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In search of a family adventure that’s off the beaten path? Look no further than the Whitsunday Crocodile Safari.

Just a 30-minute bus drive from Airlie Beach, our adventure began on a drizzly summer day. Not ideal conditions for crocodile sunbaking! Yet, we were reassured that this all-weather tour was perfect for a rainy day adventure.

Our friendly bus driver Terry picked us up from our accommodation and took us to the Proserpine River. The river is home to an impressive density of crocodiles boasting more crocodiles per kilometre than any other system in Queensland. That’s an adult male every 150 meters, each with a harem of 12 females!

The tour was led by knowledgeable guides Ian, Hugh, and Steve, who shared insights about the local wildlife, particularly our prime interest: crocodiles.

Even with overcast skies, we managed to spot about five of these prehistoric creatures, including the famous Lenny, a regular and revered figure in these waters.

Intriguingly, we learn researchers note that the crocodiles in this area show fewer scars than expected in such a high-density environment. This lack of battle marks is unusual given their territorial nature and is a subject of interest among experts.

The expertise and passion for eco-tourism displayed by our guides made the tour both educational and enjoyable. From the thrill of close encounters with the prehistoric crocodiles, some of which have remained evolutionarily unchanged for millions of years, to learning about their unique behaviours like sleeping with one eye open, allowing half of their brain to rest while the other half stays alert to potential threats.

The true uniqueness of this safari however, lay in the experiences beyond crocodile spotting.

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Our adventure also included a meandering tractor-drawn wagon tour through the Goorganga Plains. Here, we were immersed in the rich tapestry of a freshwater wetland habitat, learning about its diverse vegetation and wildlife. A particularly memorable moment was when our guide pointed out an old shed, recounting a harrowing tale from a recent flood where a herd of cattle were found huddling together, encircled by lurking crocodiles, a testament to the wild and unpredictable nature of this ecosystem.

The safari also treated us to quintessential Australian experiences. We enjoyed sipping billy tea and savouring freshly cooked damper out of camp ovens, topped off with a hearty BBQ lunch.

As the only Australians on the tour, we watched with amusement as our international companions tried Vegemite on damper for the first time. Their expressions were priceless, a mix of curiosity and surprise, as they tasted our unique Aussie spread. It was a reminder of the little things that make our culture unique and how sharing them can be a joy.

Lunch was a culinary delight, featuring an array of different dishes and my favourite, local barramundi accompanied by homemade tomato relish. The relish was so good, I wished I could take home the jar!

The Whitsunday Crocodile Safari proved to be much more than just spotting crocodiles; it was a deep dive into Australian culture and wildlife. The safari was a reminder that the best family adventures blend learning, laughter, and the thrill of the unexpected, like coming face-to-face with a crocodile or two! The day even ended with a special souvenir – Clarrie’s Secret Damper Recipe!

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