Post 25 of a series detailing our Australian adventure. Access the full series here.
Our last day in Australia had arrived and, having met quokkas, dolphins, koalas and kangaroos, we couldn’t leave without seeing one very Australian animal that so far we’d only eaten: the crocodile. Visiting Darwin’s crocodile park, called ‘Crocosaurus Cove‘ — especially as there seemed little else to do in Darwin — was a no-brainer.
We started the day as I wish I could start all days: with pancakes and a jacuzzi. We made and ate the pancakes in the kitchen of our apartment, before going downstairs to use the Adina Apartment Hotel‘s luxurious outdoor pool. We were the only ones there and thus able to hog the full length of the pool and lounge in the jacuzzi as long as we liked, which was bliss in the not-yet-too-hot morning sun!
But we eventually managed to pull ourselves away and walk into town. The entrance to Crocosaurus Cove was impossible to miss. Inside we found ourselves surrounded by giant tanks, each holding a crocodile with their name and backstory detailed on a plaque. One particularly large and ferocious-looking creature was an ex-movie star, and two others were named after the UK’s Prince William and Kate! They even had a baby called George…
There were several presentations to watch and the first we caught was the Reptile Feeding & Presentation in the Reptile House. This was awesome! Firstly, because we were able to hold both a snake and a beautiful blue-tongued skink; and secondly, because we were shown how incredibly fast a snake can catch a mouse – albeit a dead one, being wiggled around as if alive by the presenter. She explained that they feed the snakes in that way to keep their lives as similar as possible to how they’d be in the wild.
We then watched a short presentation about turtles before buying lunch from the cafe. My pizza took so long to arrive that I had to bring it with me to the Big Croc Feed and Presentation. This began with a demonstration of how strong a crocodile’s jaw is (answer: extremely) using a simulator machine called Bite Force, and culminated in watching two brave members of staff feeding the crocodiles chunks of meat from off sticks. Immediately afterwards was ‘Fishing for Crocs’ – which was more literal then we expected! For this we were led onto a platform above a pool containing many smaller crocodiles, handed fishing rods with meat on the hooks and instructed to dangle this bait above the water. We were amazed at how high the crocodiles jumped out of the water to seize the meat off the hooks!
Afterwards we stopped to watch as a man in a perspex box was lowered into one of the crocodile pools, in an experience that the park calls the ‘Cage of Death‘! He didn’t seem to be in much danger — to get the crocodile looking ferocious for the photos, staff had to dangle meat alongside the cage.
Before we left, we thought we may as well see what the photo opportunity with a baby crocodile was all about. But to be honest, we wished that we hadn’t. The baby crocodile that you could take photos with had its jaw taped shut and, while I understood the reason for this, it seemed cruel. We went through with the photos but it felt really awkward. The photographer dragged out the shoot for ages, getting us to do silly poses with the poor creature, and at the end we certainly didn’t feel like buying the photos. Just as well, because they were rubbish anyway.
A tropical rainstorm came on as we left Crocosaurus Cove and went again just as quickly. For the next hour we walked around town, dipping in and out of the many souvenir shops seeking gifts for people back home. There didn’t seem to be much else to do, so we returned to the waterfront and stopped at an Irish pub called Fiddler’s Green. Steve had a beer and I a very sweet cocktail at one of the tables outside.
We had dinner at a slightly pretentious restaurant called Wharf One, where the prices were disproportionate to the small portions. Although the food was overrated, we still really enjoyed our final night in Australia. There are few things as pleasant as dining and drinking outside in fresh evening air that’s genuinely warm (without the chilling evening winds always present in Europe!). We made sure to relish the experience while we still could.
We finished the night with a walk around the waterfront, gazing out across the sparkling sea, across which we knew lay the many islands of Indonesia and the rest of Southeast Asia. It was the end of our trip around Australia — one of the best experiences of our lives — but the eve of our first foray into Asia. Tomorrow morning we would fly to Singapore — check back for the forthcoming blog post detailing that adventure!
If you’ve followed the One month in Oz series from beginning to end, thank you so much and I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know what you thought and, if you haven’t already, make sure you visit this amazing island yourself one day.
All text and photos (c) Juliet Langton.