Yungaburra Platypus Spotting

Published Categorized as Australia Travel, Destinations, Queensland Travel, Travel Blog
Yungaburra Platypus Spotting
Yungaburra Platypus Spotting

One of the highlights of our Queensland road trip was going to Yungaburra platypus spotting. Getting to see platypus in the wild, one of the more elusive Australian native animals, is high on the bucket list for not only tourists visiting Australia, but also for many Australians. Seeing a platypus in the wild can be quite a challenge and test in patience, but if you follow our tips below, your Yungaburra platypus spotting experience will also be one of your highlights.


READ MORE:

BEST THINGS TO DO IN YUNGABURRA, QUEENSLAND

WHERE TO SEE WILDLIFE IN AUSTRALIA


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on our affiliates / advertisers links and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but at no extra cost to you. AND, many times, you will receive an offer. Win/win! The products and services we write about and mention are the ones we love. We only recommend items that we feel are of good quality and would be helpful to our readers. While we pay for our travels out of our own pockets, these small commissions do assist in keeping us on the road. Thank you!


“Do you think God gets stoned? I think so… look at the platypus.”

– Robin Williams –

Where is Yungaburra?

Yungaburra is a rural town on the Atherton Tableland in Far North Queensland, Australia. It lies in countryside that has been shaped by volcanic activity dating back 420 million years. This geological activity has left behind rainforest, waterfalls, volcanic crater lakes and green pastures.

This quaint little town is just over one hour up the Gillies Range or you can come from Cairns’ northern beaches via the Kuranda Range. If you are driving north from Townsville, you can drive the Palmerston Highway from Innisfail. Yungaburra is located centrally on the Atherton Tablelands, with all the attractions within an hour and a half drive.


Map of Yungaburra

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Yungaburra Platypus Spotting

What is a Platypus?

Found only in Australia, the platypus is known for its unusual combination of features. Early Australian explorers first thought that the Platypus was a fake animal; a mythical creature made up to confuse. They could not believe that an animal existed that swam underwater with a duck-like beak and webbed feet, beaver-like tail, and fur like an otter.

This semi-aquatic mammal is one of the few species of egg-laying mammals in the world. Male platypus have spurs on their hind feet that are capable of delivering a strong venom, which is quite rare among mammals. Platypus are also distinctive in that their bills are lined with electroreceptors, which are used to detect the muscle movement of their prey.


Best Places for Platypus Spotting in Yungaburra

Peterson Creek Walking Track

Make sure you have your copy of “Peterson Creek – Wildlife and Botanical Walking Track” (collect from the Yungaburra Visitor Information Centre) before setting off on this walk. Also, the town’s tourism information centre posts daily sightings on a board.

Just a 5 minute walk outside the town, you will find the Peterson Creek – Wildlife and Botanical Walking Track. This 2 km walking track can be started from either end – Gillies Highway or the cemetery on Mulgrave Road.

  • Visit Duration: 1 – 2 hours
  • Where: Start at Platypus Viewing Platform at 4434 Gillies Highway or the cemetery on Mulgrave Road, Yungaburra
  • Hours: Anytime
  • Cost: Free

Yungaburra Platypus Viewing Platform

We started at the Gillies Highway platypus viewing platform where we were lucky enough to spot platypus immediately upon our arrival. A couple of minutes later a tour bus arrived and we were bombarded with people so we decided it was time to begin our walk along Peterson Creek.

We followed the track leading to the creek under the bridge, and then we meandered along the creek at our own pace. In the hopes of catching a glimpse of an elusive platypus, we stopped and sat on the bank in various spots on the constant lookout for a trail of bubbles and large concentric rings on the water. We were rewarded many times over, however, they proved a lot harder to capture on camera.

About half way along the track, you will cross the highly instagrammable ‘Lloyd’s Suspension Bridge’ which leads you across the creek to the site of the preserved boiler used in the past to power a coal-fired steam pump. This pump was used to fill the water tank serving steam locomotives at the Yungaburra Railway Station.

