We thought Friday 13 should be a perfect day to get to know crocodiles better, and a perfect place for that when you’re in Cairns is Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures.
Pleasant surprises start at the entrance. First, there are those beautiful birds at your arm’s length, you can almost touch them.
An even better surprise is that the tickets are valid the next 2 consecutive days, meaning that you pay for one day and get 3 days of admission instead. We didn’t use ours as the next days we decided to do something else and go to the Great Barrier Reef and Kuranda Native village.
Our adventure started with a boat tour, yes, a ride in a boat on a river full of huge crocodiles (up to over 4 meters long), accompanied with a show of crocodiles jumping out the water to get their moving game. Our guide used a stick with a piece of chicken to tease crocs and they surely reacted the expected way. Our toddler was mesmerized and scared at the same time, she almost cried every time the crocodile snapped its powerful jaws but was over it the next moment waiting for more fun.
Another attraction was a crazy crocodile attack show featuring a man, a saltwater crocodile, parts of chicken and a rope to show how a crocodile attacks its game.
The show was accompanied by informative talks about crocodiles and their behaviour, diluted with jokes and Q&A. At the end of this post we’ll share our newly acquired knowledge.
It was a dangerous show but still sensible. No live creature was hurt.
There was also an informative serpent show where we found out that there are poisonous and venomous snakes and it’s not the same. If bitten, first aid must be administered also differently. The most dangerous snakes in the world live in Australia, but there are more people dying from coconuts falling from the trees than snakes’ bites.
During the nap time, while our little one was sleeping in her stroller, we had a nice walk around the park watching various species and behaviours of crocodiles, alligators, lizards, local amazing birds and koalas.
There was an offer to hold a koala and get a picture with it but koalas can “work” only about half an hour a day because they get stressed over being held by numerous people.
Knowing that, we decided to skip it and not torture the poor thing. Because that’s what this attraction for koalas is – torture.
One of the park inhabitants (featuring in the picture below), a huge saltwater crocodile was brought here after he ate a dog. That day a few kids were running to their favourite place for a swim. To their luck, it was their dog who jumped into the water first.
The crocodiles were also served for lunch. We couldn’t believe it was true and decided to try. Resembling a bit of prawns, this kind of meat was not the tastiest I’d eaten but we couldn’t miss the opportunity to check it out. The crocodile meat comes here from the local crocodile farm.
Quick facts we learned from our crocodile adventures
There are saltwater crocodiles (our Airbnb host claims they can be seen from our window swimming by the beach), who are huge and dangerous, they can jump, they can sneak into campsites and drag a tent to their dining place in the water (happened).
Crocodiles can live without food for about 18 months;
The freshwater crocodiles and alligators are much smaller.
The name alligator came from Spanish when first settlers came to America and having never seen such a creature, the most similar to their experience being a lizard, they called them el lagarde, later the name transformed into alligator.
The smallest inhabitant of this crocodile park was a one-year-old crocodile, of an arm’s length, and the biggest was a 30 years old, about 4 meters long;
Are crocodiles fast on the ground? Somebody from the audience suggested that yes, which made our brave lecturer from the dangerous show laugh. How can those short crooked legs let you run fast? This doesn’t mean, though, that you are safe next to crocodiles even when out of the water. See a croc – run, as fast as you can, and in a straight line (not zigzag as somebody suggested should be the fastest way).
All of us loved this experience at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, even our 21 months old toddler loved the shows, even though some parts were a bit scary for her. We left full of emotions, with an extended knowledge of crocodiles, very nice memories, pictures and souvenirs, which they had quite a good collection of at the exit.
And how did you spend your Friday 13?