Catriona on the Adelaide Queen Cruise.
A croc waiting to be fed.
A hungry Jumping croc.
Head to the Territory and hop on a cruise with a bite complete with jumping crocs, up close and personal.
Everyone visiting the top end of Australia expects to see a crocodile, and a good way to make sure this happens is to take a cruise with Adelaide River Queen Cruises.
They have been taking people to spot crocodiles in their natural environment for 16 years in their three vessels The Adelaide River Queen, which takes 115 people, The Kakadu Spirit 100 and The Pathfinder 40. Snacks and beverages for passengers are available on the 1Â½-hour cruise, which begins at the Adelaide River Bridge on the Arnhem Highway.
The boats have a skipper who gives an educational and amusing commentary, and a brave off-sider who feeds the crocodiles. They sometimes ask a passenger if they would like to give the feeding a try.
When they first began operating, it was good luck to see one croc, but these days there are at least 16 of the prehistoric-looking creatures waiting for lunch. They are saltwater crocs and extremely ferocious. The freshwater species is found further inland and the two do not mix.
The Adelaide River resident crocs are three to six metres in length, and there may be some babies around, but as the adults tend to eat them, they very smartly try to stay hidden in the mangroves.
As much as three-quarters of their body is exposed when they jump to take food held out to them, which is gulped, not chewed. If they are not in the best of moods, they swim under the boat and bang it with their tail or try to take a chomp out of it. Fortunately, the boats are very strong. They aren't scared of the vessels, and when they hear them start up, they know food is on the way, and come in close.
If that doesn't work, just tapping the meat on the water soon attracts their attention by sound and smell.
The scenery along the way is mostly mangrove, but varies depending on tide levels. At low tide, you will probably see the crocs sunning and lazing in the mud.
Adelaide River, an hour's drive from Darwin.
Adelaide River Queen Cruises cost $33 for adults and $18 for children. They operate year round.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
Adelaide River Queen Cruises
Adelaide River Bridge, Arnhem Highway
Via Humpty Doo, NT 0836.
Ph: (08) 8988 8144 or 1800 888 542.
Fax: (08) 8988 8130.