Platypus House is probably the easiest and simplest place to see Platypus and Echidna in Tasmania.
Platypus House is located in a beautiful spot on the aptly named Beauty Point.
It sits opposite from Seahorse World on the lovely Inspection Head Wharf which sits out over the Tamar River in the North East of Tasmania. Around 47 minutes drive from Launceston.
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What Is A Monotreme?
A monotreme is an extremely unique order of animals. What makes them so unique is that they are egg laying mammals, which is rather unusual in the animal kingdom. But that’s not all, they also posses no teats.
Once the egg hatches, the tiny babies are fed by a milk patch. This is an area of skin with pores that excrete milk for the young.
The monotreme family is very exclusive, being made up of only the Platypus and a few species of Echidnas.
Platypus House Introductory Video
The 45 minute guided tour starts with an introductory video documenting platypus researchers out in the wilds.
The film follows a documentary film maker and a biologist as they follow a breeding female along the South Esk River.
They monitor and track the female platypus to her burrow by attaching a radio transmitter to her fur.
Once they’ve found her burrow, they insert a miniature camera to show you how platypus breed and raise their young.
Be prepared for lots of baby platypus cuteness.
Monotreme Information Session
Once the introductory video is over, the tour guide collects the group, and begins the monotreme information session.
The tour leader explains everything you could possibly need to know about the five species that make up the monotremes order.
You’ll learn what characteristics make up a monotreme. Why they are so unique in the animal kingdom. And their unique breeding and reproduction cycle.
Feel what a Platypus pelt feels like. And learn about the fascinating and deadly world of Platypus venom.
If you’re still wanting more monotreme information, then the room is filled with information boards with diagrams, photos and even more information about monotremes.
We found the information session to be one of the most interesting portions of the tour and extremely educational. We left knowing a lot more about the fascinating monotreme order.
Male Platypus Enclosure
This is where you’ll catch your first glimpse of a Platypus. In the male Jupiter’s domain.
Due to the territorial nature of the male platypus, he has his own paludarium enclosure decked out with a pool, ramps and land to roam around on.
His girlfriend visits occasionally for company, but this is his domain and as we found out, he rules it with an iron fist, or webbed feet in this instance.
The tour guide explains how the male lives his life. How he controls his river kingdom. And his harem of females.
While he looks cute and innocent, it turns out he’s actually a rather mean and brutal dictator.
He is known to kidnap and kill females that refuse to breed with him.
And if any of his existing harem of females was to associate with a rogue male in his territory. He would not only attack and kill the male, he’d kill the female as well.
His male offspring are also fair game if they don’t move out of home quickly!
Our favourite part was watching and learning how a platypus hunts underwater using their senses during the live feeding demo. But I think the yabbies and worms used during the demo would disagree.
Female Platypus Enclosures
The female platypus named Poppy, Dawn, Freya and Dusk have their own separate enclosures away from the male Jupiter.
Like Jupiter, their enclosures are paludariums, except much smaller.
This is probably the best place on the tour to get a good glimpse of a platypus as they are literally right in front of you.
They seem to be in a constant blur of manic motion as they swim around in an erratic twitching motion, diving and shuffling about underwater looking for food.
Once their bellies are full, they either wedge themselves underwater and relax or groom their waterproof buoyant fur while digesting their food.
I love Echidnas! Besides wombats, they’re one of my favourite Australian animals. We often visit Cradle Mountain just to catch a glimpse of one. So the echidna encounter was a real highlight of the tour.
You’re in a room, sitting on the floor, with echidna’s just roaming around, doing as they please.
Being mere centimetres away from these unique critters is a real buzz. And gives you a great close up look at these interesting little animals.
You might even be lucky enough to have one decide you’re worthy enough to climb on for closer inspection.
They really are a unique and interesting looking animal. The elongated tongue. Prickly spine covered backs. And the strange looking backward turned legs and claws.
It was fun watching them interact with the tour guests and other echidnas. But it was especially fun to see them finish their own food and run around checking their buddies bowls for leftovers.
- Child: 10.50 AUD (4-16 years)
- Adult: 24.90 AUD
- Family: 59.90 AUD (2 Adults, 3 Children)
Platypus House is open daily.
- May-October from 10:00-15:30
- November-April from 09:30-16:30
Exceptions: Closed Christmas Day.
Check the official website for up to date information.
- Car park
- Gift shop
Address: 200 Flinders Street, Beauty Point. Tasmania, Australia.
Click to view map to Platypus House.
- If you intend to visit Seahorse World and Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre, save money using the Tamar Triple Pass
We really enjoyed our time at Platypus House and would recommend visiting to everyone, especially families.
The tour guides are very friendly, knowledgeable and able to answer all your monotreme questions.
It’s a very educational and enjoyable tour which gives a great insight into the lives of this fairly elusive order of animals that are difficult to see out in the wild.
- Seahorse World
- Beaconsfield Mine & Heritage Centre