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

Find What's Nearby

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Musgrave Dropoff

Lady Musgrave Island, Gladstone Area
On the southern side of Lady Musgrave Island the reef edge drops from 10 metres to 25 metres and forms an amazing wall of coral. Often simply called Musgrave Dropoff, this extensive wall is rarely dived, but you can jump in anywhere along its length and have a great dive.

Maori Wrasse Bommie Dive Site

Lady Elliot Island, Bundaberg Area
Free Entry
Maori Wrasse Bommie off Lady Elliot Island is named after the family of Maori wrasse that call the area home. The site is located 14 to 18 metres beneath the surface and is ideal for intermediate divers looking to explore – reef sharks can often be spotted patrolling the reef wall and arches near the bommie, and just north of the wall is Spiders Ledge, named for the number of shells that decorate the outcrop.

Spiders Ledge

Lady Elliot Island,
Spiders Ledge is a good place to see sharks at Lady Elliot Island. The reef at this site slopes from 8 metres to 25 metres and is cut by a series of gutters and ledges. Pretty corals and abundant reef fish are found at the site, as are turtles and schools of pelagic fish.

Three Pyramids

Lady Elliot Island,
The Three Pyramids is a collection of three coral bommies on the sheltered western side of Lady Elliot Island. Rising from the sand in depths from 20m, these coral heads attract a great variety of marine life, with each one home to a good population of reef fish and invertebrates.

Musgrave Channel

Lady Musgrave Island, Gladstone Area
For those after a fast-paced drift dive at Lady Musgrave Island then try a dive through the Musgrave Channel. Best done on the incoming tide, so you end up in the lagoon, this channel is a sensational dive and only 13 metres deep.

Anchor Bommie Dive Site

Lady Elliot Island, Bundaberg Area
Free Entry
Lady Elliot Island has many wonderful dive sites, but one of its most impressive is Anchor Bommie. This tower of coral sits on the sandy sea floor at 21 metres and stands 10 metres tall, a very imposing sight.

Lighthouse Bommies Dive Site

Lady Elliot Island, Bundaberg Area
Free Entry
Just off the western side of Lady Elliot Island is a group of small coral outcrops known as Lighthouse Bommies. Descend down the mooring line and drift onto the bommies to discover a vast array of marine life - batfish, stingrays, white-spotted shovelnose rays, green and loggerhead turtles, sea snakes, moray eels, coral trout, reef sharks, trevally, barracuda, and manta rays waiting to be groomed by cleaner wrasse.

Entrance Bommie Dive Site

Lady Musgrave Island, Gladstone Area
Free Entry
Located at the entrance to Lady Musgrave Island lagoon, Entrance Bommie is a large blade of coral sitting in 22 metres of water. This elongated bommie is riddled with ledges and caves, which are usually overflowing with baitfish.

Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island, Bundaberg Area
Where else in the Great Barrier Reef can you walk less than 100 metres out of your door and slip on a snorkel, mask and flippers and be immersed in one of the seven wonders of the natural world? Lady Elliot Island is the Southernmost island on the Great Barrier Reef and is home to nesting turtles, manta rays, migrating whales, resident and visiting bird populations among the natural and abundant reef life.

Severance Shipwreck Dive Site

Lady Elliot Island, Bundaberg Area
Free Entry
Quite a few ships have come to grief on the fringing reef around Lady Elliot Island, but only one of these can be dived, that is the Severance. This fully intact yacht sank in 1998 and still has much of its rigging in place that is now covered in glorious soft corals.
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