There are several entry points to the tracks. The track between the Platypus Viewing Platform and the “Other Side” is closed. The best access point is therefore at Allumbah Pocket at the bottom of Penda Street in Yungaburra. See the map below.
Points of Interest
There are many things to see along the walking tracks at Peterson Creek. Some of these are indicated on the map above and there are additional details below. The first photo is at the platypus viewing platform where the Gillies Range Rd crosses Peterson Creek. The track is closed beyond that as far as the “Other Side”. To rejoin the track, go to Allumbah Pocket at the bottom of Penda St in Yungaburra. Your first stop can be the Boiler Shed. From there, check out Lloyd’s Bridge and the “Other Side”, Then recross the bridge and walk to the old Railway Bridge (~1 km one-way).
Platypus Viewing Platform
This offers a parking spot on the edge of Yungaburra. Platypus are often seen here, but you might also have luck along the walking tracks at Allumbah Pocket (see map).
Allumbah Pocket at the bottom of Penda St in Yungaburra is now the best entrance to the walking tracks. from here, it is a short distance to the Boiler Shed, Lloyd’s Bridge and the Other Side.
The Other Side
The name says it all: cross the creek and you’re at the Other Side. Here, you will find a pleasant picnic shelter and some plantings on an old road reserve.
This suspension bridge was built to avoid the need for visitors to hop across the creek on stepping stones. Platypus can sometimes be seen in the creek below the bridge.
This was built to power a pump sending water from the creek to the railway station, which opened in 1910. The original coal-fired boiler has been restored here.
Williams Weir and water-driven energy hub
A short side track at Williams Weir (built in the 1930s) takes you to a restored ram pump. Nearby is the site of a turbine house set up in the 1930s. It now houses a functioning waterwheel.
The name references a school teacher from the 1930s who used to bring his class here to swim on hot days. There is now a picnic shelter beside the pool. From here the track rises steeply and winds its way towards the Railway Bridge.
This was built in 1957 on the line between Yungaburra and Kairi. It was only in use until 1964, when the line was submerged under the rising waters of Tinaroo Dam.
Animals you might see
Is the animal in the creek or on the bank close by?
We can confidently say that there are no crocodiles in Peterson Creek…
Most visitors to Peterson Creek hope to see one of these dabbling in the creek. Platypus are one of the weirdest mammals in existence. To look at, they are so unusual that the first dead, dried specimens sent to Europe in the 18th Century were thought to be a hoax, something cobbled together from parts of other animals. If you get a good look at a platypus, try to work out what kinds of animals those European naturalists thought had been stitched together.
The list of odd features is long, but here are a couple. Although they are mammals, platypus lay eggs rather than giving birth to live young. Eggs are laid in burrows in the creek bank. Male platypus have a sharp spur on each of the hind feet. These can deliver a venom to the unlucky handler which, while not lethal, is said to cause excruciating, long-lasting pain.
Click here to see a short video taken at Peterson Creek.
Freshwater turtles are often seen basking on rocks and logs on the edge of the creek. They disappear into the water with a loud “plop” when they are disturbed.
Eastern water dragon
These large lizards are commonly seen close to water. But you have to look very hard to find them: they are well camouflaged! They are mostly vegetarian but will eat a variety of foods.
Does it hop?
Two ground-dwelling hopping beasts (agile wallabies and pademelons) can be seen near the creek. In addition, Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo is sometimes seen on the ground.
This common wallaby can be found in many kinds of habitats, but especially in open, grassy country. Agile wallabies are not usually found in forest close to the creek but will often be seen peering at you from nearby grassy paddocks. They are lighter in colour (often described as “sandy”) and larger than pademelons. If you want to see a lot of them in one place, visit the Yungaburra Waste Transfer Station in Mulgrave Rd.
These small wallaby-like hoppers are common near the creek. They are happiest where there is dense forest cover, so their presence near the creek is a good sign.
Is it furry and in a tree?
