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Steve Irwin's Croc One

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Cape York Peninsula forms Australia's north-eastern corner. It begins just south of Cairns and goes 750 kilometres north to its tip. It covers around 207,000 square kilometres with the Coral Sea to the east, Torres Strait to the north and the Gulf of Carpentaria to the west.

It is a true wilderness area with few inhabitants or facilities Access is by dirt road, air or sea. The eastern edge is rainforest but west of the Great Dividing Range the land is mainly eucalypt woodland, scrubland and grasslands. The area's numerous rivers vary from almost dry from May to November to overflowing from December to April, making the road impassable.

If all this sounds like just the place the intrepid and extremely popular Steve Irwin would revel in, that's exactly right. The raw, rugged area is home to wild pigs, snakes, buffaloes and the world's biggest crocodiles.

Steve has a new boat, the 22-metre Croc One, which is being used for research and adventure tours. He designed, engineered and planned the vessel which can take 20 tonnes of gear on its two decks. It has an R44 helicopter, two floating crocodile traps, an inflatable for diving, a dinghy with outboard for crocodile work and two jet skis. It has two shark dive cages, Perspex shark tube, two camp sites and auxiliary fuel. There are two cranes for lifting heavy, and sometimes angry, creatures from the water and in a way Croc One is the mother ship, housing an enormous amount of gear.

For the first time, the public can join the 'Croc Hunter' on a tour made to suit individual needs, from one to 10 days, including crocodile hunting, fishing or bird watching.

Getaway reporter Natalie Gruzlowski was invited to join Steve on a tour to the Bizant River, a four-hour 4WD trip from Cooktown.

Croc One is a purpose-built expedition and research vessel involved in world-first crocodile research and marine wildlife rescue and was launched in association with Australia Zoo. Passengers see into the secretive world of the crocodile and get a good idea of Steve's passion for the creatures. He and his team are totally committed to a better understanding of the ecologically important animals and their continued conservation in the wild.

Tours on Croc One are usually off the Queensland coast, an area Steve knows so well. Based on the Sunshine Coast, there are tours to Cape, Weipa, Moreton Island, Double Island, Fraser Island, Hervey Bay and Lady Elliot Island.

All proceeds from Croc One will fund wildlife conservation projects.

Location

Lakeside National Park on Cape York Peninsula.

Cost

Croc One packages, including fishing, diving, wildlife tours, meals and activities, start at $800 per person a night. They run from April to October. Fishing, snorkelling, diving, wildlife tours, meals and activities are included. Steve's crocodile research experience prices start at $2000 per person a night and they run in August only. Meals and activities are included.

Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

More information

Australia Zoo
Croc One Discovery and Adventure Tours
Ph: (07) 5436 2000
Website: www.crocodilehunter.com
E-mail: crocone@australiazoo.com.au

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