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Everything you ever wanted to know about the platypus – one of the world’s very rare egg-laying mammals or monotremes – is here.
Platypus are common in Tasmania’s creeks and rivers and are relatively easy to find if you are patient. They prefer the protection of wider creeks, with a good flow of water and need vegetation and earth banks to enable them to dig their camping and nesting burrows.
The best time to look for them is early morning or late afternoon. Stand or sit quietly among the trees and bushes on the creek bank and watch the surface of the water, especially up close to the banks, for their tell-tale ripples. Patience will be rewarded.
Latrobe calls itself the Platypus Capital of the World because they’re so common there. Platypus Encounter in the Axemen’s Hall of Fame at Latrobe has a reasonably good, watery diorama on the platypus, but it sadly lacks the real, live animals. But you don’t need to go far to find them. Just head down Hamilton Street off the main street (Jojo's on the corner) to Warrawee Reserve. The reserve is only a kilometre or so from the centre of town. The road follows the river. There’s no need to go all the way to the reserve; just stop near the big rocks beside the road just past the intersection with the old Deloraine road. Look for tell-tale ripples near the bank and watch patiently. You can also book a guided tour at the Information Centre in the Hall of Fame.
In Stanley in the far north-west of the state you can book a platypus twilight tour with Wilderness Tasmania Tours.
In Burnie, you could take a short drive from the centre of
town to Fernglade Reserve. From
500metres east of the city centre near the bridge over the Emu River on the
Bass Highway, head up Old Surrey Road C112 signed toward Ridgely. Just a few hundred metres along it, take the
turn left signed to Fernglade. The
Reserve at the end of the road is the best location, but platypus can be found
right along the creekline. There's more information on the Burnie Tourist Info website here.
At Beauty Point in the Tamar Valley north of Launceston, you can see really truly live platypus up close and personal at Platypus House. The guided tour is seriously good and you'll also get to have echidnas wander around your feet looking for a feed.
At Loongana south of Ulverstone, if you stay at Mountain Valley Wilderness cabins you're certain to be shown platypus in the Leven River that flows through the property. (As well as having Tassie devils feed outside your door.)
At Waratah in the north-west, the old quarry in the centre of town has been landscaped into a scenic lake and is a reliable place to see platypus in the morning and evening. Go to the southern side of the lake away from the main street and. if nothing else, you'll be able to take a photo of the "Platypus Crossing" road sign.