A Guide To Platypus Spotting Around Cairns

A Guide To Platypus Spotting Around Cairns

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 07/08/2024

Reading time: 2 mins

Discover the best spots to observe these majestic creatures near the tropical city.

One of Australia’s unique animals, the platypus, is a water mammal and one of the few mammals that lay eggs! Queensland is fortunate to host these beautiful creatures in some of its waters.

If you’re around Cairns, you might be lucky enough to encounter one, but spotting them can be challenging as they are quick and elusive! The prime times to try spotting a platypus are around dawn and dusk.

What to look for

Platypuses are typically elusive and swift. To increase your chances of spotting one, keep an eye out for bubbles, ripples, or a bow wave in the water. Platypuses swim close to the surface, so these signs could indicate their presence.

Where to see a platypus

These adorable aquatic creatures can be found along the East Coast of Australia, including Tasmania. They inhabit freshwater lakes, river systems, and streams where they create burrows for protection. Be prepared to wait patiently, as it may take up to an hour to spot one.

– Yungaburra

Just over an hour’s drive from Cairns, Yungaburra features the Platypus Viewing Platform at Peterson Creek, offering a chance to spot a platypus. Visitors have been fortunate to catch glimpses of platypuses as they surface above the water.

Another excellent viewing spot is along the creek itself. Keep watch for movements in the water, but don’t mistake it for a turtle! You could be lucky and spot a few wallabies nearby too.

– Atherton Platypus Park

Located about an hour and a half drive from Cairns, the stunning Atherton Platypus Park boasts Tarzali Lakes, where these adorable animals reside. There’s generally a high success rate of spotting a platypus here, although sightings are never guaranteed.

Visitors can explore independently or join a guided tour.

Other parts of Queensland

These locations aren’t the only homes to these cute platypuses in Queensland. Other popular spots include Mackay, known for the Platypus Trail, as well as Pioneer River in Marian, Maleny Platypus Viewing Platform, and Paluma Range National Park near Hidden Valley Cabins.

Remember to exercise patience, as these creatures are fast and well hidden in the water. If you’re having difficulty spotting one, consider visiting a zoo or sanctuary that houses platypuses, where you might have better luck seeing them up close.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.

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