I freely admit that animals bring me to tears.
And the platypus was no different.
The platypus has to be one of the most fascinating animals on earth. How much weirder can you get? It’s a mammal that lays eggs, for one. With a bill like a duck and a tail like a beaver how can you not be intrigued?
I have an embarrassing thing to admit. I call myself an animal-lover, but I had absolutely no idea that a platypus was so small! In my mind, they were huge mammals, several feet in length. Boy, was I in for a surprise when I saw the cute little platypus swimming around!!! They were so precious, more than anything I wanted to jump in the creek and catch it to give it a cuddle (spoiler alert: I didn’t).
Where can you find this elusive native Australian animal?
It’s not an easy feat as platypus are notoriously hard to find, being creatures of dawn and dusk and very easily disturbed. They like to play hard to get… which happens to be a game I like winning at. I was determined to give it a try, since Australia is a wildlife lover’s heaven and the platypus was high on my list. While on one of the best road trips I may have ever taken thus far, we made a detour to try our hand at spotting the platypus even though we’d be arriving in the late afternoon. According to an Aboriginal man we met at one of our other stops, we’d be able to see them in Yungaburra. To Yungaburra we went!
We parked near the creek and followed the sign to the viewing platform. We’d been advised to be extremely, extremely quiet. The platypus are shy creatures and any sort of shuffling about would freak them out. We sat at the top of the creek by the benches at the viewing platform next to Nick’s for several minutes. Nothing. Waiting, waiting, waiting. We lost a little faith, disappointed, as we didn’t see so much as a ripple in the water.
However, as we stood up from the bench, we crossed paths with an American family who came from a different direction. They encouraged us to walk across the street and go down below walking alongside the creek, sit in silence, and we’d be sure to see one.
They were right! In the spirit of full disclosure, I really did form some tears of happiness. Most people get these tears at, you know, things like weddings. But not me, no, I get these when I see a platypus. I am so weird.
Not only did we get to see one, we saw three. Right in front of our eyes we saw two play with each other! It was unbelievable.
Tips for spotting the platypus in Yungaburra:
- There is a viewing platform near Nick’s at Peterson’s Creek which is just south from where the Yungaburra markets are.
- If you aren’t able to see them from the platform, try walking on the path next to the road, heading south, cross the street and head down below so you are right next to the creek (it’s pretty straight forward). There are additional benches here, and you’re right next to the water.
- Be super quiet, have patience, and cross your fingers! We probably ended up there 20 or so minutes before we saw them. It paid to wait. Listen carefully for any sounds in the water. They do have to come up to breathe, after all. :)
- Your best bet is to come at dawn or dusk when they are more active. We got lucky and got to see a lot of action during afternoon hours, but your chances are better if you are able to come in those windows.
What tricky animal have you managed to catch in the wild? Share below!
All photos credited to The Modern-Day Dreamer.