Lloyd's Suspension Bridge - Yungaburra, Queensland
Lloyd’s Suspension Bridge – Yungaburra, Queensland

Allumbah Pocket Platypus Viewing Platform

A few paces further along from old water pump is the Allumbah Pocket platypus viewing platform.  This is also a great spot to stop for a picnic or break and soak up the atmosphere in this tranquil little spot.

Continue another couple of hundred metres downstream past tall woodland forest and you will arrive at a picnic table. This is also another area where platypus are frequently spotted.

A little further along is Williams Weir where you will see the site of the water wheel turbine which used to supply water to the hotel and town residents. Proceeding along and down the hill you will come to Frawley’s Pool (was the village swimming hole where children were taught to swim) and the Peterson Creek Interpretive Shelter.

Continue along the track and it will split into two. The left lower track leads to the reek and dramatic views of the Railway Bridge from below, and the track to the right takes you up to a ridge with views of the ‘Seven Sisters” (volcanic cinder cones).

Follow either of these tracks to the Railway Bridge and to Mulgrave Road, which will lead onto “Casuarina Walk” to the Yungaburra Pioneer Cemetery.


Best Time for Platypus Spotting

It is reported that platypus viewing is better during the dry season. This might be due to decreased water levels in Lake Tinaroo, the outlet of Peterson Creek. More platypus might move into creeks as the lake’s water level falls during the dry season. In addition, increased flow can make feeding difficult for the platypus reducing the number of animals willing to venture into the creek.

Also, keep in mind in planning your viewing that the best times of day to see the platypus are early in the morning, at dusk and during the night. The only downside to this is there will be lots of tourists at the platypus viewing platform on the Gillies Highway because it’s a popular place for tour guides to take people, especially in the evening.

We went during the middle of the day and we spotted quite a few as we made our way along the Peterson Creek Walking Track. So, if you aren’t able to get there at dawn or dusk, your chances of spotting one of these elusive creatures are still pretty high.

In addition to the many platypus we spotted in the creek, we also saw turtles, water dragons, wallabies, bush turkeys and Kingfishers. If you are extremely luck, you may spot a rare Lumholtz Tree-Kangaroo.


Top Tips for Platypus Spotting

Platypus are shy animals so not always easy to spot as they swim low in the water with only a small part of their body showing. In addition, they have excellent hearing. It is estimated only 10 percent of Australians have ever seen the elusive platypus, but with a bit of time and some patience, you can spot this unique animal in Yungaburra. Watch out for these signs:

  • Watch the water surface for ripples or a trail of bubbles
  • Look for a notable V-shaped bow wave produced by the animal’s front feet paddling
  • Look for visible burrows in the riverbank just along the water’s edge – if you can spot one, you have a good chance of some consistent platypus action
Yungaburra Platypus Spotting
Yungaburra Platypus Spotting

Yungaburra Accommodation

There a variety of accommodation options to suit all types of travellers on offer in Yungaburra. From boutique cottages and villas, cute B&B’s, and motels, to a historic pub.

Luxury (AUD$200 and Up)

Birds ‘n’ Bloom Cottages
Birds ‘n’ Bloom Cottages offer either a two bedroom or three bedroom cottage. This property consistently gets high reviews.

  • Where: 3 Elm Street, Yungaburra
  • Facilities: 160m2 or 180m2 house with AC, balcony, free Wi-Fi, free parking, hot tub

Miss Bullens Cottage

Historic two bedroom self-contained, cosy cottage with a log burning stove. Located in the hub of the village, this cottage is suitable for couples and families.

  • Where: 9 Pine Street, Yungaburra
  • Facilities: 120m2 fully self-contained cottage with AC, garden, BBQ facilities, free Wi-Fi, free parking on site

Eden House Retreat
Set in the heart of historic Yungaburra village, the award-winning Eden House Retreat offers spa and garden cottages. Continental breakfast including coffee, fruit and cereals are provided in each cottage prior to guest arrival.

