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Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
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Sunday, 1 December 2019

Getting even CLOSER to the wildlife - Cooraboree Billabong, Northern Territory - half lap - Part 8

Hi everyone, I promised last post when we were at the Territory Wildlife Park to get you even closer to the wildlife this week, so here we are, at the three purple circles on the left and centre of the map below, in the Northern Territory of Australia on our mid year half lap of Australia. 


To get even closer to the wildlife, actually in the wild, not in a park, we took a day trip out to Corroboree Billabong for a one and a half hour wetland cruise. 105 kilometres from Darwin (allow about 90 minutes driving time), we left our caravan park in Darwin before 8am to get to the billabong on time for our 10am cruise. This is the closest wetland cruise available to visitors from Darwin and it is well worth the drive and the cost. ($55 for adults August 2019).  I highly recommend this cruise.  Bookings essential.

Head out along the Arnhem Highway south of Darwin towards Kakadu National Park. I recommend you bypass the Jumping Crocodile cruise at Adelaide River. Whilst this is very popular with tourists, and I haven't actually been on this cruise, for me it is orchestrated. I would rather see the crocodiles in their natural environment not jumping up to catch fresh meat hung over the side of the boat.

I think he is smiling at me.....  Do you know the song "Never smile at a crocodile, don't be taken in by his welcome grin...."





Corroboree Billabong is part of the Mary River Wetlands, and home to the largest concentration of saltwater Estuarine Crocodiles, Crocodylus porosus - in the world. As well as the crocodiles you can see a huge variety of birds and other wildlife in their natural environment. 

A reminder about the crocodiles as you come onto the boat - these guys are dangerous and will eat you given half the chance.  Don't hang your body parts outside of the boat!


 Or think of going for a paddle to look at the water lilies while you wait. 


Honestly, this is a fabulous cruise. Our guide was very knowledgeable and we saw lots of birds and crocodiles. They have a range of cruises, but as we were driving from Darwin, the 10am cruise suited us, and because it was mid morning the crocodiles were laying on the river banks soaking up the sunshine so we got a good look at them. They are so prehistoric looking.

There is a couple of accommodation options, the closest being at Corroboree Park Campground behind the Corroboree Park Tavern on Arnhem Highway - approximately 21 kilometres from Corroboree Billabong and the departure point for a shuttle bus for those requiring transport down to the cruise departure.

Saltwater crocodiles - or 'salties' as they are known colloquially - can live in fresh or brackish water, so you need to be vigilant and take notice of signage anywhere in the Territory. They are the largest living reptile, and the average male grows to 5 metres in length and weighing around 500kg.

Nothing really stands a chance against a large male saltwater crocodile, which is capable of killing and eating pretty much anything that comes into its territory, including sharks and humans. So you don't want to mess with these guys.

More fast facts here - Discover Wildlife
 We also really enjoyed seeing the birds. Below are a few of them. Many thanks to my husband for some of these pics. 

Clockwise from top left - Jabiru, Pigmy goose, Glossy ibis, Nankeen night heron, Pied cormorant with catfish, Whistling ducks, Pied heron, Forest kingfisher, and in the centre White Intermediate Egret - and a closer look at the white egret below the collage. 

The Jabiru or black-necked stork is known as the "police" bird and it has a very sharp beak with which it jabbs and seizes its prey.  It is the only species of stork found in Australia. 


White Intermediate Egret
  I think my favourite is the Jacana or Lotus bird. Can you see it's long toes? These help them walk across the lilly pads. There was a group of young ones darting about on the lily pads.

Below is the Sea Eagle - the second largest bird of prey in Australia. In the close up picture of the nest you can see turtle shells.

I loved the Sacred lotus lilies.   The leaves repel water and so can be used to carry water. 

Sacred Lotus or N. nucifera is native to Northern Australia and the tropical areas of Asia. Indigenous Australians have collected different parts of the lotus as a source of food for thousands of years. Lotuses produce a round, spongy fruit between the months of January and July. The seeds of this fruit can be eaten both raw and roasted, or even ground into a flour and turned into damper; a type of bread which is traditionally baked in the coals of a camp fire. The stems also offer a source of food and can be eaten raw and taste similar to celery.

Below is Pandanas. One of several species of Pandanas palm in Australia, Aboriginal
people carried slow smouldering Pandanus branches to transfer fire from camp to camp when they travelled. The pandanas was used for craft, food, and medicine. Pandanas - NT Nature notes


 After the cruise we had lunch at the Corroboree Park Tavern and Roadhouse, before heading back to Darwin. 

