Like us if you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal to a croc then do what we did and take a cruise along the Adelaide River, home to over 1,600 crocodiles. The famous Darwin Jumping Crocodiles are actually in the Adelaide River, about 70 klm down the Arnehm Highway to the mining town of Jabiru and Kakadu National Park.
We joined an exciting cruise on the scenic Adelaide River to see powerful saltwater crocodiles as they propel themselves high out of the water to snatch their prey. With the help of experienced guides we learnt more about these magnificent creatures, and had the opportunity to watch these crocs jump for food, from the safety of the boat.
Cool and calm behind his dark sunglasses, our guide showed no signs of fear as the first croc repeatedly lunged out of the river. Curious, we asked if he ever come close to being pulled into the water. Smiling, he said that he’d once panicked and held on to the pole as a croc tried to pull both the meat and him into the river. Luckily, an American bodybuilder on the cruise grabbed onto his T-shirt just before he was pulled over the railing.
As the boat glided down the river, our captain announced, that he’d spotted another croc to the right. Straining, I could barely make out what seemed to be a log floating on the edge of the riverbank. Eventually, the log began to move smoothly toward the boat. As it came closer, I could see the croc’s clear yellow eyes focused sharply on the dangling meat. Nearly 20 feet away, it disappeared below the brown water. Suddenly, the croc reappeared about five feet from the boat and lunged at the tempting treat. Just as fast as it attacked, it disappeared under the surface with barely a ripple.
By the end of the day, we were lucky enough to spot almost a dozen salties, ranging in size from barely three feet long to the huge 7 feet. Each time, the guide chatted calmly with us as the beasts snatched the meat dangling only a few feet from his sandals. With observation spots both on the lower level near the water and from above on the open canopied deck we always had great views of the saltwater crocodiles.
As both the afternoon and the cruise ended, we waved goodbye to our fearless guide and drove toward Darwin.
Fun saltwater crocodile facts
- Salties can jump out of the water so far that only one third of their tail remains underwater
- Salties can, and do, prey on humans
- They grow new teeth as and when they are needed
- Crocs swallow stones. This is thought to help both with digestion and buoyancy.
- They can swim up to 15 to 18 mph in short bursts (24 to 28 km/h)
- Crocodiles bask in the sun with their mouths open to regulate their body temperature