We did battle with Queensland’s national park campsite booking system and secured ourselves a spot at Broken River in Eungella National Park (pronounced Young-ga-la). Located just 80km west of Mackay it is an easy drive apart from one very steep windy section up the mountainside.
There are no facilities in the campsite but campers can use the toilets in the day visitor area that is a 500m walk across the road.
There are three platypus viewing platforms along this section of the river. Knowing that they are most active in the early morning and dust we waited until around 3:30pm before wandering upstream to take a look.
They were most active between 4pm and 6pm. We waited quietly as we looked for the tell tale stream of bubbles or ripples on the water surface. They would rise and swim along the surface of the river before diving below once again. They are very fast and were extremely difficult to photograph in the low evening light.
Eventually they had all returned to their burrows and we returned to camp and had some dinner ourselves. While eating the heavens opened and we had some rain so decided to turn in for an early night.
We woke to the wonderful sound of kookaburras singing. The morning improved when we spotted the platypus again the when taking the walk across the bridge to the toilet.
We drove a short way up the road to the Sky Window walk. This is a short loop walk where they have pruned the tree branches to create a window to an amazing view of the Pioneer Valley below.
From the same point we also set out on the longer walk through the rainforest to township of Eungella. We managed to make it there and were on our way back before the overcast skies decided to actually rain (well it is a rainforest). Fortunately we had brought our raincoats and the shower passed quickly.
We went platypus spotting again that afternoon and although they were around, there didn’t seem to be as many about as on our first night although we did spot heaps of turtles.
On a nighttime stroll to the toilets before going to bed we saw something move under the beam of torchlight ahead of us on the bridge. Getting closer we saw that it was a bandicoot! Hemmed in by the bridge walls it would hop a little way before looking back at us. We continued to advance slowly with the bandicoot hopping ahead of us. Finally it reached the end of the bridge and was able to dart sideways from the path into the undergrowth.
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[…] last pick was hard to choose, but we went with Eungella National Park, as this was the only place that we had actually managed to spot the elusive platypus in the wild. […]