The Daintree Rainforest boasts some of Australia’s oldest scenery, with ancient trees and exotic plant life just waiting to be explored.
On the best Daintree tours there are numerous animal spotting opportunities amongst the foliage and waterways, none of which quite compare to seeing the resident saltwater crocodiles.
These prehistoric residents of the forest mainly live in the mangrove swamps around the rivers and the males can measure up to a whopping 6.7 metres in length. Females are slightly smaller at 3 metres in length, but both are well worth seeing in their natural habitat.
One of the best ways to learn more about these majestic creatures is to take a cruise down the Daintree River. As you go, you can experience the natural beauty in all its glory, picking out some of the oldest trees in the country and spotting some of Australia’s most iconic animals.
Saltwater crocs are pretty territorial so the cruise is run by an experienced guide who knows these creatures well. While you meander down the river, you’ll learn all about the lengthy history of the crocodiles in this part of the world and discover more about their habitat and behaviour.
In some ways, the saltwater crocs are like the T-Rex’s of the Daintree Rainforest – they have the largest heads, mouths, and teeth of all the crocodile species, and their bodies are longer and wider than most others making them easy to spot. In fact, they are the largest reptile in the world and seeing them in the wild is a truly thrilling experience.
But while they are incredibly territorial, they are also very lazy. During the day they tend to spend their time basking in the sun, dipping into the waters of the river, and generally lying about. When night falls, they come to life and start hunting for food. This is the perfect time for them, as they can’t be seen in the water when it’s dark.
These crocs are an important part of Australia’s cultural history, too, and have long been woven into Aboriginal stories. The local people once believed these creatures were packed full of bad spirits, which is why they had been banished to the salt water streams. Today, researchers continue to learn more about the saltwater crocs and there are numerous conservation efforts being run to keep them safe and to avoid extinction.
Related article: Why go to Cape Tribulation?