Roaming Northern Territory’s waterways are over a staggering 100,000 Saltwater Crocodiles, lurking but thankfully rarely seen.
To fully appreciate these incredible creatures, it is best to view them in their natural habitat, on a wildlife cruise. Here, you can witness them sunning themselves on the mangrove lined mud banks, weaving though rivers and amazingly launching themselves out of the water to snatch prey that is on offer.
Tours can be taken from Darwin as the Adelaide River is only about 65 kms east of the city. We had picked up our motorhome that morning and stopped for the cruise, en-route to Kakadu National Park. We chose a company which has been in operation since 1985, Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise and we spent about an hour out on the water.
What Will You See On A Jumping Crocodile Cruise?
The Company have two boats depending on the size of party to be taken out on the river and as we were a small party we went on the Wildcat, an 8.7 m catamaran, with undercover seating for a maximum of 20-24 people.
The most important thing to remember is that crocodiles, whilst fascinating to watch, are aggressive reptiles in the wild. You must not lean over the side of the boat, dangle anything over the side and keep all limbs inside the boat.
It is of vital importance that any interaction with these amazing creatures does not interfere with their natural habitat or how they fend for themselves in the wild. The cruise length is such that the crocodiles lose none of their instincts with regards to hunting and natural survival, in fact the meat that is offered to them is the type of prey they would naturally hunt for in the wild.
Just as the boat crew have learned to recognise the crocodiles and even given them names, so too have the crocodiles come to learn the sound of the boat engines.
The crew of two are experienced guides and will relay an informative commentary as you leave the jetty in search of the saltwater crocodiles. Safety is always at the forefront, indeed the reality is such, that if a passenger fell into the water, there would be no point in a member of crew trying to save them by jumping in after them!
It is quite startling when the first head appears in the murky water and swims towards the boat. Many of us automatically recoil, pushing our bodies against the backs of our seats. One crew member prepares the small piece of meat as bait which is dangled from a line. As the crocodile gets close to the boat, they hold the line out over the edge and we all wait, eyes fixed on the water. When the crocodile propels itself out of the water it is slightly disconcerting and astounding at the same time. These are magnificent creatures, who have learnt to jump out of the water to snatch bait on offer to them.
It is awesome how close these predators are to the safety of the boat and we are lucky to see a baby crocodile, an oldie called Rufus and several other sized crocodiles in between.
The crew make sure that everyone has time at the back of the boat and that we all get those memorable photos, whilst answering any questions we may have.
You feel extremely safe throughout the tour and it is a truly unforgettable experience viewing these impressive saltwater crocodiles in the wild.
To finish off the cruise as we head back to the jetty, the crew throw food for some kites who sweep in for their catch.
- The Spectacular Jumping Crocodile Cruise is located off the Arnhem Highway, at the turn off for Window on the Wetlands. (About 65 km from Darwin)
- Vessels are scheduled five minutes before departure, subject to demand, but I think the overall experience would be better on the smaller vessel, the Wildcat.
- Access to the site is via a 2 km gravel road which is suitable for hire cars, caravans, motor homes and coaches, with plenty of free parking.
- Cruises run daily at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Enquire whether there are any coach bookings on the day of your cruise, so you can avoid that departure time.
- At the time of writing the cruise cost is $40 per adult but check the official site for concessions.
- The Company have a selection of Python Snakes available for handling prior to most cruises. This is complimentary, however do not wear sun block, insect repellent or perfume if you want to handle a snake.
- There is an informal kiosk at the departure point where you can get complimentary tea and coffee and cold drinks.
- There are clean toilets at the entrance for men and women.
Have you been on a Jumping Crocodile Cruise?
PIN TO SHARE :