Last Updated 23/01/2022.
A lot of people wonder, are there crocodiles in Australia? Yes, there are a lot of crocodiles in the warmer parts of Australia, notably the large, dangerous, saltwater crocodile, Crocodylus porosus, but also the less-troublesome freshwater crocodile (Johnstone’s Crocodile). There are large numbers of crocodiles in northern Queensland and The Northern Territory Australia. Western Australia also has crocodiles. It may be possible to find a crocodile in northern New South Wales, but it’s unlikely. Crocodiles do stray from where they’re supposed to live sometimes, they’ve even been spotted on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
A dead freshwater crocodile was even found once in the Murray River, on the NSW/Victoria border. Nobody knows how it got there and that part of Australia should be too cold for crocodiles to survive.
Crocodiles in Australia
Both the saltwater (or estuarine) crocodile, and the freshwater crocodile are protected species in Australia today.
Historically, it was permitted to hunt and shoot crocodiles, but today that would be against the law. This means there are a lot of crocodiles and yes, sometimes, they do turn up on or near tropical beaches.
The saltwater crocodiles live in the sea, in estuaries and rivers, freshwater swamps, and even appearing some lakes. You must always think about crocodile dangers near any body of water if you are in crocodile territory.
The recommendation we’ve been given by a local crocodile farm, is to stay 10m from the water’s edge if crocs are present.
Despite being a protected species, crocodiles are also farmed in Australia, for skins and for meat. These crocodile farms are also often tourist attractions, like Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures near Cairns and Port Douglas, and the crocodile park in Darwin in The Northern Territory.
Both of the above crocodile parks have facilities to allow tourists to get in the water with the crocodiles, behind protective screens.
We have posts relating to crocodile spotting in Port Douglas, the Lady Douglas river cruise, and what it’s like to live with crocs in Port Douglas. We live in this region, I hold a zoology degree as well as being a travel blogger
Where To See Crocodiles in The Wild in Australia?
Kakadu and Arnhemland in the Northern Territory have a lot of crocodiles. This is a great place to go to see wild saltwater crocs. We’ll put links below for booking these croc spotting tours.
Despite the wild crocs there are a lot of fresh water swimming holes and waterfalls in the region where locals swim with no fear of crocs. Safety is never 100% guaranteed. People also swim at Port Douglas beach.
Where to See Captive Crocodiles in Australia?
Cairns and Port Douglas, being popular tourist destinations, have plenty of captive crocodiles for visitors to see.
Darwin is also a good place to see crocodiles.
Australia Zoo, near Brisbane Queensland is where to see a crocodile show. This show was made famous by “The Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, who sadly died in a snorkelling accident. Today you may be lucky enough to see his son, Robert, conducting the show, as we did. (Photo above).
If you visit a crocodile attraction you’re likely to be able to buy crocodile teeth, crocodile skin leather items and many croc-related gifts as Australian souvenirs.
Female crocodiles make nests and lay eggs. These prehistoric-looking reptiles lay clutches of eggs on river banks in the breeding season.
Breeding season is when you’re more likely to see crocodile aggression and fights.
A saltwater crocodile can lay 30 to 70 eggs and the temperature at which they incubate can affect the gender of the developing crocodile babies. You’re quite likely to see these baby crocs on a croc-spotting boat trip.
These young crocodiles are vulnerable to some predators, unlike their apex predator parents!
Saltwater crocodiles can live more than 70 years, and get huge!
The largest crocodile ever found in Australia was measured at 6.17m. But this croc came from the Philippines and was kept captive in Australia. Saltwater crocs are by no means unique to Australia!
The largest captive croc in Australia today is thought to be Cassius, he lives on Green Island, near Cairns, and is 5.48 m, 17 feet long. He is thought to be about 100 years old. At the time of writing he was reportedly still alive. Cassius originated in The Northern Territory.
What is a group of crocodiles called?
A group of crocodiles is called a bask. Which is a random, yet interesting, piece of information.
Can You Eat Crocodile?
Yes, you can eat crocodiles and they are farmed for meat in Australia. You’ll see crocodile meat for sale in some shops and you may be able to find crocodile sausages and pies.
Crocodile meat doesn’t taste great, crocs have white flesh and it tends to be soft and wet. It tastes vaguely like freshwater fish crossed with chicken. It’s not bad tasting, but it’s not great.
There’s quite a variety of edible wildlife in Australia!