Writer/Blogger, aspiring published author
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Published May 14th 2012
Now if you have never seen crocodiles in real life, I am telling you now, this is the cruise to go on!
Situated approximately 40mins outside of the Darwin CBD, Spectacular Crocodile Cruises offers you the chance to see these amazing creatures up close and personal. Witness them jump alongside the boat - it will give you a real perspective of their incredible size and power.
I can say I am a big fan as I have been on this particular cruise a few times. I used to live in the NT and each time family and friends came to visit, they were driven out to the Adelaide River to take part in this experience of a lifetime. I never grew tired of the entertaining commentary of the tour guides and seeing so many crocs of all shapes and sizes.
You can get to the Jumping Crocs Cruise by either taking the Crocodile Express Bus from Darwin City or by driving yourself out there.
If you drive yourself out there, take the turnoff from the Arnhem Highway at the Window on the Wetlands. Follow the drive all the way up and veer left on to a dirt track. It can be misleading as the track is long and you can't really see an end to it but keep persevering.
You will drive through flood plains and can observe the water buffalo having a soak in the water up to their necks, spot the occasional goanna and also lots of birdlife including the Territory's icon, the Jabiru.
You eventually arrive at a little shed where you are greeted by the tour guides. The tours run every two hours from 9am-3pm. You do not have to book ahead just turn up about 30 minutes before the boat departs. If you do wish to book this can be done online, through a travel/tourism agency or through your Darwin accommodation.
Tours are $35 per adult, $20 for children and you can also get family passes $80 for two adults and two children. Senior rate of $30 also applies.
Make sure you include some time to check out their collection of the Territory's local pythons, including the black headed python and "Ollie" the Olive python. There is also an opportunity to hold one of the snakes and have your photo taken. Take heed - these snakes are not little but are very tame. If I can hold them, anyone can!
Before boarding the boat you are given a quick safety briefing. Please listen carefully - the amount of times I have seen a tourist distracted while this briefing is going on is alarming. Crocodiles are extremely dangerous animals and do not discriminate when it comes to finding a meal. It is important to know that if you lean out to take a photo of one crocodile, it doesn't mean another one isn't lurking right beneath you ready to jump and take your head off.
Once all the pleasantries are over, you are led down a ramp to the river and board one of the boats ready for your one hour crocodile tour.
Each tour is unique and the guides are well educated in crocodile behaviour and statistics, so there are no questions left unanswered. Often the same crocodiles visit the boat for a feed of buffalo, so they all known by name by the guides.
The feeding is done by the guide who has a makeshift "fishing rod" that has a piece of raw buffalo hanging off the end of it. The meat is tapped in the water a few times and then you get to witness the magic of the huge beast sizing up and then jumping for its meal. You will experience nothing like it in your life, it is absolutely incredible.
If you are fortunate enough to see the infamous crocodile Hannibal on this trip, I can tell you, you will not be disappointed. This crocodile is approximately 700kg, 100 years old and 4.6M long - a true dinosaur! He is thought to be among one of the largest crocodiles in the Adelaide River region. When I got to see this great beast, he actually went under our boat and I could see tail one side and head on the other and when he rose he hit his head on the bottom of the boat and rocked it. I must admit I did suffer a mild heart attack
Along the cruise the guides take you to different areas of the river to show nesting sites and if you are around at the right time you may even get to see some babies.
On the way back down river, the guides show off the birdlife of whistling kites. These birds are amazing and soar down to the boat and you can throw bits of meat off and they catch and eat it in mid flight. Some great photos if your camera shutter speed is fast enough.
Once the tour is finished and you have had your fix of crocodiles, head up to the Windows of the Wetlands viewing platform where you have a gorgeous view of the wetlands and can read all about the local wildlife inside the information centre.
Things to consider on this cruise
• If you would like to handle the snakes do not wear any creams, sunscreens perfumes etc as they can affect the snakes skin.
• Start taking your photo of the croc as he tilts his head back to jump as it will happen so fast you may miss it! Alternatively a good shutter speed will be your best friend for both the crocs and the kites.
• DO NOT lean out of the boat, stick your hand out the boat, lean back for a photo op against the croc. It won't end well.
• Wear sunnies. The water reflection can be blinding.
• If you choose to wander around on the road in do not hang around the water's edge the crocs don't just live in the river.
• The office does supply tea and coffee and also cold drinks for purchase but food is not supplied and there isn't really a local shop nearby.
• Watch out for green tree frogs in the loo. It's an interesting surprise when once attaches itself to your bottom mid wee.
I take family there all the time from all over the globe, they can't believe their eyes when they see how big the crocs are here, the take their photos and videos back home so more family and friend come to have a look the huge dinosaurs. I would hate to it find out if the green tree frogs have teeth that sit in the loo!