Encounter with a platypus

By | Category: Travel destinations
platypus up close - not from the gorge but in a zoo as they are elusive to say the least! © Zoos Victoria

platypus up close – not from the gorge but in a zoo as they are elusive to say the least! © Zoos Victoria

Think of Queensland in Australia and most people’s first thoughts might be of the Great Barrier Reef and diving amongst the coral.

As the summer is only a month a way for Australians, people will begin heading to the beaches and seas to cool down and enjoy themselves.

But now the state is suggesting divers look at the rock pools in the rainforest for equally spectacular sights.  In particular, they are suggesting that you consider a place called Finch Hatton Gorge within Eungella National Park, 80km from Mackay for your diving break. Why?

Because the highlight of this underwater attraction in Finch Hatton Gorge is a possible encounter with an Australian icon, the platypus – one of the world’s only egg-laying mammals. The platypus has for years fascinated animal lovers and researchers with its bizarre combination of a duckbill, webbed feet, beaver tail and egg laying characteristics. Your chances of seeing a platypus – a shy and small creature aren’t great. One expert who has studied them for over 40 years has only come across them a handful of times in the wild but, where else might you get a better chance?

While there can never be guarantees, those who know the gorge  say it offers offers the best chances of seeing a platypus. It is claimed that it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll see a platypus at dusk and at dawn every single day. And during the mating season, it’s not uncommon to see them in the middle of the day.

But if you don’t catch a glimpse of a platypus what else might you see? Finch Hatton is also home to rare and unique flora and fauna such as the brooding frog and orange sided skink as well as fish, turtles and gordian worms, not to mention twenty kilometres of trails to walk.

A company, Rainforest Scuba,  provides tours of the gorge linked – if you wish – with coastal diving off the Whitsunday Islands as well.

For more about the Mackay region, click here

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