The Adelaide River in Australia’s Northern Territory is a must visit for anybody on a Bucket List trip to the far north of this spectacular country. As well as being a beautiful river to cruise along and see the local flora, the river is home to a serious amount of native wildlife. Visitors can spot sea eagles, kites, bull sharks, freshwater crocodiles and of course the reason we were there… the saltwater crocodile.
The salwater crocodile (saltie) is by far the most dangerous animal in Australia. These crocs are much larger and more aggressive than their freshwater relatives. The largest reptile in the world, males can weigh up to an almost unimaginable 1,000kg and measure up to 7m in length. Unfortunately, due to their territorial nature there are numerous crocodile related fatalities each year in the Northern Territory. Despite this, the opportunity to get up close to one of these apex predators was a must for us.
Stepping onto the double decked riverboat you are greeted by the welcoming staff and you can make your way to your seat. For anyone doing this trip we would recommend a seat on the bottom deck, by the window and near the middle of the boat. The reason being, the crocs will jump out of the water right next to the boat and from the lower deck you will get the closest possible view. The other reason a seat downstairs is perhaps best, is that the upstairs is quite spacious and there is plenty of room to take a stroll up during the trip, meaning you can get the best of both worlds.
Once everyone is boarded you will head off down the river in search of crocodiles, while the staff dangle small bits of meat to entice the crocodiles into jumping. Yes, jumping crocodiles! The crocs in the area know what is coming and often approach the boat looking for their morning snack. Normally we would avoid trips where wild animals are fed, so before taking this trip we did a lot of research into the ethics. We found that the amount of meat being provided is so insignificant to the amount needed by crocodiles, that it should not be affecting their need or ability to hunt for themselves. The staff are also conscious not to spend too long with each crocodile so as to minimise the impact on their behaviour.
When a croc is located they will usually approach the bait slowly before circling around and making their play to grab the meat from the end of the line. The ability of these animals to propel themselves out of the water is really something to behold. They actually have the ability to jump completely out of the water on occasions. The trip lasts a couple of hours giving visitors excellent opportunity to see more than a few jumps.
On the way back to base we were also given a spectacular show by the local whistling kites. These beautiful birds of prey can be found throughout Australia and New Guinea. They are particularly common around this area so keep your eyes in the sky as well as the water.
We went to Adelaide river on a day trip from our Holland America cruise up Australia’s east coast. We would love to go back to Darwin for a longer visit and next time would go and explore the iconic Kakadu National Park, it’s definitely one still on our Bucket List.
Anyone else been up to the Northern Territory? Or is it on your Bucket List?
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