Unique Aussies, meet the Platypus and Echidna
Beauty Point Travel Blog› entry 4 of 10 › view all entries
Dad wanted to head up to Launceston to see the National Automobile Museum of Tasmania and I have wanted to go to Sea Horse World since I first heard about it a few years ago, and recently I heard about the Platypus House at Beauty Point just past Launceston. So dad and I hit the road; we stopped for coffee in Campbell Town and made it to Beauty Point by 1pm.
We didn’t realise that both Seahorse World and Platypus House were both on the same pier until we were staring at them. The addresses for them are very different and the sign on the side of the road stated Platypus House 5km and Seahorse World 6km, it was the same sign, but they were about 10 metres apart. Strange but true. :)
We arrived at Platypus House just in time to join a tour that had just started. The guide let us pat a stuffed platypus (don’t make any dirty jokes) to give us an idea of just how soft the fur is. It really surprised me how soft it is. We also got a look at the spurs from a male’s hind legs. These spurs are venomous and a man died after he was spiked in the chest by a platypus. Most people are stung in the hands or arm because they have tried to pick up a male platypus, the pain is excruciating and I don’t recommend picking up a platypus if you happen to come across one because there is no anti-venom.
We watched in one room while three platypuses frolicked and played in three large tanks all connected by tunnels the platypus had to climb up and walk through to get to the other tanks. One was sleeping, one was just chilling out, but one put on a nice show for us. The platypus look much larger out of the water and that is one of their defence mechanisms against predators in the water. It was fascinating watching these shy mysterious creatures, knowing that very few people have the chance to see them. After the guided tour, we had the chance to watch a video about a German woman who came to Tasmania to study a nesting platypus and an Australian videographer who had heard about the study and wanted to film the study. It was an interesting video and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.
We also had the chance to meet some little echidnas.
Unlike platypuses, echidnas are land animals although they are able to swim quite well. Echidnas are not related to either the hedgehogs or porcupines but are related to the platypus. I can’t tell you what a great tour this was. If you are ever in Tasmania do yourself the biggest favour of your life and go see these cute little animals, they will leave a smile on your face for a long time after your visit.
Seahorse House was in a similar shed across the pier. This is what I had really wanted to see. I find Seahorses fascinating and I am so glad I went to have a look. Seahorse world is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the seahorse and the tour is wonderfully educational and at the same time entertaining. My favourites were the leafy sea dragon, I had seen a television show about them once and was thrilled to learn I would see them for real, but the best thing!!!!! While we were in seeing the new baby seahorses that had been bred here, the tour guide asked for volunteers. I looked at dad thinking it might be nice if he volunteered, but he shook his head at me, a few seconds of silence in the room, so I said I’d be game for whatever it was I was volunteering. After a few more seconds other people started to reluctantly volunteer and the guide who was standing in front of two large tanks full of seahorses, said we could count the seahorses in each tank. We all groaned, thinking it would take hours to count them all, but then the guide gave us all a plastic glove each and told us we would hold a seahorse. I was a little unsure about this, but the guide assured us we would not hurt them. The guide grabbed a handful of them and gave one to each of us.
They felt so different to how I expected them to feel. Not that I really know what I was expecting, but they were hard, mine wiggled in between my fingers, making it hard for my dad to get a good shot, but his ‘skin’ felt almost like a shell.
They are such a graceful creature and surprisingly agile. They have a tale like a monkey that automatically grabs onto anything it touches, it was funny seeing a seahorse with the tail of one seahorse wrapped around its neck and the tail of another wrapped around its tail, then two seconds later they were all ‘floating’ away in separate directions. The guide had warned us about them looking as if they are being strangled; she assured us they were ok. There is so much to tell you about the seahorse, but I think it best if I leave it up to the professionals, so if you are interested in learning more, go and have a look at the website. (See review below)
After our two great tours, it was well and truly past lunchtime, dad, and I were starving. On our way south, back to Grindelwald where we had booked in for the night we drove through Beaconsfield where a few years ago, a mine collapsed killing one miner and trapping two others nearly a kilometre underground for two weeks. Beaconsfield is a small town, and we found a great little food shop where dad and I both had a good old Aussie meat pie for our late lunch.
I’m going to break today into a few parts, both to give me a break from writing and to give you a chance to read other people’s blogs. :) Thanks for sticking around and staying until the end.