Port Douglas Crocodile Cruise

by John on December 4, 2012

The charming Lady Douglas is the ideal vessel for calm water crocodile cruises on Dickson Inlet, Port Douglas. (Click image for larger file.)

You don’t have to drive from Cairns or Port Douglas all the way to the Daintree River to see crocodiles in the wild. There’s a fabulous little cruise aboard the Lady Douglas that gives a 90% guarantee of seeing crocs in their natural habitat.

The Lady Douglas is a smart looking paddle boat that operates from the Port Douglas Marina. Perfect for the calm waters of Dickson Inlet, there are morning and afternoon cruises which operate most days days of the year. Bookings are suggested, yet sometimes you can simply stroll down to the marina and take your chance.

We did and there was no worries about taking the cruise. It’s a cheap cruise, just $30, and we received a free glass of wine and nibbles. Great value!

(View tours, cruises and attractions in Cairns, Port Douglas and tropical North Queensland.)

The awesome phenomenon of seeing crocs sunning themselves on muddy banks are slimmer in the warmer weather. As the water temperature rises, these ancient cold blooded creatures spend more time in the water as their bodies retain the heat from the warmer water.

Keep this in mind when going on croc tours. The time of the year will directly affect your opportunity of seeing them in the wild. Perhaps winter, when the water is coolest, is the best time for crocodile cruises.

Our first crocodile sighting wasn't far upstream from the Port Douglas Marina. (Click image for larger file.)

We were blessed with good fortune the afternoon we chose to board the Lady Douglas. Not far upstream from the marina, the first crocodile for the day was spotted.

The skipper said that it was an unusual sighting as the female crocodile was high on the river bank, above high water mark.

Still quite difficult to see within the tangled roots of the mangroves, everyone was treated to an outstanding view as the Lady Douglas was steered close to the river bank.

Location of crocodiles see on Lady Douglas river cruise, Port Douglas on Nov 16 2012. (Click image for larger size.)

The location of the crocodile made us all think hard about swimming in such waters. Take a look at the position on this map image. Almost in town.

Just a little further upstream is a service station and busy jetty. Would you venture into waters where crocs are seen?

The next sighting was a few hundred meters upstream from the first. This time it was a large male, about 4 meters in length. How did I know it was a male? I heard the skipper give the commentary.

Hiding under the mangroves, this huge male crocodile was not easy to see until pointed out by the skipper of the Lady Douglas. (Click Image for larger file.)

This male was in the water and it took me a little while to see it properly. It’s eyes were just above water level and the big croc was under the canopy of overhanging mangrove trees.

As we approached closer it raised it’s body, clearly watching us.

Everybody on board was again given a great view as the skipper went forward and back a few times to allow the best possible sighting. Wow, 2 crocs and we were not even halfway up the creek.

Beautiful sea eagle comes for a free feed of fish from the skipper of Lady Douglas. (Click image for larger file.)

The next surprise was to see a beautiful Sea Eagle. This fellow seems to wait for the Lady Douglas to come by. The skipper always throws the bird a fish so passengers can get a close up view.

The big sea eagle swoops down from his vantage point and with ease, plucks the fish from the water. It’s a grand sight, so keep that camera handy.

Lots of marine life and animals make the mangroves their home. Here a bright crab and small mudskipper come face to face on the mud banks. (Click image for a larger file.)

You will also see lots of catfish during the cruise and other wildlife, like the colorful crabs and mud skippers that call these muddy banks home.

Operated by John and Jenny Edmondson, who are both qualified marine biologists, you can be assured that you will get the best information and facts on both the diversity of the wildlife and the areas vegetation.

The Lady Douglas River Cruise was one of the highlights of our time in Port Douglas. When we visit Port Douglas in the future, this cruise will be on our must do list. It is exceptional value, a pleasant and informative cruise with a great chance of seeing those man eating crocodiles in the wild.

You can book the Lady Douglas River Cruise direct by phoning 07-40991603

(All images taken by J Hodgkin and are copyright to funtours.com.au)


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