Eungella National Park – the best place to see platypus

Eungella National Park

Eungella National Park is situated at the end of Pioneer Valley, approximately 86 km west of Mackay, making it a popular destination for a weekend getaway or a short vacation. To reach the park, you must travel on a winding road that ascends to the top of the surrounding plains.

Fortunately, the road is now sealed and accessible by any type of car, though those towing a caravan should exercise extra caution. At the top of the climb, you can stop for a coffee or lunch at the Eungella General Store, conveniently located at the end of the road.

The park is home to many unusual species like Eungella day frog, spiny cray and Eungella honeyeater. Due to the park is located on the subtropical/tropical climate boundary, you can find species that live in both environments.

If you tried to search for a platypus in the past and you did not spot one, Eungella National Park is the perfect place to see this unusual animal if you are patient and stay quiet on the walks around the creek.

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Some call Eungella the platypus capital of the world

Eungella National Park - Skygate Window Circuit
Eungella National Park – Skygate Window Circuit
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Weather

Eungella National Park is a place where you don’t experience cold nights. Eungella experiences a subtropical highland climate, with mild to warm temperatures and high humidity throughout the year.

The average temperature in summer (December to February) ranges from 19°C to 28°C, while the average temperature in winter (June to August) ranges from 9°C to 22°C. Rainfall is common throughout the year, with the wettest months typically occurring between December and March.

You also always have to be prepared for rain, particularly during the wet season, and should also be aware that weather conditions can change quickly, particularly in higher elevations of the park. It is recommended to check the weather forecast before visiting and bring appropriate clothing and gear to ensure a comfortable and safe experience.

Eungella National Park Average Temperatures and Rainfall

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec 
313130282725252628303132Max
232322201613111114172022Min
29735321012064382426223780170Rain mm
151615121086446811Rain days
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Best Time to Visit

You can come to Eungella all year round. Note that in spring you can get some unexpected storms, and in summer, heavy rain. 

If you plan the take your family and kids, winter and spring holidays are the best options, but it can get busy so make sure to book your accommodation or camping in advance.

Eungella National Park - hiking
Eungella National Park – hiking
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Access & how to get there

The most common way to get to Eungella National Park is by car:

The park is best accessed by Mackay Eungella Road from the east. When you drive from Mackay, go past Netherdale, and at the end of Pioneer Valley, there is a steep climb to the top of Clarke Range.

Also, it is possible to get to Eungella from the west by taking some dirt roads. 

Coming from Nebo – take Turawilla Road and later turn right into Lizzie Creek Road. Once you arrive at Lake Eungella, turn right into Eungella Dam Road which takes you to Eungella National Park.

Coming from Collinsville – drive 26 km south and turn left into Collinsville Exmoor Road. Follow the road for 84 km and turn left into Lizzie Creek Road. Once you arrive at Lake Eungella, turn right into Eungella Dam Road which takes you to Eungella National Park.

You can also get there:

  • By tour: Various tour companies offer guided tours to Eungella National Park, which can be a convenient option for those who don’t want to drive themselves. Tours typically include transportation, a guide, and sometimes meals.
  • By public transport: Public transport is limited in the area, but there is a bus service that runs from Mackay to Eungella. From there, visitors can arrange for transportation to the park or walk the remaining distance.
  • By taxi or rideshare: Taxis and rideshare services are available in the area and can provide transportation to Eungella National Park.

Can you take your caravan to Eungella National Park?

If you are an experienced caravaner and comfortable driving on winding and steep mountain roads, then taking your caravan to Eungella National Park can be a great option for accommodation. The Broken River camping area within the park offers powered and non-powered sites suitable for caravans, and the facilities are well-maintained.

However, it’s important to note that the road leading to Eungella National Park, Mackay-Eungella Road, is steep and winding, with some tight corners and steep gradients. Caravaners should exercise caution when driving on this road and follow the posted speed limits. It’s recommended to drive during the day and check road conditions before starting your journey.


Accommodation

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Camping

Broken River Camping Area

Open plan campsites located adjacent to Broken River. Set in natural bushland it is a perfect place to stay for a night and look for platypus.

The area can be accessed by conventional vehicles and is suitable for camper trailers and caravans.

Facilities:

  • Tent sites
  • Camper trailer and caravan sites
  • Fire pits
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair access
  • Generators are allowed

Fern Flat Camping Area

Located beside Broken River where you can spot a platypus.

There are 8 sites available and they are only suitable for tents. You park your vehicle and take a short walk to your campsite. 

The area is not suitable for camper trailers and caravans.

Facilities:

  • Tent sites
  • Fire pits
  • Toilets
  • Picnic tables


Book your camping spot online via Queensland National Parks

Fern Flat Camping Area - our tent
Fern Flat Camping Area – our tent

Caravan Parks

Unfortunately, there are no caravan parks in Eungella. 

