Queensland, Australia

with Aussie Walkabouts

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Day 9 - Platypus Watching and Hiking in Finch Hatton Gorge

We started today by getting up early to go see the platypuses we missed yesterday.  We were glad we got up early because we got to see several of them!  They are quite shy, so seeing them in the wild is not common.  They are much smaller than I expected; only about the length of your forearm.
On the way back to breakfast, we stopped to take some pictures of Cockatoos.  This part of Australia is a tropical climate, so the tropical birds are EVERYWHERE, as you will see in the pictures.  One of them makes an awful racket with its screeching call, so you can imagine how obnoxious hundreds of them are!
After breakfast we went hiking in Finch Hatton Gorge.  The gorge is named for the main who first explored the area.  The creek running through the gorge has some HUGE boulders in it.  Its really amazing to see.  Be sure to read the story surrounding the last pic on this page!
A platypus surfaces to munch on some breakfast he found at the bottom. (92k)
I had to zoom in really far to get these pictures, so please forgive the image quality. (116k)
Like I said, the cockatoos were everywhere. (127k)
These pictures don't do justice to how close we were able to get. (138k)
Heading down from Eungella into Pioneer Valley. (2500x561, 307k)
Part of Araluen Falls in Fitch Hatton Gorge. (167k)
The boulders in the creek bed were huge! (170k)
Video of the creek bed in Finch Hatton Gorge (0:16, 13.5Mb)
The Kookaburra bird is Australia's national bird. (163k)
They were VERY interested in our picnic lunch (159k)
As you can see, they weren't afraid of us at all. (206k)
This was one of the funnier moments on the trip.  Mark dared his brother Chris that he wouldn't sit on the ground with bread in his mouth with all of the Kookaburras around.  Chris accepted the dare, but was a little hesitant at first.  Well he finally laid down with the bread in his mouth.  Right after this picture was taken, three Kookaburra's flew down to get the bread and one landed right on his crotch! (179k)