Lumholz's tree kangaroo
This is a very special animal! You might be lucky enough to see a Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo, probably high above you in trees but sometimes moving on the ground. Often, the most obvious evidence of a tree ‘roo overhead is the long, dangling tail. There are two species of tree kangaroos in Australia. Lumholtz’s tree kangaroos, “our” species, can be found in upland forests between the Daintree and the Cardwell Range. They are uncommon to rare everywhere. Tree kangaroos are quite large and have a light-grey coat with a black mask on the face.
Green ringtail possum
Green ringtail possums are usually seen resting in trees during the day. This beautiful possum has fur with a greenish tinge and a conspicuous white patch under each eye. It is found only in a small area of North Queensland centred on the Atherton Tablelands.
Coppery brushtail possum
Like the green ringtail, this possum has a restricted distribution mainly on the Atherton Tablelands. There seems to be some disagreement about the correct scientific name for this possum: is it a distinct species, a subspecies or a local variant of the common brushtail possum.
Spectacled flying fox
One of the world’s largest flying mammals! These large bats spend their days high in the tree canopy, socialising noisily and fanning themselves in hot weather. They are usually heard before they are seen. A seasonal “camp” occurs close to Platypus Bend. Numbers vary considerably through the year, but peak late in the year when female bats come here to give birth to their single young. Spectacled flying foxes occur primarily in north-eastern Australia. They fly long distances seeking their food of seasonal fruit and are very important seed dispersers for the rainforests of the wet tropics. Following a heatwave in 2019, the population crashed and they are now classed as endangered. Visit the Tolga Bat Hospital near Atherton if you would like a chance to get close to some of these impressive animals.
Is it a bird?
Of the many bird species in the area, we will single out only the Australian Brush-Turkey (Alectura lathami). You cannot avoid seeing some along Peterson Creek. This species has done well in recent years and is even becoming a suburban pest in cities such as Sydney and Brisbane. The males cause fury with garden lovers. In the summer, they will rake up leaves and other vegetation (garden beds and veggie patches are common targets) into a huge mound. Nothing will deter a bird from carrying out this task. The male then persuades females to lay their eggs in the mound. He carefully checks and adjusts the temperature of the composting mound of vegetation. Eventually the eggs hatch, chicks dig themselves out, and fend for themselves immediately: they receive no parental care after hatching.
Is it a snake?
Identifying snakes correctly is both important and tricky. But if you see a very long snake, it is likely to be a Scrub Python. This is the largest of the several python species in the area and can exceed 5 m in length. Its correct scientific name is still being debated, but the most favoured currently is Simalia kinghorni. Scrub pythons have been filmed swallowing wallabies! Large Scrub Pythons are sometimes seen lying across the walking tracks. They won’t hurt you but it’s best not to stand on them.
There are also carpet pythons along the creek. One is pictured opposite. These do not get as large as scrub pythons, but are still impressive and beautiful animals.
When the Peterson Creek revegetation project started, it was all about the trees. The area where the walking tracks are now was probably originally covered by a variety of forest types including eucalypt woodland and Mabi forest. Mabi forest is of particular interest. This type of rainforest, named after the local Dulgubarra Yidinji name for Lumholz’s Tree Kangaroo, now has a very restricted distribution following clearing for settlement and agriculture. It is on the list of nationally threatened ecosystems. In our plantings, we have tried to include as many Mabi trees as possible.
The best example of Mabi forest very close to Yungaburra is in the Curtain Fig National Park.
Some of the trees planted along the track between Allumbah Pocket and Frawley’s Pool have signs nearby giving their Dulgubarra Yidinji name, scientific name and common name in English, as well as a small amount of biological information. QR codes on the signs will soon be attached and will take you to additional information. If you click on the Dulgubarra Yidinji name, you will hear the correct language pronunciation of the name (with many thanks to Laurie Padmore and the Tablelands Folk Festival). Laurie (Gabina) Padmore is a Senior Elder of the Dulgubarra Yidinji Clan and lives in Yungaburra. He learned the Tableland Yidiny language from his grandparents, Jack and Nellie Stewart.
Click on any of the signs below to get more information.