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Resorts

Broken River Mountain Resort

Broken River Mountain Resort is located in the heart of Eungella National Park, at the banks of Broken River, next to the Broken River Visitor Information Centre. 

If you want to spare yourself from packing camping gear and come to Eungella for a weekend, the resort is a great place to stop and enjoy the park.

Facilities at the resort:

  • Accommodation: cabins and lodges
  • Restaurant
  • Swimming Pool
  • Outdoor Areas
  • Function/Conference Centre
  • Spotlighting tour – complimentary for all resort guests every Saturday

Book your stay at Broken River Mountain Resort

Broken River
Broken River
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Things to do

Looking for platypus

Eungella National Park is where it is almost guaranteed to spot a platypus. Visitors to the park can almost always spot a platypus, as the park is renowned for its high population of these unique animals. The park’s main area is filled with informative boards and signs that highlight the significance of the platypus habitat in the region.

Below are our tips on how to spot a platypus:

  • Go in the right time – Platypus is active usually at dust and down. In the morning go on a river walk between 4 am and 8 am and in the evening between 3 pm and 7 pm.
  • Look for bubbles – Platypus dives for food and usually stay underwater. While diving it makes bubbles appear on the water’s surface. Look for bubbles and follow them to spot a platypus.
  • Don’t make noise – Platypus is a wild animal and Eungella is its natural habitat. Make sure you stay quiet while walking next to the river and soon you will be rewarded to spot this awesome animal.
  • Be patient – sometimes you have to stay longer than you think. Be patient as sometimes you need to wait a little longer before the platypus comes out.

Hiking – Rainforest Walks and Lookouts

Eungella National Park is plentiful with various walking trails suitable for any walker.

Visit Queensland National Parks to learn more about walks in Eungella.

Hiking Pine Grove Circuit
Hiking Pine Grove Circuit

Eungella National Park scenic drives

The main drive you get to Eungella National Park is already one where you enjoy the beautiful views, but there is more.

Pine Grove to Broken River – the main road that takes you from Pine Grove to Broken River and Broken River Mountain Resort. It is a 10 km drive that goes by the Sky Window through lush rainforest and open pasture to Broken River.

Broken River to Crediton Hall – it is a 10 km dirt road that is suitable for conventional vehicles. The road goes past some farming communities and ends at Crediton Hall, a popular picnic spot with tables and toilets. Note, if you want to continue to Denham Range you must have a 4WD.

Crediton Hall to Denham Range – it is a 33 km one-way road that takes you to the Denham Range camping area. The road is for 4WD only and can be very steep in places. 

Denham Range to Moonlight Dam – it is a 100 km drive if you start from Denham Range. You have to take a few unsealed roads and tracks that are accessible by 4WD only. If driving from Denham Range, take Cockies Creek Road and Eungella Dam Road. You will pass Lake Eungella on the way. Then, follow the road and join Turrawulla Road. You will access Moonlight Dam from the south.

Note, that it is much easier to get to Moonlight Dam from Nebo (50 km away), so plan your way accordingly.

Moonlight Dam to Mount Britton – Mount Britton is an abandoned mining town situated 35 minutes drive from Nebo. These days it holds evidence of prosperous gold times with many old mining equipment and materials. You can see a mining display and some rustic shelters containing high-quality prints and information boards. 

Mount Britton is now part of The Mining Trail drive and if you want to follow it you can pick up some brochures from the Visitor Information Centres in the region.

Mount Britton can be also accessed by a 4 km walk from Moonlight Dam.

If you drive from Nebo, turn to Homevale Road and follow it until your reach Mount Britton.

Spotlighting – night tour in Broken River Mountain Resort

There is an organised night tour in Broken River Mountain Resort. You can join their resident environmentalist and learn about nocturnal animals in the national park. 

The tour is complimentary for all resort guests and runs every Saturday evening. If you are visiting Eungella during the week you can book a tour for $70 per family on any other day.

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Our Experience & Tips

We visited Eungella National Park in September during the school holiday. Interestingly there were not many people around.

We camped at the Ferny Flat camping area. This campground is only suitable for tents with a short walk from the vehicle. Around us, we had only 3 other families camping, so it was quiet.

In the evening, we had a campfire in a fire pit and we enjoyed it.

