The platypus viewing area is a platform over Peterson Creek at Yungaburra is a great opportunity to spot one of Australia’s most elusive and timid animals in the wild.
It is estimated only around 10% of Australians see a platypus in the wild. Sometimes a water rat spotted is mistaken as a platypus. It is something I have had more than a few attempts to spot platypus and ending up leaving without seeing any.
We had the good fortune to spot a platypus from the Platypus Viewing Platform in the Atherton Tablelands. It was well worth coming back in the morning because the afternoon before we didn’t have the same good fortune.
Even more fortunate, we were rewarded with spotting another platypus on a walk leaving from the viewing area and following along Peterson Creek.
The first sighting was at the viewing platform itself, where we learnt how to look for the signs of a platypus. We had read the theory and now we gained some practical experience too.
The viewing platform is located only a few metres from the parking area. It conceals most of you with a section open to view through. Being so timid, it possibly helped to prevent unexpectedly startling the platypus.
We silently waited for 8 minutes before we started to see our first sighting. “I think I see something. Look, there are bubbles appearing on the surface over there and a ring of ripples coming out”. Sure enough, up popped a platypus and gave us a “glad we came back” moment.
Every leaf creating a set of ripples on the water gave us false hope from then on but we were treated with a few more glimpses as well.
There isn’t much more to do at the platypus viewing area. There is a seat next to a clump of bamboo and a photo stand-in of two platypuses. Of course, we had to have a self-made souvenir portrait as a couple of platypi. There is also a coin donation box to help contribute towards the upkeep of the viewing platform and a walking trail along the creek.
The walk along Peterson Creek starts at the viewing area, first crossing the creek next to the road before looping underneath the road to continue along the creek.
We ventured along the simple trail beside the creek and came across a couple of spots where the creek bent away from the trail and back again, creating a horseshoe-shaped bend with calm water – a prime spot for platypus to be found.
We waited for a little longer this time, around 15 minutes so not too long, but it was very much worth the extra wait.
The platypus spent a lot more time out compared to the first and gave us plenty of time to get photos and movie footage of swimming around in Peterson Creek.
It would disappear underwater and we had become quite the expert looking for the bubbles to spot where it would resurface.
At one point, the platypus climbed up onto a branch that was partially submerged, twisted its body around showing the underside of its bill, and had a good old scratch.
We were so pleased with our venture along the Peterson’s Creek Walking Track that we headed back to the platypus viewing platform to continue on our journey.
If we had continued further we would have come across some additional items of interest, including a suspension bridge over Peterson’s Creek at the other end of the walk.
To Get There
From Yungaburra Visitor Information Centre, head back to the main road (Gillies Range Rd) and turn right. After 450m, turn left into the parking area with the brown sign shortly before it.