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Swimming with Crocs in Darwin
I'd been to #Australia once before and knew I had to go back. This #aspirational trip included something I'd wanted to do for a long time - swim with crocodiles. Sure, I was scared and I screamed once (ok, maybe twice) but overall, it was an incredible way to connect with #nature.
If I can say one thing about my time spent in Australia, both in 2011 and now in 2014, is that it’s been exciting. It started with sleeping in the open in the Outback with dingoes roaming around nearby. Then the riding a motorcycle through rural Queensland. And scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, followed by bungee jumping over the Cairns rainforest.
When I started planning this trip over two years ago, I knew I wanted to come back for a visit and also go to a place in Australia that I hadn’t yet been. Darwin made the most sense because it was closer to Asia and gave me the chance to see the Outback.
Cage of Death
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But one activity had me intrigued the moment I found out about it: Crocosaurus Cove’s Cage of Death. Attraction names don’t get any more ominous than that, eh?
My friend Kate did it during her trip, so I had a bit of an idea of what to expect. Sammi and I showed up first thing in the morning when thankfully there weren’t many other people to witness my demise. Our “briefing,” if you could call it that, essentially consisted of one rule: don’t stick your fingers through the hole. Simple enough. Sammi and I changed into our swimsuits, grabbed goggles and the GoPro and climbed into the cage.
The Cage itself is a tube of plastic with a mesh bottom that gets lowered into the crocodile enclosure. From there, you can dive under the water and see them up close, especially when the keepers start taunting them with breakfast. I admit that I may have screamed a time or two, but was glad to be so close to the creatures, a male and female named William and Kate.
Our dive with death only lasted 15 minutes, but we were still on a high when we joined the Big Croc Feeding VIP tour, starting with a walk through the reptile house. It was here where two of Australia’s most deadly snakes, the eastern brown snake and the inland taipan live. We didn’t hold those, but we did hold the olive python, the type of snake that ate a croc in that image that went viral.
The day ended with a behind-the-scenes feeding of the crocs, starting with the big ones, which we fed large hunks of meat, to the small ones, which were fed on a fishing pole. Crocosaurus Cove, it should be noted, is not a zoo, but rather a wildlife park devoted to the native reptile species of Australia. They give you the chance to get up close with many types of animals you may not otherwise see, but their priority is always to protect them.