Things to do, Kakadu & Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia

Crocodiles, Kakadu & Arnhem Land

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Saltwater crocodile, Kakadu National Park, Kakadu and Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia

The half-submerged crocodile nestled amongst the waterlilies of a Kakadu billabong is an iconic image of the Northern Territory. To see it up close is to witness nature at its most sublime and deadly. These magnificent creatures are the world's largest reptile and have roamed this land for over 200 million years.

Saltwater crocs

Of the 23 crocodile species around the world, the Australian saltwater crocodile (ginga) is the largest, and most dangerous, reaching lengths in excess of six metres. It lives in both freshwater and estuarine waterways and is a shrewd and aggressive hunter. The shy, freshwater crocodile (madjarrki) is a smaller species found in the billabongs, plunge pools and freshwater rivers of Kakadu.

If you are worried you might not spot one of these mighty creatures, don't be, there is one crocodile for every human in the Top End. Whether or not you can be buddies is another story.

Alligator river

Cruise down the East Alligator River on the border of Arnhem Land and spot some of the region's biggest saltwater crocodiles. Learn about the cultural significance of these ancient creatures from indigenous tour guides and snap a photograph to remember.

Journey to the nearby Ubirr region and see the rock art depictions of these ancient creatures and understand their place in the mythology of Aboriginal Dreamtime (creation).

Who's watching who?

The world-famous Yellow Water wetlands are full of crocodiles and birdlife and make for a spectacular wildlife destination. Take a night cruise on these still waters and see the red eyes of a silent crocodile watching you – simultaneously awesome, and spooky.

The Kakadu Culture Camp near Muirella campsite is a great place to experience Kakadu and its most famous reptile. Spend the evening searching the Djarradjin Billabong for crocodiles by spotlight and learn how the Bininj Aboriginal people manage them in the park.

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