Seeing a crocodile in the wild is high on the list for many international travellers visiting the Daintree, but they can be hard to spot amongst the mangroves. So the best way to see crocodiles is with a tour guide on a crocodile spotting cruise and Solar Whisper Wildlife Cruises is one of the best.
David White has been running wildlife cruises on the Daintree River for 17 years and knows every inlet and waterway and almost every crocodile living in his section of the river.
In fact, his Solar Whisper Wildlife Cruise is so popular that when UK singer Ed Sheeran recently visited the Daintree, he booked a Solar Whisper’s tour and cruised the river with David. So of course we wanted to take David’s tour too.
Crocodiles are prehistoric creatures that have been around for over 180 million years and many believe they originated from the dinosaur age.
Just like the movie Jurassic Park, people are fascinated by these magnificent creatures and probably the closest anyone is likely to ever get to a dinosaur, is to see a huge saltwater crocodile in the wild.
And the Daintree River is definitely one of the best places to spot one.
On the day we did David’s one hour tour we saw a total of five crocodiles of varying sizes.
The two big crocs we saw were out of the water with one sleeping up on the river bank behind some mangroves and the other hidden amongst greenery where she was building her nest, as crocodile breeding season was just beginning.
The three smaller crocs were swimming amongst the mangroves and on muddy banks, and without David’s expert eyes, we would never have seen them. Luckily David had spotted the crocs earlier in the day and knew where they might be, much to our delight.
It is very rare to not spot at least one crocodile on David’s tours, but if you are unlucky you are welcome to take the tour again for free.
other wildlife on the daintree river
Our tour also included cruising down some smaller inlets off the Daintree River where we spotted little orange crabs running backwards and forwards on the muddy banks, as well as one of the baby crocs on the mudflat and a range of birdlife.
Egrets, grey herons, sunbirds, kingfishers and azure kingfishers all went about their business as we slowly cruised by, taking photos and admiring the wildlife in their natural habitat.
The Daintree really is incredibly beautiful and we sometimes forget how magnificent it is.
the benefit of doing a tour with a guide
Crocodiles and many of the wildlife living in the Daintree River and mangrove-lined inlets are actually very difficult to spot, which is why we recommend doing a tour with a guide who can not only point out the wildlife but can also provide commentary and interesting facts.
We learned that many baby crocodiles get eaten by the bigger ones, but once they reach the age of six they have a much better chance of survival.
Then David and the other river guides give these crocodiles names, which they use to recognise the crocs and keep track of them.
And it’s great to know that the tour operators help each other out and radio to each other when they spot a crocodile, sharing the location, so the passengers on all the tour boats get to see as many crocodiles as they can on their cruise.
what makes the solar whisper wildlife cruise special?
It is a quiet, solar electric boat that doesn’t disrupt the wildlife and is environmentally and eco-friendly.
The boat is also equipped with a ‘Croc Cam’ (video camera) and a large television screen, so David can zoom in with the camera and show passengers the wildlife they are looking at while they are on the boat.
This is great when crocodiles are difficult to spot or when David wants to point out details on screen. It also means smaller kids can still see the wildlife on screen without hanging over the boat, because you certainly don’t want to fall overboard in this river.
just another day on the daintree
David runs six tours a day so is incredibly familiar with the river and the wildlife living in it. He loves to observe the animals in their natural habitat and make up stories about their lives, their boyfriends and girlfriends, their love spats and fights.
So just like the long-running television soap opera ‘Days of Lives’, David has now created a popular Facebook page where he writes a daily blog titled ‘Days of the Daintree’ which is all about the trials and tribulations of the various animals living in the river.
He writes about the crocodiles, mudskippers, birds, bats, frogs and lizards as if they are celebrities and compares their daily business with those of the Hollywood celebrities, which has gathered David a large following.
Unfortunately we didn’t see Scarface on our tour, one of the biggest crocs on the river who is also one of the stars of David’s “Days on the Daintree’ blog, but we saw many other crocodiles and wildlife and thoroughly enjoyed David’s insight and commentary.
We highly recommend Solar Whisper Crocodile and Wildlife Cruise to anyone wanting to see crocodiles in the wild and learn all about the wildlife and the habitat they live in up in the Daintree.
travel nq fast facts:
- The Daintree River is 1.5 hours from Cairns
- All seats on the boat offer views of the river
- The cruise departs from the pier behind the Solar Whisper Wildlife Cruise ticket office, located on the left before you reach the Daintree Ferry
- For more information visit www.solarwhisper.com or contact (07) 4098-7131