Platypus Spotting in the Atherton Tablelands

There’s a lot of cool things in Australia, and our animals are certainly some of our coolest!

Australia is renowned for its eclectic selection of native species, but none are more elusive than the platypus. It’s thought that only 10% of Australians have glimpsed one of these creatures, but with a hearty dose of patience and the right information, you have a good chance of spotting them on the Atherton Tablelands near Cairns.

The Tablelands themselves offer incredible sprawling scenery, comprising of vast plateaus and bush lands. The exell as a stunning collection of flora and fauna to explore.

Where to Spot Platypus on the Atherton Tablelands

The best place to try your luck at spotting a platypus is from the designated viewing platform in Yungaburra. The platform sits above Peterson Creek and looks out over the surrounding scenery. The town’s local tourism information centre posts regular updates on platypus sightings and highlights daily sightings on a board.

From lookout, there’s a high chance you’ll be able to spot one of these elusive creatures. If you have no luck, head across the bridge and take the track that goes back underneath it. This is the way locals will tell you to see platypuses.

Here, it is quieter than on the viewing platform, and there is a creek to walk alongside which promises more opportunities of spotting the animals.

Dawn and dusk are the best times to catch a glimpse of the local platypus, and you might even get to see other animals like snakes and turtles at these times of day.

Tarzali Lakes at Minbun is another spot to see the critters. This part of the area is home to the Australian Platypus Park and offers visitors guided tours of the region throughout the day. They can’t promise you’ll get a sighting, but the chances are high.

What to Look Out for When Platypus Spotting

When you’ve found your location and are ready to spot some platypus, here’s what to look out for.

  • Watch the surface of the water to see if there are any ripples or bubbles – these indicate movement below the surface and could mean a platypus is nearby
  • Keep your eyes peeled for a bow wave that is produced by the paddling motion of the platypus’ front feet

Platypuses tend to swim low in the water with a very small amount of their body on show above the surface, so keeping alert to any kind of movement or difference in the water might mean the difference between spotting one of these magnificent creatures and missing them entirely. Either way, the Atherton Tablelands is a great place to try your luck at seeing them.

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