Wander through the Victorian wilderness in search of the elusive platypus, one of the Australia’s most lovable and curious creatures. Although naturally shy, the platypus (also known as the duck-billed platypus) can be found in lakes and waterways across Victoria.
Bird or mammal?
Once believed by early European naturalists to be an elaborate hoax, Australia’s famous platypus is a curious mix of mammal and bird features. With a beaver-like tail and a duckbill, the platypus is one of only five monotremes, which lay eggs instead of giving birth.
An iconic symbol of Australia, the platypus is displayed on the 20-cent coin and was a mascot at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
By the river, by the lake
The best time to see a platypus is at dawn or dusk, so bring a pair of binoculars and time your visit to give yourself the best chance of success.
The confluence of the Yarra and Plenty Rivers near Melbourne offers a good chance of a sighting, as does the Yarra River at Warrandyte State Park. Alternatively, take a drive up to Healesville Sanctuary and watch the resident platypuses at play. Book in for a close encounter, where you can join the zookeepers and wade with the platypuses.
Possibly the best location to see a platypus is Lake Elizabeth in the Great Otway National Park. Just ten minutes from Forrest, the lake was formed when the valley was flooded more than 50 years ago. Join a canoe tour and paddle across the calm waters looking out for these furry friends.
You can spot platypuses in some quiet bends of both the Loddon and Campaspe River in Central Victoria. If you're travelling east, its worth checking the creeks and rivers in the Snowy River National Park and the Alpine National Park.
Track your sightings and help gather data on current platypus populations across Australia by visiting the PlatypusSPOT website.