Intent on Stalking the Wild Platypus, we landed in Hobart and mapped out our expedition. We only had a few days to explore the wilds of Tasmania…and the towns too.
Michele took a flight to spot the Wiley Platypus. The Hobart information center gave us some leads and we were off.
A cross country trek brought us to Latrobe. By the looks of it, this place was the heart of platypus land.
Or at least the heart of promotion for platypus country.
Yet after a long walk along the nearby river and around Platypus Pond, no creatures appeared. After a flood in 2011 and again in 2016, the walkways got wiped out…and I suspect so did much of the platypus population.
We did find some fine local chocolates with a platypus image molded on to the surface. That would have to do for now.
So we returned to Hobart, a three hour drive past hundreds and hundreds of sheep, one windmill and the Bagdad Cafe.
On the advice of locals, we rose early for our next attempt. We drove to Richardson to a site sure to reveal the platypus at 6:30 in the morning.
It was a haven for ducks…but not a platypus to be seen. Michele asked an older gentleman walking his dog if he had seen any and he said, “Never, only eels.” SO we headed to the local cafe to commiserate.
Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary offered some close up and personal contact with local wildlife so we made do with Tasmanian Devils, Frogmouths, and kangaroos.
The sanctuary kangaroos are an indulged lot. All visitors walk around with a bags of grain and those Roos that are not sleeping in the sun (or shade) may hop over to you in slow motion and nibble from your hand.
Our last chance to sight a platypus might be the Mt Field National Park. Before heading into the park we took a side trip up to Lake Pedder, part of a four lake and two dam hydroelectric complex.
This higher country landscape looked like the Alaska tundra and barren except near the forest hugging the shore. A large burn added to the sense of remote desolation.
Finally we made it to Mt Field and an easy hike up the the falls.
As the crepuscular light touched the forest, we sat near a stream close to the park picnic area and waited. And what should appear for five seconds but a real, wild platypus! A brief glimpse, that unfortunately Michele missed, but a sighting none the less.