Platypus and Possums at Eungella

Eun-what? I’m told it is pronounced ‘young-gala’ but all the Australians I’ve mentioned it to recently have put up with me calling it all sorts of other things. Eungella means ‘the long cloud’ and nestles at the top of the Clarkes mountain range in the Mackay hinterland. It is about 90km West of Mackay, on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef coastline, making it accessible from the coast in a daytrip.

Eungella
It is most famous these days as the home of the world’s most reliably seen platypus colony and that is precisely why we broke up our roadtrip with a detour here.

The drive itself is beautiful as you wind up the, at times extremely, steep and twisty road, away from the sometimes overwhelming tropical heat along the coast. The landscape quickly changes from never ending fields of sugar cane, to tropical jungle and mist clouds on either side of the road. 

Nifty platypuses
We arrived mid afternoon and checked in at Broken River Mountain Resort, which is the nearest accommodation to the river and therefore, the platypuses. After a bit of friendly guidance from reception about the best times and places to see the platypuses, we quickly made our way down to the platypus viewing platform and were not disappointed. Within a few minutes we had spotted two platypuses and a short while later we saw more. Platypus-spotting requires patience. They are most active when they are feeding and their favourite nibbles live at the bottom of the river, so when they are up and about, they are mostly, sadly for us, underwater. After watching for a while though, you learn to spot the patterns on the surface that indicate a platypus is busy beneath. They were on the surface so briefly each time they surfaced though that photos were tricky.

Watching for platypus and one on the surface

Surprise Possums
It got dark and we got hungry, so we came back to the resort for dinner at The Possum’s Table, the onsite restaurant. I have a soft spot for possums, so was delighted to hear that possums turn up each night on the verandah. After dinner we went out to the verandah and met two very friendly possums, who impressed us with their dexterity as they glided effortlessly through the tree branches and made short work of some fruit provided by the restaurant. 

Possums

The Early Morning Shift
I was determined to wake up early the next morning to squeeze in a bit more platypus viewing before we hit the road again. It was something of a fantasy I think, that if I made the effort to get up early, I would be rewarded with more platypus than I could wave my camera at. Sadly this was not the case. After hitting snooze three times I lumbered to the riverside and I saw two platypuses in my first early morning moments by the river and then not even one in the twenty five minutes that I stood there, alone and cold in the crisp early morning mountain air. Still, I had seen wild platypuses and that was definitely worth coming for.

Here is a quick video of a platypus. Seriously, watch carefully as it is over quickly!

video



This post was made possible with the help of Broken River Mountain Resort. All opinions are my own.