Thirty something girl, originally from Sydney but Brisbane is home now. Eats, drinks, socialises, watches art-house, studies the stars, and loves music. I'm a professional copywriter and editor. Hearts writing things.
Crocodylus Park and Zoo is located just five minutes from Darwin airport, off the Stuart Highway, and is home to a large population of saltwater and freshwater crocs, ranging from babies through to fully grown males and females. They share the park with a wide array of exotic and native wildlife, such as alligators, iguanas, cassowaries, baboons, Timor ponies, emus and dingoes.
The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm and admission price is $40 for adults, $30 for pensioners and $20 for kids aged 3 to 15 years. Kids under 3 are free. There are also family passes available at reduced rates, as well as discounted group rates.
You are free to wander around and explore the park in your own time, visit the reptile display, crocodile museum, or participate in the crocodile feeding tours with sessions at 10am, 12 noon, 2pm and 3.30pm. Lisa was our young but very knowledgeable guide, who lured crocodiles into jumping out of the water to feed off meat dangling from a line resembling a fishing line. She even lets punters try their hand at feeding the crocodiles. Once the crocodile latches onto its food you're supposed to pull the line away, but I saw one croc literally bite off more than it could chew as the man feeding it almost lost the entire line in the croc's mouth. So yeah, this is not pre-rehearsed folks. During the tour you'll find out a lot of things you probably didn't know about crocodiles, like how many sets of teeth they lose and replenish over their lifetime (it's a lot!), that crocodiles have human-like fingers and toes but some of them are webbed to help them move faster, and that one of the crocodiles in the park weighs a massive 1000 kilos!
There is a section of the park which houses pairs of crocodiles in 'couple pens'. Each pair consists of one male crocodile and one female crocodile. The males (and females too) usually snap at anyone trying to encroach on their turf. On the day I was visiting the park, some routine grounds maintenance was being carried out by two male greenkeepers. I witnessed the first guy cautiously enter a pen with a long bamboo stick used to fend off gnarly crocodiles. The other guy entered soon after with his whipper snipper to tidy the foliage in the pen, while the guy with the bamboo stick stood guard. I think the possessive male croc thought these guys were trying to cut a different sort of 'grass' so he raged out of the water staking his claim over the female crocodile. The bamboo stick bearer frightened the crocodile back into the water by ferociously banging the stick down in quick succession. What a job! Yeah, think I'll stick to copywriting.
Then as a wonderful finale to the crocodile feeding tour, you get the opportunity to hold a baby crocodile. You've never seen anything cuter!
The crocodile museum contains interesting information and images of crocodiles, displays of things like aboriginal crocodile hunting tools and hunting boats, and there are live baby crocs in tanks. Placards line the walls and tell a story as you meander through the museum, and there is also an informative video to watch.
I was a little disappointed about the meagre size of the reptile display which featured only three snakes – a Burmese Python, Green Anaconda and red/yellow Corn snake. Nonetheless, these snakes were impressive.
There is a small souvenir shop and indoor cafeteria selling cold drinks, packaged ice-creams and a basic lunch menu which features hot dogs, pasties and sausage rolls, nachos and $6.50 burgers (crocodile, chicken or beef). The food isn't fancy but it's cheap and tastes quite good.
If you'd like to try cooking some crocodile yourself, you can also buy pre-packaged BBQ crocodile packs to take home with you, comprising burgers, satays, sausages and fillets.