I mentioned before about boat rides and how much fun they can be, but also why on occasion, it’s better to walk instead. This trip is the opposite; unless you enjoy the idea of wading through wetlands riddled with salties – which by the way, is one of the numerous things in Australia genuinely trying to kill you. Now saltwater crocodiles are pretty common in this part of Australia, and they can grow to ridiculous lengths. You really don’t want to have to fight one. That is why you make this trip in a boat, and why when you’re on the boat, you make sure your arms don’t dangle over the edges.
The saltwater crocodiles spend a lot of time chilling on the banks, and lurking around the mangrove trees. If you’re looking to spot one yourself, I’d say the mangroves are probably your best bet. If you don’t know what a mangrove looks like, it’s the tree growing in the water to the left side of the picture above.
As I mentioned, you’ll want to keep your arms and hands within the confines of your boat. Crocodiles are unusually adept at leaping out of water and will have no trouble taking your body parts with them. If they don’t take it clean off you can expect to be dragged underwater and death-rolled. Really not a fun, nor pretty way to go – though you might provide a lasting spectacle to any on-lookers.
Crocodiles aside, the wetlands in Kakadu National Park are home to many different species of bird. In fact, this is also the first time I managed to spot a kingfisher, and even better, watch a kingfisher fish. I’ve never been more desperate for a better camera lens than I was on this day (except for when I was trying to capture a peregrine falcon) – you can probably tell that from my kingfisher below. Sadly I’m nowhere near quick enough to snap him diving, so you’ll just have to pretend.
Don’t be fooled by the saltwater crocodiles. The water here is actually fresh water – salties are quite happy in either and its more of a case that they’re able to survive quite comfortably in salt water that gives them their names. Anyhow, that also means that this area is a great watering hole for the local wildlife and that again brings in even more birds.
In fact, you get a whole range of different birds, both large and small, and occasionally you find a bit of a poser who clearly only comes here to get his or her picture taken by the visiting tourists.
In all fairness, I think hes only posing because those feathers clearly contrast against the water lilies. Either that or hes trying to dry off after diving for his dinner. Fair enough, not all models need to live up to ridiculous beauty standards. Birds especially.
Not every bird that rocks up at the watering hole is a friendly, fish-eating birdy. Some of them are pretty mean looking, and absolutely massive. Or just average sized. That kind of depends on the bird.
This guys an absolute beauty though. Ever seen any creature looking so damn majestic sat up in a tree? Because I haven’t.
There is so much wildlife to see here. I distinctly remember the same feeling when I found wild pelicans. As a Brit, we don’t have pretty exotic animals to gawp at outside of the zoo, so this certainly makes up for it.
I’m getting quite good at posting up terribly edited jpegs, and for the sake of making this whole post a bit more digestible, whilst avoiding flooding you with my attempts at photography, I’ll ask that you guys share your takings from on the water of Kakadu National Park.