Observe crocodiles in the wild
It’s not a trip to the Northern Territory without getting up close with a crocodile or two. Jumping crocodile cruises up the Adelaide River put you at the forefront of the animal action as huge saltwater crocs rise vertically from the water to grab the bait dangling in front of them from the riverboat. Most NT rivers average five crocodiles per km, but in Mary River that number climbs to nearly 15 saltwater crocodiles per km. Climb the viewing platform at Shady Camp to look across the floodplain and you are bound to spot a croc.
At Kakadu National Park the Bininj story of the crocodile is painted on the rock wall at Ubirr. Photograph saltwater crocodiles on a Yellow Water Billabong cruise or spotlight crocs by night in the Djarradjin Billabong. Drive to Jabiru and stay in the famous crocodile-shaped hotel. Join a cruise of Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) and look out for the freshwater crocodiles that nest on the riverbanks. The Crocodile Night Adventure cruises the lower Katherine River and includes your guide ‘calling the crocs’ for photo opportunities.
Image: Spotting crocs on the Yellow Water Cruise in Kakadu (credit Shaana McNaught & Tourism NT)
Feed the friendly fish
At the Aquascene Fish Feeding Sanctuary near Darwin you will have the amazing opportunity to hand-feed fish in the tranquil tropical waters of Darwin’s Doctors Gully. Since the 1950’s this unique natural phenomena has been occurring with hundreds of wild fish shedding their normal shyness to be willingly hand-fed at high tide to the delight of tourists and locals alike. Regular fish visitors include an array of friendly milkfish, mullet, catfish, bream, batfish and barramundi. If you look carefully in the shallows several our other ‘shyer’ friends can also be seen outside of the main group who flock in closer to the feeding action. These shyer types can include rays, cod, mangrove jack, parrot and diamond fish and are worth keeping an eye out for.
You can also get up close with our scaly friends at the Territory Manor Motel and Caravan Park, located near Katherine in Mataranka. At the free fish-feeding show you can witness the impressive speed of the barramundi as they snap the food hungrily out of surprised fingers. If you're lucky you might get a chance to feed them yourself while the host also provides interesting information and answers any of your questions as the barra greedily gulp up the food on offer.
Image: The fun of barramundi feeding at the Territory Manor Motel and Caravan Park (credit Shaana McNaught & Tourism NT)
Camel riding in the Aussie outback
Let the original heroes of the outback carry you into the mighty West MacDonnell Ranges and give you a unique perspective on the region. There are plenty of tours available in the Alice Springs and Red Centre areas including half day tours and the must-do experience of riding through the outback at sunset. The silence of the bush before dusk is a magical experience and an hour-long trek through the ranges at sunset is an opportunity for some truly spectacular sightseeing.
For a truly unique animal experience there is also the Alice Springs’ iconic annual camel race. The race first took place on the dry bed of the Todd River in 1970 and now has a dedicated 400 metre race track, attracting spectators from all over the world.
Image: Trekking through the outback on an Uluru Camel Tour in the Red Centre (credit Shaana McNaught & Tourism NT)
Spy on our feathered friends
Birdwatching in the Northern Territory will see you discovering the unique and diverse bird species that call the state home. From desert, savannah woodlands, and sandstone plateaus to wetlands, mangrove and monsoon forests, the NT provides expansive and varying eco-systems as well as unique weather patterns – a perfect combination that brings in over 400 bird species. For those keen to know more about local bird species or if you are just getting the itch for bird watching, head to one of the wildlife parks in the Northern Territory to gain a close encounter with a variety of species from the qualified bird handling specialists.
Image: Bird spotting on the Billabong (credit Michael Costa & Tourism NT)
Get up close and personal at Crocosaurus Cove
There’s still plenty of animal experiences to be had while in Darwin including Crocosaurus Cove. This 3 storey attraction that occupies almost an entire city block and allows visitors to witness iconic Top End Crocodiles from 3 months to 80 years old in purpose designed displays that can be viewed from all 3 levels.
Here you’ll enjoy 360 degree viewing of some of the largest Saltwater crocodiles in captivity and don’t forget to check out our most famous crocodile, Burt, the star of the iconic Australian movie, Crocodile Dundee! There are also plenty of smaller creatures to captivate you including reptiles and fish, as well as a variety of animal-based shows throughout the day to keep you entertained. For those after an adrenaline-pumping experience, the Cage of Death is the way to go as you’re lowered into the same enclosure as some of the largest Saltwater crocodiles on the planet for a unique 15 minute, face to face encounter!
Image: Watching the daily croc feeding at Crocosaurus Cove (credit Shaana McNaught & Tourism NT)