Platypus Spotting in Burnie


Fern Glade Reserve has a reputation for being one of the most reliable places for observing platypus in the wild in Tasmania.

Decorated by nature with moss and ferns, Fern Glade offers a place of quiet contemplation, investigation and observation, on the edge of a city.

An interpretative trail provides interesting points on the flora, fauna and location as you meander along the riverbank linking two open areas with facilities.

The water is clean, although stained by the natural tannin, and platypus thrive there.

Platypus are best viewed in the morning or evening.  Vehicle access to the reserve is restricted from dusk to dawn.


Where to see platypus in Tasmania

Tasmania offers several excellent locations for spotting platypus in the wild. Here are some top spots:

Best platypus spots in Burnie:

  • Fernglade Reserve
  • Upper Natone Forest Reserve
  • Emu Valley Rhododendron Garden


Where can I see platypus elsewhere in Tasmania?

North West

  • Warrawee Reserve, 5 minutes south of Latrobe, off Shale Road.
  • Mersey River, Latrobe and the ‘platypus pool’ are a short distance from the old Deloraine Road junction. Visitors can schedule guided tours at the Hall of Fame's Information Centre.
  • Meander River, Deloraine Riverbank reserve, jetty or footbridge near the caravan park.
  • Waratah Lake's southern shore, away from the main street. Beautiful lakes line the left side of the road leading into town.
  • Stanley, platypus twilight tour with Wilderness Tasmania Tours
  • Sassafras Creek, Mole Creek just downstream from Union Bridge. .
  • Tasmanian Arboretum in Eugenana, 12 kilometres south of Devonport.
  • Strahan - Botanical Creek on the way to Hogarth Falls.
  • Taylor's Flats Picnic Area, Loongana. Explore along the River Leven.


Central Highlands

  • Little Pine Lagoon (Central Highlands)
  • Cradle Mountain – Ronny Creek (more common) and Dove Lake (less common)
  • Platypus Bay, Lake St Clair 1.5km along the track, after crossing the Watersmeet Bridge you will come to the platypus lookout hide.



  • Taylor's Flats Picnic Area or anywhere else along the River Leven Loongana
  • Northeast Park, Scottsdale
  • Platypus House, Beauty Point Guided Tour
  • Meander Riverbank reserve (Deloraine):. Check out the small jetty or stand in the middle of the footbridge near the caravan park. Guided tours are available at the Hall of Fame's Information Centre.



  • Tyenna River and the park's creeks near Westerway, the area around the Possum Shed Cafe with a guided tour.
  • Salmon Ponds in Plenty
  • Heritage Park, Geevston ‘Platypus Walk’ with a designated platypus viewing platform. (Kermandie River)
  • Snug Falls, 30 minutes south of Hobart Keep an eye out for platypus along the Snug River while visiting the falls.
  • Huon Valley Caravan Park
  • Tywnald Park, New Norfolk


Related Information


Platypus FAQ's

What time of day is best for viewing platypus in Burnie?
Platypus are most active 30 minutes before sunset, when they emerge from their burrow, and first thing in the morning, when they head back in about 30 minutes after sunrise.

In winter and early spring they're more active during the day too, as the colder weather means they need more food so have to spend more time finding it.

How do you see platypus?
All you have to do is keep your eyes on the water for any signs of activity, mostly ripples created by the swimming or feeding in the shallows.

What should I bring with me when viewing platypus in Burnie?A: You should bring comfortable walking shoes, binoculars, a camera, and insect repellent.

Where is the best place to view platypus in Burnie, Tasmania?
Spotting platypus in the wild can be a bit unpredictable, as they are elusive, there are a number of rivers, creeks, dams and lakes where you are more likely to see platypus around Burnie especially in the early morning and late afternoon.

Fernglade Reserve is a nature reserve located about 3km from the city center. The Fernglade Platypus Trail follows the Emu riverbank, and along the way there are informative signs to inform you about the area's many unique features, including the platypus. Entry to Fernglade Reserve is free. The gates are closed to cars from sunset to sunlight so you may need to park and walk in outside of these times to view platypus.

Emu Valley Rhododendron Gardens: is a stunning garden located 8km south of Burnie, off the Ridgley Highway, Platypus, echidna, and diverse bird life are routinely sighted.

Guide Falls Reserve: This nature reserve is located 25km south of Burnie and is another potential location for seeing platypus.

Upper Natone Forest Reserve: is approximately 30 kms from Burnie via Stowport and Natone, platypus are spotted in the lagoon from time to time.

Can I swim or kayak in the same area as the platypus?
Although swimming and kayaking are permitted in Burnie Reserves, keep your distance and be very careful not to disturb their natural habitat, especially when you are getting into and out of the water, platypus nest in earth bank.

What does a platypus look like?
The platypus has a duck-like bill, which is flat and wide, resembling a beak. Its bill is soft and sensitive, equipped with electroreceptors that help it detect prey underwater. The platypus has small, beady eyes and small ears located on the sides of its head. It has webbed feet with sharp claws that are ideal for digging burrows and navigating through water. One of its most distinctive features is its tail, which is broad and flattened, resembling that of a beaver. The platypus has a dark brown fur color on its back and a lighter shade on its belly


Does a platypus lay eggs?
Yes, it is one of only two species of monotremes, or egg-laying mammals, in the world.


Are there any guided tours available for viewing platypus in Burnie?
There are no official guided tours available, but some local tour operators offer platypus viewing experiences.

Friends of Fernglade
A voluntary group assisting Burnie City Council and Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service in the management of Fernglade Reserve, and its amazing wildlife.

Wild Platypus
Wild Platypus conduct platypus and wildlife Ecotours for bespoke private tours, coach tours, and well developed and popular 'packages' to cruise ships, since 2004.

Related info:



Fern Glade Platypus Reserve, Fernglade Road, Burnie 7320  View Map and directions

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