater) Snake - Broken River

Three out of four nights of heavy rain severely limited our planned nightly gecko and frog hunts. But there are several gecko species here we would loved to have seen including the endemic Eungella Leaf-tailed Gecko. There’s also a huge variety of frog species, with plenty of our favourites the Tree-frogs and even a few endemics like the Eungella Tinkerfrog. A very good reason to come back.

Birdlife

Over 100 species of birds are recorded in Eungella National Park. You can’t miss the Australian Brushturkey’s with their bare red heads and dangly yellow throat wattles. They are often found making a mess, raking leaf litter all over the paths. Colourful little birds like the Eastern Yellow Robin and Red-Browed Firetail are equally common. And listen out for the flamboyant Wompoo Fruit-Doves. Their distinctive “Wom-Pooooo” calls (after which they are named) will lead you to them. Another bird you may not see, but will surely hear is the Eastern Whipbird. Their amazing “whip-crack” calls are astounding.

Wompoo Fruit-Dove in Eungella National Park
Azure Kingfisher on the Broken River Bridge

We would love to have found the beautiful Regent Bowerbirds here, where they are said to be frequently sighted. But it wasn’t to be. We were however lucky enough to see an endemic Eungella Honeyeater. With the smallest range of any bird species in Australia (only Eungella National Park and the surrounding state forests) you won’t find them anywhere else. Another highlight for us was when an Azure Kingfisher landed only a two metres from us as we were busy searching for platypus from the bridge!

Where to stay at Eungella National Park

As ever we were eager to camp right in the park. And here at Eungella National Park there are 2 Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) campsites to choose from. At mere $6.85 per adult and $3.75 per child per night, they are so affordable!

We camped for 4 nights at Eungella National Park. Torn between locations, we decided on two nights at Broken River camping area, followed by two nights at Fern Flat Camping Area. They were quite different settings, but both were lovely sites with great selling points. Broken River camping area, allowed us to literally roll at of our swag and watch the Platypus swim by – coffee in hand. The far quieter and more secluded Fern Flat Camping Area may just have shaded it with the aforementioned nocturnal wildlife sightings we had.

For those with high clearance and 4WD vehicles the nearby The Diggings camping area in Crediton State Forest is also said to be a lovely place to camp.

Checkout our friends Live2Camp and their camping directory with a difference. They have video footage from camping areas around Australia, showing the access and facilities to help you decide if a campsite is suitable for your needs. They have excellent footage and information from both Broken River camping area and The Diggings Campground.

In Summary

We loved getting ‘a little off track’ exploring one of Queensland’s most biodiverse rainforests. The walks and wildlife here surpassed our expectations. If you’re coming for the platypus alone, you definitely won’t be disappointed. But as our guide hopefully illustrates, there’s so many other awesome things to see and do here too and endless flora and fauna to be discovered. So make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy all the amazing Eungella National Park has to offer.

Useful information and packing essentials for Eungella National Park

  • Eungella National Park is 2WD accessible.
  • Maps are available from the information kiosk at Broken River.
  • It can get very wet here, so plan and pack accordingly. Of our 4 days here in August, 2 were complete washouts!
  • Be aware of leeches. A few certainly befriended us.
  • It’s important to consider your health, fitness and experience when choosing your hikes here.
  • As always, leave no trace and take all your rubbish with you and dispose of it correctly.
  • For all wildlife spotting really, but particularly platypus, try to keep noise to a minimum. Don’t make any sudden movements or they will be gone before you see them.

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3 Comments

  1. 2 March 2023 / 4:51 pm

    Eungella National Park seems like a true hidden gem that not many people know about. The diverse range of wildlife, especially the platypus sightings, and the scenic walking trails make it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts. I would love to explore this park and experience the beauty of this untouched wilderness.

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