Here are some practical tips for visiting Eungella National Park:

  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear: The terrain in Eungella National Park can be uneven and steep, so it’s essential to wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots with good grip. Additionally, it’s important to dress appropriately for the weather and bring extra layers if necessary.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks: It’s important to stay hydrated while exploring the park, so be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to keep your energy up. There are no food or drink facilities within the park, so you will need to bring your own.
  • Take a map or guidebook: There are several walking trails within the park, and it’s a good idea to take a map or guidebook to help navigate your way. Maps can be obtained from the park’s information centre or downloaded from the Queensland National Parks website.
  • Respect the wildlife: Eungella National Park is home to many unique species of wildlife, including the elusive platypus, so it’s important to observe from a distance and avoid disturbing them(Unless they disturb you – read our funny story below).
  • Check for park alerts and closures: Before visiting the park, it’s a good idea to check the Queensland National Parks website for any alerts or closures that may affect your visit.
  • Be aware of the weather conditions: The weather in Eungella National Park can change quickly, and it’s important to be aware of the conditions before setting out on a hike or other activity.
  • Leave no trace: Eungella National Park is a beautiful and fragile ecosystem, and it’s important to leave no trace of your visit. Be sure to pack out all your trash and respect the park’s vegetation and wildlife.
  • Bring insect repellent: The park is home to a variety of insects, including mosquitoes and ticks, so it’s a good idea to bring insect repellent to protect yourself.
  • Book in advance: If you plan to camp within the park, be sure to book in advance as campsites can fill up quickly, especially during peak periods.
  • Don’t take any pets with you: pets are not allowed in Eungella National Park, including the camping and picnic areas. This is to protect the park’s unique flora and fauna, including vulnerable and endangered species. Domestic animals, including dogs, can also pose a threat to native wildlife and disrupt their natural behaviour. Visitors who bring pets to the park may be fined.

Funny story

Kasha was preparing dinner at the campfire while I went for a platypus walk with Nell. On the way back to the campground we heard a scream. We ran back to our camping spot and saw an interesting picture.

Kasha was chasing a scrub turkey that took our car keys from the top of our thermal pot that was sitting on the ground. Luckily after 30 meters, the turkey dropped the keys on the ground.

The reason the turkey took the keys was I had a lizard paw (a souvenir from Kuranda) attached to it, and the turkey thought it was a snack or something.

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Always keep your keys in a safe spot away from animal reach.

During our stay, we walked many trails including Pine Grove Circuit, Sky Window Circuit, Pine Grove – Cedar Grove track, and Granite Bend Circuit.

The most important is that we spotted platypus every day of our three days stay. That is why we always say that in Eungella it is almost guaranteed to spot a platypus.

One day we also went for a 4WD drive to Lake Eungella. It is a scenic drive that goes first through the rainforest and later changes to open woodland. Lake Eungella is a popular boating and skiing spot. It is also possible to camp there.

On our last day, after a long walk, we visited Eungella general store and had a great lunch. We always like trying local food stores as they are usually very friendly and offer good meals.

In summary, Eungella National Park is a great place to admire nature and wildlife. If you like the rainforest, hiking, or 4WD trips this is a great place to visit.

Events and festivals in the Eungella National Park region

Here are some of the most popular local events and festivals throughout the year that celebrate the culture and heritage of the Mackay region, in case you’re still looking for interesting things to do:

  1. Mackay Festival of Arts: This annual event takes place in July and features a variety of cultural and artistic performances, including theatre, dance, music, and visual arts.
  2. Mackay Show: The Mackay Show is an agricultural show that takes place in June and features livestock displays, carnival rides, live entertainment, and more.
  3. Sarina Beach Coconut Festival: This festival takes place in August and celebrates the area’s tropical lifestyle and coconut industry. The festival features live music, food stalls, coconut-themed competitions, and more.
  4. Eungella Bird Week: This week-long event in September celebrates the unique birdlife of the Eungella National Park with guided bird-watching tours, photography workshops, and more.
  5. Pioneer Valley Show: This annual agricultural show takes place in August and features livestock displays, wood-chopping competitions, live entertainment, and more.
  6. Sarina Sugar Shed Fair: This fair takes place in August and celebrates the area’s sugar cane industry. The fair features live music, food stalls, and tours of the Sarina Sugar Shed.
  7. Great Barrier Reef Festival: This festival takes place in August and celebrates the natural beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. The festival features live music, food stalls, a street parade, and more.

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4WD Equipment Checklist

GPS Navigator or compass

Maxtrax – if you get bogged, you can use it for additional traction

Tire Deflator – deflate tires quickly when going on dirt or 4WD

Air Compressor – inflate tires quickly after going back on bitumen (we use MM)

Tire Repair Kit – to fix the tire by yourself when you don’t have access to the tire shop (we use Oztrail)

UHF Radio – for communication with your mates and in emergency

Full Recovery Kit (with Dampener Blanket) – must-have if you are going on real off-road

High Lift Jack – useful if you do serious 4WD tracks

Shovel – useful if you get bogged, also good for campfire cooking

Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places

Additional fuel canisters

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