Tasmania is proving to be something of a discovery and delight even though we have visited this wild island before. Becoming accustomed to the nightly song of the penguins has been an adventure but we have also been told that the platypus are quite prolific as well and are much treasured amongst the islands wildlife.
The recent floods, being something of a 100 year event, have however had an adverse affect on the quiet and recluse platypus. Although populations are well on the way to recovery, many area’s where they can be found are still struggling to regain their populations. So we sussed around for a population that hopefully was managing under the stresses of all this whacky weather.
We had settled into Burnie, a port town to the North West of the Central Region. It is an unprepossessing little coastal town but friendly and surprisingly entertaining. The local museum is a delight to visit with recreated scenes from colonial times and a wealth of information. Some of the early colonial buildings are lovely to seek out. But just barely a few minutes from town is one of the most beautiful of gorges where the platypus reign supreme.
In following the path of the Emu River, barely east of the town centre, you will find Fern Glade wildlife and habitat reserve one of the premium short walks to be found in Tas’. Here the reserve provides picnic grounds, viewing platforms and an easy pathway running beside the Emu River where you can easily find the recluse platypus, particularly in the early morning and late evening.
Despite the damp and cold morning we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as we searched out platypus in the running water. The floods had wrecked havoc on the river, but this was in the process of being cleared with piles of lumber and trees waiting to be attended to. The platypus however I am sure were grateful for the attention being spent on their home. We saw several of these entertaining little guys stirring up the mud for worms and peeping out from the skin of water, watching us as they tried to work out just what we were up too. Then darting off in the rapid push of water that gives their movements away all the time.
The Tassie platypus are larger than their mainland cousins and a more golden brown shade. But they are just as elusive and entertaining. Unlike their mainland cousins they build their hutches mostly higher on the bank and they also spend a bit more time out of water than the mainlanders. We were thoroughly entertained, finding most of their activity centred around the well appointed picnic area’s. We were delighted to see that the population of platypus was in no way hindered from movement and could freely travel up and down the river where-ever they chose and they did choose to stay in this wonderful section of their river, built specifically to contain curious people.
The platypus are part of the wonderful wildlife, prolific in Tas’ and as their populations regain strength we are looking forward to finding these centres of survival hopefully scattered throughout the waters of the Tarkine Region of Tas’ in the remote NW region. Picnicking is a pastime in Tas’ that you learn to appreciate. It is an island where a days drive will take you from edge to end and packing a picnic as you venture into the regions wilderness, is a pleasure we are rediscovering.
We have also discovered that this is the ‘windy’ season. The roaring 40’s are making themselves known as they oscillate along the coastline. This wind is going to blow around the coast at least until Christmas, so finding an inland shelter is something we plan on doing. It’s a beautiful place at this end of the world and so much to see and do in what is a unique part of Australia.
Jan is a Traveller and an Author. You can find out more about her books on travel on the page dedicated to Oldies at Large, where you will also find a list of her blog postings in topic.
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