Just last week I decided that it was time that I went on a trip that embraced the local land rather than the islands. After much deliberation of all the possible trips I could go on, I decided on the Whitsunday Crocodile Safari.
I started getting ready for the trip that morning and waited with baited breath for them to pick us up from Nomads Airlie Beach. We jumped on the bus at about 8:30am and headed out to Proserpine (a town about 26km South of Airlie Beach), to travel down the Proserpine River and go CROC SPOTTING!!
When we arrived, we were introduced to Steve and Scotty, our hosts and protectors for the day. The maximum numbers are around 30 people, and surprisingly enough, most of them were locals who said they'd been meaning to do this award winning trip for years now!
The boat is more of a glorified tinny. My best advice is not to wear white, or any clothes that you like to be clean. It's dirty, it's muddy, and it's SO AUSSIE and SO AWESOME!
We headed off down the river and within 5 minutes we'd spotted our first crocodile. Well, when I saw “we” spotted a crocodile – I mean Steve. He has eyes like a hawk!
Immediately after we'd seen the first baby one, we saw our first biggie. His name was Boofhead. He didn't look that big in the water, but when we did a u-turn to have a closer look at him, he had climbed out of the water onto the bank and my god he was huge! He had battle scars all over him and he looked like he'd been around the block once or twice. Steve explained that he was one of the bigger crocodiles in the creek and therefore had no real territory restrictions – he just had the power to cruise up and down the river all day. As we were drifting up and down the river, Steve took the time to inform us all about saltwater crocodiles. Where they lived, what they ate, all their names and their temperaments. Everything!
After spotting over 50 baby crocodiles and 6 or 7 big salties, we checked the crab pot to see if we had caught any crabs, and then made our way up to the shaded area on the bank to have some lunch. And what a lunch!! A wonderful BBQ with salads and everything you could want, followed by lamingtons for dessert. I was so full from lunch so luckily our next part of the trip was quite relaxing so I could let all my food settle.
Scotty took us out on the Goorganga wetlands (although it is dry season so they weren't really wet as such) with a tractor pulling a few trailers that you could sit on. He was one of the most informative people I have ever listened to. He had a lot of information on how the area came about, lots of history about the Whitsundays and the Indigenous people that used to live here, how people used to survive, and how our environment is suffering today (for example, did you know that feral cats are the biggest problem for Australia's environment?). Everyone listened intently to him talk about things he obviously loved, and then it was time to head back to the camp again and have some more food! This was the end of our day and we sat around eating freshly cooked damper and drinking billy tea and we were able to ask Steve and Scotty any questions about the trip.
By far this was one of the most interesting and educational trips I have ever been on! The day was timed perfectly with lots of food available and the guides were more than happy to answer any questions. I absolutely loved this trip and would do it again in a heartbeat! I've never been so close to a massive saltwater crocodile in my life, and probably never will be again; unless of course I do another amazing trip with Whitsunday Crocodile Safari!