Follow the Platypus Trail

Multiple Locations

Have you ever wanted to see an Australian platypus in the wild?

The Mackay Region offers the best and most reliable locations to see these unusual mammals swimming in rainforest creeks and rivers. Journey to Finch Hatton Gorge and Eungella National Park for a natural adventure the family will cherish.

The best place to see a platypus in the wild is in the depths of Eungella National Park at Broken River. It takes little over an hour to reach Broken River from Mackay. The best time of day to see a platypus is during dawn or dusk, as this is when they become active to look for food.

Journey Details

Duration
8 Hours
Distance
220 Kilometres

Activities

  • Birdwatching
  • Hiking/Trekking
  • Swimming

Other Information

Family Friendly:

Family friendly – please refer to operator's website for services and facilities.

Full Itinerary

The Pioneer Valley

Starting in Mackay, your platypus seeking adventure starts by travelling 60 kilometres west on the Mackay-Eungella Road, weaving through paddocks of Pioneer Valley sugar cane farms.
TIP: Stop for a refreshment in a converted church for coffee among the canefields.

Country towns full of charm such as Gargett, Pleystowe, Marian and Mirani are worth exploration on your way through.
Feeling peckish? Stop at the famous Pinnacle Pub for one of its delicious pies.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel Car, Motorcycle
Distance 70 kms
Route Type One Way
Explore Finch Hatton Gorge

Continue your journey to Finch Hatton Gorge where your first glimpse of a platypus awaits.

Discover the world's first platypus SCUBA diving adventure, Rainforest Scuba and come face to face with a platypus in the cool rainforest water.

Continue the adventure by walking to one of Finch Hatton's popular waterfalls. Araluen Cascades and the Wheel of Fire Cascades are well worth the walk through the lush landscape of fascinating flora and volcanic boulders.

Distance to Araluen Cascades: 2.8 kilometres return.
Distance to Wheel of Fire Cascades: 4.2 kilometres return.

Another Finch Hatton adventure is Forest Flying. Forest Flying takes you into the tree tops for a fascinating up close view of the pristine rainforest as you glide along a pulley and harness system at your own pace.

Route Details
Mode of Travel Car
Explore Eungella National Park

Drive 30 kilometres from Finch Hatton to the town of Eungella and be treated to beautiful panoramic vistas of the Pioneer Valley.

Drive along the Eungella Dam Road to the area known as Broken River.

Platypus Walk:
Begin near the café at the Broken River carpark, opposite a camping ground. The platypus path parallels the river to a viewing platform and is suitable for wheelchairs. The short walk only takes a few minutes and caters to all fitness levels. Other attractions can be spotted in the river including turtles and eels.

Another great vantage point is from the pedestrian walkway on the Broken River Bridge itself.

Platypus Spotting TIPS:
Platypuses are shy so be patient and quiet.
Look for air bubbles rising to the surface of the water.
Take binoculars for a better view if they surface on the opposite side of the river.
Dawn and dusk are the best times of day to see them.

As your platypus adventure draws to a close, enjoy a leisurely drive back to Mackay, or stay in Eungella National park and experience a magical evening in the rainforest.

Route Details
Mode of Travel Car, Four Wheel Drive
Distance 40 kms
Route Type One Way

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Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Smithfield, Cairns Area
From AU$51 - 210
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway is a unique rainforest experience, taking you on an unforgettable journey over and through Australia's World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforests. Spanning seven and a half kilometres in the Barron Gorge National Park, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway glides just metres over the canopy, its comfortable six-person gondola cabins providing spectacular views of the rainforest, tropical Cairns, the Coral Sea and lush Cairns Highlands.

Mount Whitfield Conservation Park

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
The rainforest-clad slopes of the Whitfield Range form a dramatic backdrop to Cairns and offering a great walking escape close to the city. Climb through shady rainforest gullies, dry open forest and grasslands studded with cycads to the Lumley Hill summit, and soak up the scenic views of Cairns and the coastline.

Cairns

Cairns, Cairns Area
As the heart of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics rainforest, Cairns pulses with energy. More than 600 tours a day make the most of the year-round outdoor lifestyle while world-class sporting events and festivals embrace the cosmopolitan city's vibrant tropical culture.

Scubadoo Cairns

Cairns, Cairns Area
From AU$165 - 165
Scuba-Doo is a self drive full guided under water tour of the magnificent Coral gardens of the Great Barrier Reef, cruise along the Coral reef in your personal under water scooter. Great Adventures’ platform on the Great Barrier Reef is the only place in Australia where you can cruise the reef on your own underwater scooter!

Whale Bommie Dive Site

Cairns, Cairns Area
Whale Bommie is a giant coral head located off the southern side of Milln Reef. This popular Cairns dive site has something for everyone. While the main bommie varies in depth from 5 metres to 22 metres, more experienced divers can also explore a scattering of smaller bommies in depths to 26 metres.

Wet Tropics Rainforest

Cairns, Cairns Area
The World Heritage-listed rainforests surrounds Cairns in all directions and can be easily accessed and experienced in many ways. Join one of the many tour operators that conduct day and overnight tours into the rainforest or by car at your leisure.

Tropical North Queensland

Cairns, Cairns Area
Welcome to Paradise - Tropical North Queensland. Whether it's an indulgent break or a thrilling adventure, this stunning region offers you a magical and life-changing experience. Feel the energy of a vibrant tropical culture of Cairns brought to life with festivals, events and experiences shaped by the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics rainforest.

Bougainville Reef Dive Site

Cairns, Cairns Area
Bougainville Reef is a small reef in the Northern Coral Sea surrounded by some amazing dive sites. Only four kilometres in diameter, and offering no shelter in rough weather, Bougainville Reef is usually only dived on a stop-off between other reefs in this remote area.
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Note: Information on listed products and services are provided by the operator and were correct at the time of publishing. Rates are indicative based on the minimum and maximum available prices of products and services. Please visit the operator’s website for further information. All prices quoted are in Australian dollars (AUD).