On the way back we stopped at the Window on the Wetlands Visitor Centre, located on a high hill overlooking the Adelaide River flood plain. 

This is Limilngan-Wulna people's land. Known as Ludawei, this site is an important part of their culture. The three hills represent Turtle Dreaming, called LULAK. From the observation deck on the top floor of the Centre there are superb views across the floodplains.
 

The Centre provides an introduction to the northern coastal wetlands. Interactive displays offer an insight into the ecological processes that occur in the wetlands, seasonal changes and the problems of feral animals and weeds. Guides can help you with detailed information on wildlife and on local Aboriginal and European history.

We were given a talk on the lookout deck, which highlighted the degradation of the landscape by buffaloes. 



Back in Darwin we headed down to the Stokes Hill Wharf for a crocodile or buffalo schnitzel or burger and then to the Mindil Beach sunset markets - a great place to pick up a souvenir.  

The wharf is a very popular place for alfresco dining.  The croc had an interesting, though no unpleasant taste, though it was a little chewy on the thicker end. My husband said the buffalo was a dark meat with a strong gamey flavour.  The serves were generous, but it would have been nice to have proper utensils, not plastic. (smile).


 I hope you have enjoyed our tour to Corroboree Billabong. Next time around we leave Darwin and head off to Kakadu National Park. 

Of course there is lots more to see in Darwin - we had lunch at the Casino and visited the Museum and Art Gallery which were both excellent, including the Cyclone Tracey exhibition and the Maritime gallery. And lots more!

 More information at:  
Corroboree Billabong Wetland Cruises
Northern Territory Tourism 
 
You might also like:
Smiling at Crocodiles, Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek, Western Australian 

Another way to get to Darwin is on The Ghan train which runs up the middle of Australia from Adelaide in South Australia to Darwin.


Thank you so much for stopping by. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Have a wonderful week. 

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.

14 comments:

  1. Some wonderful photos, and I like the lotus flowers too. The Sea Eagle is a magnificent bird and you captured it perfectly. Thanks.

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  2. Beautiful and amazing photos!! Mr. crocodile is fearsome, but the beauty of the floral scenes are much more captivating to me. Thank you!,

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  3. Its always a pleasure to read your post. Must Think on CROCODILE DUNDEE, the film.

    Happy MosaicMonday

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  4. Jill - where to begin? Another fabulous post about your journey. Your (many) reminders of the dangers of crocodiles remind me of a story about a young child being pulled off a beach at Walt Disney World in Florida by a crocodile - so sad. I love all your photos, but the Lotus Bird and the Lotus flowers captured my heart. Thanks so much for linking to Mosaic Monday!

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  5. I love all the wildlife shots! Those crocs are amazing!

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  6. Hello Jill, what an awesome post. I would like to see all the animals and birds in their natural habitat. The crocodiles are scary, like the alligators in Florida. All the wildlife should be respected and given their space. The lotus flowers are beautiful. Wonderful collection of photos. Thank you for linking up your post. Have a happy day and a good week ahead,

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    1. Hi Eileen, I thought you might like the birds and lotus flowers. Have a fabulous week.

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  7. I just kept thinking 'wow' as I perused your photos. The crocs though, ewww, bit scary but love that you got great photos. Thanks for my trip today along with you through your beautiful photos. :)

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  8. I can see a resemblance between the Lotus Bird and dinosaurs. :-) How exciting to see a crocodile up close!

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  9. Sorry Jill you had such a time trying to link! Others did too, but gave up! Am happy you did, because this is such an awesome post! From your shots of the crocodile it's apparent it is such a strong and dangerous animal! Have seen one lotus plant with flowers in Balboa Park San Diego, but it's neat to see them in abundance, in the wild. The lotus bird is such a cute little thing. Love the colors n your capture of the egret. All in all, an awesome post for All Seasons I wouldn't have want to miss. Thanks again for persevering! Have a happy rest of the week:)

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  10. Wow, what great shots of the beautiful wildlife! The bird on the lily pads (?) is gorgeous and the food looks so yum :)

    It's great to see you at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

    My Corner of the World

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  11. fascinating photos!!! Wonderful animals!!!

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  12. Amazing variety of wildlife, and wonderful photos!

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  13. They have a similar sign about "Send more tourists" here in BC, only it's a picture of a Grizzly Bear. - Margy

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I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.