Hartleys Crocodile Adventure was a completely unexpected stop on the road.
It wasn’t something we knew about, were excited about or had planned for when we landed in Tropical North Queensland, but it ended up being such a fantastic afternoon.
Thom noticed a sign for the wildlife park on Captain Cook Highway the night before as we drove from Cairns Airport to our hotel in Port Douglas, so during the week when we had a free afternoon we decided to check it out as a spur of the moment activity.
We’ve found that these are always the best kinds of adventures!
Located roughly half way between Cairns and Port Douglas, Hartleys Crocodile Adventures is simply the best place to see crocodiles and local wildlife in Tropical North Queensland. That we’ve come across anyway!
The wildlife park had a little bit of a different idea to others, hoping to offer it’s visitors a little bit of adventure mixed with learning and education about crocodiles and their environment. And living here are honestly some of the biggest crocodiles we have ever seen – including Ted, a 900 kilogram crocodile that lives in the lagoon.
As well as being a wildlife park, Hartleys is also a real working crocodile farm, where saltwater crocodiles are bred and raised for their skins and meat. During your visit you can actually take a guided tour of the farm to learn about how it works and a little bit about the conservation of wild populations and their habitats.
What to do at Hartleys crocodile adventures
Whether you have an hour or a whole day to play at Hartleys, there’s so much to see and explore here. Hartleys is home to all kinds of Australian wildlife, as well as a real working crocodile farm. There’s tours and presentations all throughout the day, sharing with visitors an inside look at the park and their resident wildlife.
The number one place at Hartleys to spot crocs in their natural habitat. Take a boat cruise through the wetlands and watch the crocodiles jumping out of the water for their food.
It really gives you a glimpse at how stealth and sneaky these predators can be. Don’t forget to grab a boat ticket when you buy your tickets at the gate. They’re complimentary with every admission but you need to essentially book in for a cruise time.
Wildlife Discovery Trail
The Wildlife Discovery Trail takes you on a walk around the parks boardwalks to meet lots of freshwater crocs, turtles and lizards. The freshwater crocodiles on this walk were just so big. Almost all of the males were over 600 kilograms! You wouldn’t want to run into them in the wild.
Take a tour of Hartleys commercial crocodile farm to learn how crocodile farms work and how crocodile farming contributes to conservation. The crocodile farm on the property is a working farm, that raises crocodiles for their meat and skins.
Even for the vegan and vegetarian readers, this tour was so interesting and informative and gives you a real insight into an industry that most of us don’t know very much about. Definitely worth taking the time to jump on the tour. Crocodile Farm tours start at 10am and 1:30pm each day.
Take a walk through this beautiful open space, where the kangaroos and wallabies roam free. There are lots of cute furry friends in here who are just so happy to have some visitors to play with.
There are heaps of wildlife presentations happening throughout the park each day and it’s a good idea to catch as many of them as you can, as they give you a unique insight into their animals, their lifestyles and habits and a little bit about the conversation and preservation of each of these important species.
Some of the presentations throughout the day include –
- Cassowary feeding at 9:30am
- Crocodile feeding at 11am
- The Snake Show at 1pm
- Crocodile Attack Show at 3pm
- Koala feeding at 4:30pm
Hartleys Crocodile Adventures is open from 8:30am to 5pm each day, with the exception of Christmas Day and one day in June due to the closure of the Captain Cook Highway for the Cairns Iron Man event.
Tickets cost $41 AUD per adult, with discounts for kids and families. The admission price includes access to all the whole park – all the wildlife displays and presentations, at least one boat ride on Hartleys Lagoon, self-guided walks and free wildlife information sheets.
If you’re not driving you can organise a return bus transfer when you book in advance from many major hotels in the Cairns city area, most hotels and caravan parks in Palm Cove, and most accommodation options in Port Douglas. You can find out the pickup time when you make your booking.
Visiting Hartleys was an unexpected surprise on our trip to Tropical North Queensland, but it was a fantastic day trip. It’s such a lovely sanctuary, with plenty of room to explore and look around at your own pace, without big crowds pushing you along. It’s one of the best Australian animal sanctuaries we’ve been to, and definitely worth the visit if you’re in the area.
Find out more about Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures on their website HERE.
Hartleys Crocodile Adventures || Captain Cook Highway, Wangetti Beach || Ph: (07) 4055 3576