I absolutely love being in the Antipodes as the wildlife here is not only unique, but it is utterly captivating, and so it was a delight to head back and spend another couple of weeks searching for and photographing some icons.
Just as we did in the previous trip, we started on the mainland of Australia, photographing wildlife in the state of Victoria, before flying across the Bass Strait to Tasmania. Around the city of Geelong, we enjoyed photographing a wealth of wildlife including corellas, emu, eastern grey kangaroo, grey-headed flying fox and koala too.
After a fantastic few days photographing the wild delights of the mainland, including some Australian oddities, we hopped on a plane from Melbourne down to the city of Launceston in Tasmania. From here we headed to the Tasmania arboretum for some great platypus sightings and photography.
We then headed up into the hills and spent the next five days just immersing ourselves in the wild world of Tasmania's rugged mountains. Here photographic highlights included tiger snake, wombat, wallabies and several endemic birds.
We headed back down from Tasmania's Highlands back down towards the coast and stopped once again at the Tasmanian Arboretum. We thought our previous visit was remarkable for the platypus encounters we enjoyed, but this time it was exceptional. The absolute highlight was a pair of platypus fighting after an attempt at mating.
Over the next few days we continued by exploring the north-east of Tasmania, enjoying more wonderful photography opportunities including Forrester's kangaroos.
After a great period photographing in the northern reaches of Tasmania, it was time to head south towards Hobart. We spent an evening in Hobart, primarily as a rest stop, before heading over to Bruny Island the following day. Here, we would be staying close to the Inala property and our hope was to photograph some of the region's iconic birdlife including the forty-spotted pardalote.
As you can see, we had a magical couple of weeks photographing some of Australia's most sought-after species. It was great to be back in the bush and seeing some of my favourite Aussie wildlife.
So after a frog bonanza in Queensland, we spent 3 weeks travelling back down south towards the northern areas of New South Wales. Along the way we came across a wide range of Australian critters ... and to make a nice change, even a few mammals. Including one that I have wanted to see in the wild for as long as I can remember, the incredibly elusive Platypus.
We visited Eungella National Park in tropical Queensland, where we had heard there was a relatively good chance of seeing these unique and intriguing mammals. As you may or not be aware, the Platypus is only one of two monotremes that still exist on earth today. The classification for a monotreme is that they are an egg laying mammal, the other species which features in this unusual family is the Echidna. The Platypus is even more bizarre than just the fact that it lays egss, it also leaks milk through its skin and even has poisonous spurs on its hind legs.
Anyway ... here are the results of this little expedition
As you can see from the two very different styles of image above, I had two separate sightings. In fact, we had 3 separate sightings of at least 5 individuals. Our first sighting was as the evening light was fading and we were waiting above a beautiful isolated pool, within twenty minutes we saw a splash and a bow wave ripple on the water. It was my first ever moment watching a wild Platypus and something that will remain with me for a very long time, it was magical. We re-positioned ourselves and waited , hoping that we would get an even closer encounter.
On the second day we went back but not until later in the morning. Platypus are primarily crepuscular and it is very unusual to see them during the heat of the day. However, we were in luck, the second two images are both taken at 11 am and was swimming within 5 metres of us. It was such a magical experience and one I will never forget.