Back to nature
It is a rare treat to see platypus as close as this, active and in the light. These strange, furry creatures with long bills paddle through the water, webbed feet churning. Your kids could spend ages watching them through the glass as they feed, dive down and bob up for air, but there’s another monotreme waiting around the corner. The tour guide leads you inside the echidna garden, and invites you to kneel on the ground. To the kids’ delight, echidnas are soon waddling into their laps on the way to trays of mush, which they lick up with long, earthworm-like tongues.
Inspection Head Wharf, 200 Flinders St, Beauty Point; (03) 6383 4884
■ The website – it has lots of intriguing information about platypus and echidnas.
With its eyes, nose and ears tightly closed when it dives, a platypus has to find food by using electrical receptors in its bill. It gulps in yabbies, crayfish and anything else it finds, storing the food in cheek pouches until it comes up for air (every minute or so). The platypus then ‘chews’ its food by grinding it between horny plates inside its bill. Although platypus babies have teeth, these fall out after a few months.
■ Allow about an hour for your visit. Tours last 35 minutes and depart regularly throughout the day, half-hourly in summer. It is advisable to book.