The hunt was on to spot a platypus in the wild so we had two nights in Eungella National Park. It is billed as the number one place in the world to spot one of these beautiful egg laying mammals.
We travelled up through the sugar cane plantations from just outside Rockhampton. The night before we stayed in a fantastic little campsite called Fardooleys Bush Camp, with its onsite bar which is just like stepping into the owner’s living room. They serve up yummy bar snacks and depending on the campers, every night is fun and different.
The road up into the hills of the National Park is another good steep windy one and on arrival at Broken River we set up camp and build a fire as it’s definitely a lot cooler up in the hills. Parks and Wildlife have created some lovely fire pits with big logs to sit around and a local brought up a big stash of wood for us to burn.
The next morning we got up and started our hunt on the famous Platypus walk. I’m not very patient and after about 25 minutes of sitting quietly on the river bank I was ready to leave, thinking yet again we were not to be lucky. Then we spotted one …. wow, they are beautiful!! We spent 1/2 hour watching three of them play in front of us before continuing along the track where we spotting turtles and a little black cormorant.
After breakfast we did the Pine Grove and Sky Window hike, a 5.5km route taking in stunning view over the valley and nearly stepping on an olive green snake basking in the sun. Before our next hike we stopped at the Hideaway Cafe, which can only be described as quirky, with a very eccentric owner. Our advise would be to pop in for the views and checkout the bizarre collection of hats and nick nacks, but avoid eating there. The carrot cake came with a garnish of the owners hair and fluffy jumper and everything was a bit dirty with terrible customer service.
Our afternoon walk was the Rainforest Discovery Circuit and Granite Bend Circuit a 2.4km hike, which gave us another chance to walk along the river and see more platypus. The advise for the best time for spotting these guys is between 4am-8am and 3pm-8pm (hours depending on the time of year) but under the bridge they were putting on a great show at midday, as were the turtles! A recent Queensland National Parks Service survey found contrary to popular belief platypuses are active during the day. I also got to see a stunning bright blue Azure kingfisher which I had on my list of Australia fauna to spot. There is a cafe at the Platypus walk and an information centre.
We encountered another smaller brown snake on our hike, so it’s been a festival of wildlife today.
We rounded off the two night trip at Broken River Mountain Resort for drinks and dinner. While you eat dinner there is possum feeding outside the window, which is lovely to watch and the chef has a snake which he brought out too. The lamb shank was perfectly cooked, the decor could do with a little updating if we were being super fussy in the restaurant, but the lounge with the open fires is lovely and comfy sofas where we made ourself at home on before and after dinner. If you want to explore this area but not camp the resort has cabins.
On the morning we packed up we headed to Finch Hatton Gorge, there are lots of places to stay along here and some interesting looking cafes. The road in is fun with lots of small river crossings. We did the short 2.8km return hike to Araluen waterfall another stunning waterhole. If you want to extend the walk, add in the 2.2km return up to the ring of fire.
MORE TIME: Visit the Dam or continue to explore the network of paths. The rangers favourite is the Crediton Creek track.
TOP TIP: Pick up the Discovery Guide – Mackay Highlands and Eungella National Park