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Darwin is Australia’s true outback city. The smallest out of all of the state capital cities, Darwin is located in some of Australia’s most unique and downright dangerous environments.
One of those things is, of course, the saltwater crocodile. Of all the 26 species of crocodiles and alligators in the world, Darwin is home to both the largest and most aggressive type.
These huge beasts roam the rivers and relax on the banks seemingly so peaceful, however, don’t be fooled by their majestic nature, the saltwater crocodile is one of the most dangerous animals in the world.
Getting up close to wild saltwater crocodiles is a once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable, experience that can only be done in Darwin – on a Darwin Jumping Croc Cruise of course!
For tourists and locals alike this is one of the best opportunities in the world to see Saltwater Crocodiles in their natural habitat and only meters from your boat!
In this blog, I have included everything you need to know if you’re considering going on a Jumping Croc Cruise from Darwin for yourself, topics included are:
- What is a Jumping Crocs Cruise?
- Choosing a tour operator
- The Price
- How to book
- Are the Jumping Croc Tours safe?
- How long is the tour?
- Other important tips to know before you go
What is a Darwin Jumping Croc Cruise exactly?
Well, it is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Darwin! Essentially what it is though is a tour in which visitors get on a boat on the Adelaide River. The Adelaide River is a river near Darwin highly populated with saltwater crocodiles.
Once on the boat, the tour operator will hang raw chicken from a stick to feed the crocodiles. The crocodiles will hunt the chicken just as they would an animal in the wild, and when the time is right, a crocodile will jump out of the water to get the chicken!
On most occasions, you will be greeted by one of the river’s dominant crocs. These guys can exceed 6m and weigh almost 1000 kg or 2200 lbs. With skulls as hard as concrete and a biting force of 8000 lbs per square inch, these prehistoric creatures are kings of the river.
A Jumping Croc Cruise is one of the best tours in Darwin! In this guide, I will help you choose the best Darwin Jumping Croc tour with Darwin’s very own “Crocodile Dundee” and help you with any other information you may need before booking!
I personally joined three tours during my time in Darwin and loved every one of them as much as the first!
Hot tip: The Adelaide River is a great stop on your way from Darwin to Litchfield. Although a small detour, you could definitely combine a cruise with a day trip to Litchfield.
Choosing the BEST Darwin Jumping Crocs Cruise
On the Adelaide River, there are many different Jumping Croc Cruises and you might wonder which one is the best and why.
Reviews on TripAdvisor really only tell one side of the story and to be honest, almost all the tour companies offer great tours but it takes a little local knowledge and also the fact I’ve done 3 tours to really pick the best.
In my opinion, the best Jumping Croc Cruise from Darwin is the Jumping Croc Adventure by Litchfield Escapes. A few factors come into my decision so I’ve broken them down below.
On this Jumping Croc Cruise, the boat used is small but also the most sturdy. With only one viewing level that stands only half a meter from the water followed by an aluminum cage, you really get close to the crocs without substituting safety. This boat also only takes 20 people at a time.
Many of the other boats on the river sit high out of the water or use big glass panels that take away the feeling of watching the crocs in the wild (to more of a zoo-like feeling.)
Some are also multi-level which means you could be several meters from the water and lose that exciting “up-close and personal” experience.
Pat is one of the guides who run this vessel and if you’re after a true blue Aussie experience then Pat is your guy. His local knowledge from growing up in the outback and living with saltwater crocodiles in his backyard gives a great insight into the lives of these majestic animals.
Pat’s character is truly unique and hearing the story of when a croc took his hat was one to remember.
Not only do you get a Jumping Croc tour with Pat, but he also speaks some local Aboriginal language to the birds which have them flying around the boat as if he were some sort of bird whisperer! Pat is truly a unique touch to a Jumping Croc Cruise from Darwin.
The cost of tours really varies as most are included with visits to Litchfield National Park and other activities. However, for just the Jumping Croc Cruise with transport from Darwin city and return costs around $100 AUD. With the Litchfield tour (which I highly recommend) it’s about $185 AUD.
You do have the option of driving yourself out there, then it is rather cheaper at around $50 AUD however you would need to go with one of the larger Jumping Croc Cruise companies that have multi-level boats.
Book our favorite Darwin jumping croc cruise online in advance!
Are Darwin Jumping Croc Cruises Safe?
This question is probably at the top of your list. After I just explained how dangerous saltwater crocodiles are you might be wondering if it’s really safe. Well, the answer is yes.
The operators on the river are trained professionals who understand crocodile behavior. They know the river, the crocs, and how to keep you safe. In fact, Pat lives on this exact river and built and maintains his own dock – which means he’s always around these guys!
Crocodiles are really strange, during my tours they almost don’t even look at you. They fixate on the chicken and that’s it!
Related Read: You can see lots of crocdiles if you choose to go on one of the Kakadu National Park tours from Darwin!
How long are Darwin Jumping Croc Cruises?
The actual jumping crocodile cruise will last around 45 minutes to an hour. This includes some really cool information as well as a show you will never forget!
Will I always see Crocs?
This is nature, it’s not a zoo. However, with a large number of crocodiles in the Adelaide River, it’s likely you will see a croc.
On all my tours, I saw many females and at least one large male each time. The males are truly scary but it’s the females that jump the highest!
Related Read: Check out our complete guide to visiting Kakadu National Park!
Tips to Know Before You Go!
Don’t wear your most expensive outfit – Yes, we all want to look our best for photos but unfortunately, the Crocodiles don’t care and on two of the occasions I went, mud splashed into the boat! To be honest, this only added to the experience!
Bring your camera… or two! – Of course, getting some up-close shots of saltwater crocodiles in the wild is amazing and shouldn’t be missed. But, I was surprised to see on the tours I did how many people didn’t bring them! Oh, and having a second camera to take some video is the best way to show your friends and family how cool the jumping croc tour really was!
Wear sunglasses – With the glare off of the river while watching crocodiles for 45 minutes can put a strain on your eyes without sunnies!
Even if you are a little nervous at the thought of being so close to these dangerous animals, I just know you will truly enjoy this experience. This is one of the best Crocodile Tours in Darwin and the most unique things to do in Darwin and Australia. It is authentic, it’s outback, it’s Australia!
Not sure where to stay in Darwin? Then check out our where to stay in Darwin blog. It recommends some great places to stay for all budgets!