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Platypus at Eungella National Park - QLD

About a 45min drive north west of finch Hatton Gorge is Eungella National Park, so we went to explore one evening, up this windy road

Sky Window
Views across the Pioneer Valley to the steep, rugged northern wall. In May 1860, John Mackay travelled from the New England district through Nebo Shire to find and claim grazing land. At the head of the Pioneer Valley near Eungella, not far from this spot. He saw level country extending to the sea. Several small pastoral leases were soon established. In the late 1800s agriculture struggled following a cyclone and several drought. Settlers turned to mineral prospecting as an alternative source of income.
Just one km south of here, prospectors followed Charlie Armstrong’s pack horse track to reach the goldfields. Then in 1888 Kari Flor blazed a shorted, faster trail. While the mining boom lasted only until 1910, its legacy was long lasting – opening up undeveloped country, creating transport routes, employment and opportunities for migrants.
Looking across the expanse of the Pioneer Valley imagine it hundreds of years ago with a thick carpet of forest spread as far as the eye can see. From the early 1900s, dense forest was gradually felled with the expansion of two key industries – cane and dairy farming.
Extensive logging of red cedar began in 1904. The township of Eungella was founded with the first road up the range from the Pioneer Valley built in 1906.
The Wiri people of the Birri Gubba nation created pathways along creeks and rivers here in their traditional homeland. Later, prospectors and pastoralists used the same trails and blazed more with their packhorses to access this landscapes’ richness.

A definite highlight of my stay, and my trip around Australia was the rare opportunity to see Platypus - not one, but 5, within 20mins, along a newly refurbished boardwalk at Broken River
Imagine being the first European to see and describe strange ‘duck-face moles’ swimming beside hard-shelled reptiles in a river.
Rapid ripples and bubble trails are the distinctive signs of a platypus busily feeding.
Beneath each ripple platypus are hunting with their eyes, ears and nostrils shut. Tens of thousands of specialized receptors )called ‘push rods’) in the skin of their bill sense movements as far away as 15-20cm, registering the displacement of water caused by moving prey.
On the surface of their bill, sensory mucous glands called ‘electroreceptors’ detect electrical current from muscle contractions of prey – just a fraction earlier – allowing the platypus to judge the distance to its next meal.
When not in the water, platypus are most often found at rest in camping burrows throughout their home range. Burrows typically extend 1-4m but platypus have been known to dig burrows up to 20m long. Well hidden entrances allow platypus to enter and exit without being seen, but for extra insurance, nesting females will often plug their burrows with 30cm of dirt.
Webbing on the front feet folds back when on land, and sturdy claws prove handy digging tools. Tails are useful as in the water as on land, used top push around and tamp down soil.
Platypus store food in cheek pouches at the back of their jaw and resurface to eat. Rather than chewing, they mash food between rough plates that grow continuously inside their upper and lower bill to offset the wear and tear of grinding food.

  • Forage for 10-12hrs each day and consumes 15-80% of their body weight depending on the time of year


  • Diving and feeding for 30-60 seconds at a time.

Just to add to the challenge of spotting Platypus, the river is also home to these Turtles

Other local residents making the most of the last minutes of day light were the Bush Turkeys

Posted by charlystyles 13:34 Archived in Australia Tagged platypus eungella broken_river

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