“There’s a possum” the Eungella guide whispered; we’d only walked a few metres behind my lodge, and there was the cat sized marsupial caught in the torch beam of a powerful spot. It did not seem alarmed, obviously quite accustomed to appearing in the spotlight, a reluctant star of evening entertainment.
Discovered just behind the Broken River Mountain Resort restaurant on an evening wildlife trail. The possum was evidently dining too, and was soon joined by a smaller partner. Our romantic duo had attracted the attention of several other guests, especially a couple of excited children. They chattered, and pestered their parents to allow them to get closer, the possums remained totally unfazed, but the decent thing to do, seemed to leave them to dine in peace.
Several minutes later we were searching the ancient rainforest for other marsupials, and the national parks most famous resident; the platypus. It was possibly a little late for platypus watching, I’d been delayed with a late afternoon diving expedition in search of the monotreme. My first river diving experience had been fun, but ultimately unsuccessful, I was hoping for more luck on this safari.
We came across some more possums, and twice spotted timid wallabies, which immediately did a runner, strictly speaking they did a hopper.
Creeping beneath the towering trees of the rainforest, the twilight safari revealed a world of lizards, and amphibians, fungi, and giants. Tiny geckos scurrying up the rough bark of giant red cedars, some of the oldest, and largest living organisms on the planet. The towering wooden monoliths are home to hundreds, maybe thousands of insects, and other small invertebrates.
There’s a wondrous world, right beneath our noses, a hidden kingdom, thriving on decay, under our feet. Bugs, ants, and numerous other creepy crawlies recycle dead leaves, and other detritus materials. Fighting battles among each other, invading rival colonies, and enslaving the vanquished, all beneath our feet.
Unconcerned in the midst of all this unseen activity large cane toads sit, often right in the middle of the path. Even less bothered by our presence than the armies, which swarm all around them.
Somehow we’d managed to find ourselves down by the river, on the platypus viewing platform, but they were as invisible as the insects. Watching patiently for sometime, scanning every inch of the water for any sign that the feeding monotreme, but without any luck. Then just as it was about time to surrender, and retreat for dinner, a male appeared, rewarding our patience. Dinner tasted especially good that evening.
An early start the next morning, and several guests, and I were treated to an extended viewing of a particularly obliging platypus. Spending around thirty minutes in it’s company, the comical looking creature continually dived and resurfaced, searching for breakfast. We snapped our camera shutters, and chattered like the giddy children from the evening before.
It was another David Attenborough moment for me, another ambition achieved, so many have been inspired by his programmes. However, I owe Queensland Tourism for providing me this once in a lifetime experience.