Saturday, 16 July 2016

Looking for Platypus

I had visited my brother in Innisfail, 2 years ago and was taken on a drought stricken tour of the supposedly lush, Atherton Tableland.

2014 was very much drier than the 'dry year' rainfall, listed below.

While the summer rains this year weren't particularly good, unseasonal rain has fallen during the past few months, so I was welcomed back with green luxuriant growth everywhere and temperatures well above those of winter in the south.

Because of our strenuous climb of the Pyramid the previous day, we decided to take things easy on day 2, with a drive to the Tablelands, to Yungaburra and platypus spot. Normally the suggested time of day to see them, is early morning and late evening. Recently, Jim had spotted several at midday, so was keen to go again at this time.

On the way up, we pulled over to view the North Johnstone River Gorge at Crawford's Lookout.

The lookout has a high, tantalising view down to the Johnstone. Suddenly we decided, 'What the heck. Let's do it!'
The trail was steep, damp and in fairly open rainforest.
Elbow turns
Majestic towering trees
A sense of size and grandeur
Unusual growths on this tree, soaring to the light above the canopy of the forest.
First view of the Johnstone and what is in store for us.

It was sheer joy to rock hop along the river, exploring its pools, cascades and quiet waters.
Seemingly impenetrable rainforest on its opposite shore.

The platypus were calling so we tore ourselves away from this sublime spot and again enjoyed the beauty of the trail. [4.4kms return]

Lunch was enjoyed beside the crystal clear, gently murmuring, Henrietta Creek.

Platypus spotting.
Below is the entrance to the lovely Petersen Creek Trail. Passionate locals have rehabilitated the creek, creating shady walks, seating and picnic areas over a distance of nearly a kilometre or more. It is such a peaceful area to stroll and watch for the elusive platypus. Our patience was rewarded, with one little fellow surfacing, floating and gently diving below the surface again, several times. [mid afternoon] 

On the far bank here, we thought we were able to see the entrance to a Platypus tunnel.
The platypus appeared in the creek here, just below where we were standing.
Possible burrow entrance.

We slowly retraced our steps to the carpark without a further sighting. I was so thrilled by this sighting, that Jim decided to delay our departure and so drove me to the Tinaroo Dam to fill in some time before dusk.
Here Jim showed me Australia's newest war memorial, to honour the 39 diggers who have been killed in Afghanistan. Situated on the shoreline of the dam, it has both beauty and tranquility. A perfect spot to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by these and so many other serviceman.
Rocks from Afghanistan
A dedication to 10 explosive detection dogs, who lost their lives.

On our return to Petersen Creek, I was excited to spot the stunningly blue Ulysses Butterfly,
fluttering around this beautiful blossom. Alas it did not rest long enough for a photo to be taken.

During the next hour, as we strolled along the creek bank, we were excited to spot and watch another 3 platypus. The light was dull, but my i-phone captured a lovely video of this unusual Australian marsupial. When it dives, keep watching for bubbles, [about 20 secs] which indicate where it will next appear.

Such a full and rewarding day and then sunset put on a fiery glow just before we descended from the tableland.

Jim stopped so I could get a pic of Mt Bartle Frere hiding behind the cloud. We got chatting to several people who also stopped for this fine view. As we chatted, we realised we didn't want to hurry on. The sky was changing!

Mt Bartle Frere - 1622m, Queenslands highest peak. [midddle] 
Far right - Broken Nose - 926m. I was hoping to climb this peak in a few days time, but the thighs didn't recover from The Pyramid climb.

Hiking 'down under' in the north is worth it, just for the warmth of the sun, but I'm discovering so many places of incredible beauty.

I would love to read your comment.


  1. Your incredible beauty is unusual beauty to me! Thank you to your brother for bringing you to these places.

  2. How cool you got to see several platypus! I love the video. Beautiful rainforest and nice sunset too. Looks like a very successful day.

  3. Wonderful scenery and fascinating (and cute) animals!
    It's good that the sixth photo shows how big the tree is. Seeing the fifth photo I didn't understand it yet. :) Really impressive!
    Thank you for the lovely tour! xx

  4. I love platypus! Saw some in Tasmania.