  • Where: 20 Gillies Highway, Yungaburra
  • Facilities: 50m2 cottage with AC, balcony, garden view, free Wi-Fi, free parking

Mid-Range (AUD$100 to AUD$200)

The Church
The Church is a unique, restored church, originally built in 1926.  It is now a luxury self-contained cottage with a spa! Just a short 5mins stroll to town and restaurants.   

  • Where: 11 Pine Street, Yungaburra
  • Facilities: 200m2 self-contained cottage with AC, free Wi-Fi, BBQ area, garden views, free parking, spa bath

Kookaburra Lodge Motel
Kookaburra Lodge Motel is surrounded by tropical gardens in the heart of Yungaburra village. It features wide verandas and fragrant gardens, guests can relax by the pool or enjoy the cosy fire.

  • Where: 3 Eacham Road, Yungaburra
  • Facilities: AC, free Wi-Fi, balcony, garden view, BBQ area, free parking

Yungaburra Heart B&B
This whole apartment is centrally located just 50m to the centre of town and restaurants. The apartment has beautiful views of the mountain.

  • Where: 4 Kehoe Place, Yungaburra
  • Facilities: 110m2 self-contained 2 bedroom apartment with AC, free Wi-Fi, terrace, free parking, fitness centre, children’s playground

Budget (Up to AUD$200)

On the Wallaby Lodge
Award winning budget, clean, friendly lodge right in the centre of town. Share and double rooms are available, and staff offer guided canoe trips and the hire of mountain bikes.

  • Where: 34 Eacham Road, Yungaburra
  • Facilities: AC, free Wi-Fi, BBQ area, cooking facilities, free parking

CLICK HERE TO SEARCH FOR ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS IN YUNGABURRA AND MAKE A RESERVATION!


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Yungaburra Camping

Lakeside Caravan Park

Situated on the tranquil shores of Lake Tinaroo, Lakeside Caravan Park is a perfect base for anyone wishing to explore the Atherton Tablelands. Located approximately 5 minutes from the quaint village of Yungaburra, the Caravan Park features a range of accommodation options including: powered and unpowered sites, motel rooms and 1 bedroom self-contained units.

  • Where: 2 Tinaburra Drive, Yungaburra
  • Facilities: Toilets and showers, drinking water, laundry facilities, camp kitchen with BBQ, swimming pool, wood fired pizza oven, kids movie nights

Genazzano Retreat

With a focus of getting back to nature, Genazzano Retreat offers wide open spaces, lake vistas and abundant bird life. There are 4 powered sites and spacious non-powered sites, all with lake views, that ensure privacy and tranquillity.

  • Where: 739 Powley Road, Yungaburra / Lake Barrine
  • Facilities: Toilets and showers, drinking water, BBQ area, allows fires

Lake Eacham Tourist Park

Quiet eco-style Caravan Park on 10 shady acres. Walk to Lake Eacham. Five self-contained cabin accommodations available and caravan park suitable for motor homes, caravans, camper trailers and tents.

  • Where: 198 Lakes Drive, Lake Eacham
  • Facilities: Toilets, drinking water, BBQ area, allows fires

Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park

Sprawled across more than 17 acres and surrounded by lush, native bushland, Lake Tinaroo Holiday Park is just a stone’s throw from stunning Lake Tinaroo. With a variety of cabins, caravan sites and camping grounds available there is accommodation to suit every style of holidaymaker, from the intrepid traveller to the modern family.

  • Where: 4-28 Tinaroo Falls Dam Road, Tinaroo
  • Facilities: Toilets, drinking water, BBQ area, allows fires

Yungaburra Restaurants

Yungaburra Heritage Village is the dining heart of the Atherton Tablelands and offers top quality local produce and food products. Choices range from locally owned takeaways, charming cafes, and the historic pub, to fine Yungaburra restaurants, including some award winners. 


