Around this time last year I had the last minute opportunity to travel to Darwin to attend the Festival of Teaching. The plan was I would fly up on the Friday evening, attend the day long conference on the Saturday, and fly back on the Sunday. Travelling to Darwin is not unusual for me given that I regularly have to do it for work purposes. What was unusual was that I was doing it over a weekend rather than during the week…and I had a late flight home on Sunday afternoon, meaning I had all of Sunday morning to myself.
I was pretty excited about this since I was FINALLY going to have the opportunity to check a key item off my bucket-list: swimming with a salt water crocodile in the Cage of Death!
Where can you swim with a crocodile?
The Northern Territory has two types of crocodiles: salt water crocodiles and fresh water crocodiles. The typical rule of thumb in the NT is that swimming with fresh water crocodiles, or ‘freshies’ as they are known, is relatively safe through you should definitely be careful and exercise caution, but swimming with salt water crocodiles, or ‘salties’, is EXTREMELY dangerous and a big NO! (For more information visit NT Croc Wise
So how can you safely swim with a saltie? Simple, visit Crocosaurus Cove. Located in the centre of the Darwin CBD, this is a pretty easy spot to access. At Crocosaurus Cove you can watch or participate in a crocodile feeding (don’t worry, they won’t feed you to a crocodile…maybe), take a picture with a baby croc, see turtles, barramundi, whiprays, learn about local NT reptiles in the Reptile House, and of course, swim with a crocodile.
The first, and more adventurous, way that you can do this is by booking yourself into the Cage of Death. Singles cost $170 and doubles cost $230 and includes all day access to the park. Since I was a little nervous about doing this on my own I chose to do this with a friend who lives in Darwin.
We were booked in for the first swim or the day at 9:30am. When we arrived we were sent to the ‘World of Crocs’ room to sign our death certificates, I mean, waivers and discuss what photography package we wanted. I was a little disappointed that a photography package wasn’t included but got over it pretty quickly. We then headed out onto the broad-walk, stripped to our swimmers and climbed into the ‘cage’ which is really a giant perspex cylinder. Once we were safely in the cage, we were lowered in to ‘Chopper’s’ tank.
The dive lasted for 15 minutes, 10 minutes of which were spent underwater, and the last 5 minutes were spent half-in/half-out watching him feed.
If this is too much for you, you can get a similar experience by taking a dip in their croc pool that separates you with a sheet of perspex from a family of adolescent freshies. My friend and I also did this, and it was pretty cool.
I can say with all honesty that this was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life and I’m so happy that I finally got to do it. The only let down about this experience was that we had the first dive of the day so the crocs weren’t very active. So, if you plan on checking this off your bucket-list, try booking for later in the day if possible.