Platypus scouting at Lake Elizabeth
The last stop on our road trip from the Grampians (Gariwerd) to the Great Ocean Road was a very special one. Since the failed platypus scouting in Gippsland, we still had some unfinished business and several travelers along the way told us, that the chances to spot a platypus (or two) would be at least realistic at Lake Elizabeth. The lake itself is fairly new – after heavy rain in 1952, a landslide blocked the East Barwon River and when the surprised folks living nearby went to discover why the water stopped flowing, they found a brand new lake. For this reason, there a lot of dead tree trunks sticking out of the lake, giving it a little eerie impression, especially if you arrive at dusk.
The lake itself is not that big and it takes about 20 minutes to reach it from the campground and maybe another 45 minutes to walk around. I remember the estimated times given on the signs were a bit exaggerated. The area is also a perfect habitat for snakes, since it does not get much light and is relatively cold and wet. So it is a good idea to bring a flashlight when you go at dusk, since the way back to the campground takes a little while. So after circling the lake, we hang out on the little wooden platform at the tip of the lake and waited for dusk to arrive and deliver many platypus sightings. It took quite a while since anything happened at all on the lake. But eventually, you could see something tiny and far away swimming from one side of the lake to the other. It turned out, that if you are quite far away, than you can not really see a lot of the platypus. Even harder, once you are sure that you see one, it is most likely going down for a dive in the time you can get your camera ready. Therefore, I did not get any great shots of them, but it was a very exciting adventure.
If you consider going to go to Lake Elizabeth, it might increase your chances of a platypus encounter if you go on a kayak trip on the lake, provided you have the time and can plan early in advance. Since the platypuses were to far away to take a decent picture, here is at least the information sign which is closely located where the trail to the campground hits the lake.
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