Yungaburra Pub

The Yungaburra Hotel, also known as the Lake Eacham Hotel, was built in 1910 and is the pride of the Atherton Tablelands with Federation architecture and displays of historic photographs of the area’s early saw milling days. These days the Yungaburra Hotel is the hub of social events, family dinners, dancing and loads of fun for everyone.

  • Where: 6 Kehoe Place, Yungaburra
  • Hours: 10:0am – 9:00pm, Thursday to Sunday, 10:00am to 12:00am Friday and Saturday
Yungaburra Pub
Yungaburra Pub

Quincan Cottage Café

The perfect place to enjoy meals made with all local ingredients and a freshly ground Proud Mary coffee. A quaint, relaxed, family friendly atmosphere with plenty of room, including seated garden space.

  • Where: 34 Gillies Range Road, Yungaburra
  • Hours: 8:30am – 3:30pm, Friday to Tuesday

Our Place Restaurant

Modern Mediterranean and Australian restaurant located beside the Food Works in Yungaburra. Serving lunch and dinner in a relaxed setting. 

  • Where: 17 Eacham Road, Yungaburra
  • Hours: 12:00pm – 2:00pm, Friday to Monday; 5:30pm – 8:30pm, Thursday to Monday

Yungaburra Pizzeria

Yungaburra Pizzeria uses collected and created recipes which have originated in the authenticity of village pizzerias in Italy. Fresh and home-made ingredients are essential to experience great taste. That is why we only use local vegetables and home-grown products from Nick’s organic vegetable garden.

  • Where: 33 Gillies Highway, Yungaburra
  • Hours: 11:00am – 2:00pm, Saturday and Sunday; 5:00pm – 9:00pm, Wednesday to Sunday for takeaway and delivery

Nick’s Swiss Italian Restaurant

At Nick’s Restaurant we offer fine food, using local, fresh and seasonal products. You will enjoy Swiss gastronomy, cooked by European Chefs. All the family is welcome into our rustic alpine traditional environment. 

  • Where: 33 Gillies Range Road, Yungaburra
  • Hours: 5:30pm – 9:00pm, Wednesday to Saturday

In Summary

So, if you want to see a platypus in the wild of Australia, we recommend going to Yungaburra. They are such strange but fascinating creatures and I’m sure this experience will put a smile on your face and it will be a memory that lasts forever.

Have you seen a platypus in the wild? Where? Leave a comment below.


READ MORE: BEST THINGS TO DO IN YUNGABURRA, QUEENSLAND


Exit 45 Rating

The Exit45 Rating scale runs from a low of 1 to a high of 5 in each of the 9 categories.  As such, the higher the score out of 45, the better the Exit45 Rating.  N.B. These scores are our own personal opinions and are based on our experiences, budget constraints and what we love doing i.e. adventure seeking foodies who love snorkelling and water related activities.

Value for Money5
Cuisine4
Friendliness of Locals5
Ease of Language Barrier5
Climate4.5
Activities and Tours5
Ease of Travel5
Culture Barrier5
Safety5
TOTAL EXIT45 RATING43.5 / 45

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Yungaburra Platypus Spotting

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on our affiliates / advertisers links and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but at no extra cost to you. AND, many times, you will receive an offer. Win/win! The products and services we write about and mention are the ones we love. We only recommend items that we feel are of good quality and would be helpful to our readers. While we pay for our travels out of our own pockets, these small commissions do assist in keeping us on the road. Thank you!


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By Peta Wenzel

We are Peta (Australian) and Jonas (Swedish/Australian), a couple in our mid 40’s / early 50’s who have been travelling the world fulltime since January 2018. We met and lived on the Gold Coast, Australia and spent many evenings researching and watching YouTube vlogs about travel and dreaming of the day we would retire and be able to enjoy a lot more travel ourselves. Over the years, a number of events happened to family and friends and an opportunity arose which made us decide to not wait but to instead take a “Gap Year”. We are now in our 3rd year of travel and still hunger for new adventures and embrace the uncertainty that comes with full-time travel. If you want to know more about who we are, why we choose this lifestyle and how we do it, please follow our adventures and see how you can do it too.

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