Review: Come face to face with a prehistoric predator on a Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures tour from Cairns
Dealing with up to 800 kilograms of hungry croc is all in a day’s work for the keepers at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures in Queensland's tropical north. Tap into your inner Mick Dundee on this half-day tour to the park from Cairns and Palm Cove.
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures Tour from Cairns and Palm Cove
This half-day Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures tour from Cairns and Palm Cove lets you enjoy one of North Queensland’s best wildlife attractions, with the ease of return hotel transfers. Entry to the wildlife park is included in the cost of the tour. Duration: 9 hours
Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.
The saltwater crocodile is the largest reptile in the world, with an evolutionary pedigree that stretches back some 200 million years.
To learn more about these magnificent creatures, pay a visit to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures in North Queensland — located 45 minutes’ drive north of Cairns (roughly half way between Palm Cove and Port Douglas). You can book a handy half-day Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures tour from Cairns and Palm Cove, including hotel pick-up/drop-off and your entry fee.
Hartley’s has to be one of the finest wildlife viewing experiences anywhere in the country. You can get as up close and personal as you want with any number of native birds, marsupials, snakes, and of course, the scaly headline act. Before heading to see the crocodiles, we warm up with some of the less intimidating flora and fauna to be found throughout the 10-hectare park. Hartley’s is bordered by the Queensland Wet Tropics rainforest. It’s the only wildlife park in Australia that sits next to a World Heritage-listed landscape. The setting is incredible.
The Wildlife Discovery Trail — a simple-to-navigate boardwalk — leads all the way around the park. Take the time to appreciate the endangered cassowaries (not found anywhere else in the world), as well as koalas, quolls, emus, snakes, lizards, turtles and waterbirds. You can even hand-feed the friendly kangaroos and wallabies.
Next we make our way to the all-important crocodile viewing area — Hartley’s Lagoon. There are six scheduled cruises on the lagoon throughout the day. Each is guided by one of the park’s knowledgeable crocodile keepers. We haven’t even left the dock before a croc comes into view — less than a metre away!
The boat does a lap of the lagoon, which is home to 23 crocodiles — including a six-foot monster named Ted. He’s believed to be more than 100 years old. The predators are lured to the side of the boat with food and it’s seriously awe-inspiring to watch as they jump right out of the water to take the tucker with one lethal snap of their massive jaws.
After seeing the crocs in action, we head for the Wildlife Amphitheatre — which hosts a variety of daily animal presentations. First up is the snake and reptile show, presented by reptile handler and apparent snake-whisperer Leigh. He brings along several bags and containers, which hold some of the biggest and most poisonous snakes in the world. Australia is home to the eleven most deadly snakes on the planet. Six of those are found in Queensland! I guess there’s a reason Indiana Jones never ventured Downunder.
After the snake show, fellow handlers Drew and Mario come out to teach us more about crocodiles — assisted by a 5-metre-long specimen named Bart (who apparently suffers from ‘severe anger management issues’). However, he seems more than happy to show off the notorious death roll.
Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is suitable for all ages and should not be missed during your visit to North Queensland. You’ll gain a better understanding of one of Australia’s most feared predators, and you can make a day of it on a Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures tour from Cairns .
Chris Bright is a freelance writer based in Melbourne with a passion for travel, food, music and film. He’s travelled to South-East Asia, India, Japan, parts of Europe and much of North America. Chris is willing to try anything once, whether it’s leaping from great heights or eating things that don’t look the least bit appetising. When it comes to travel, he loves nothing more than meeting new people and sharing a laugh over their local drink of choice.