Croc spotting at Cahills Crossing
The Cahills Crossing viewing area on the western bank of the East Alligator River is a safe place to watch estuarine (saltwater) crocodiles in the wild.
The site has three viewing platforms and a picnic area linked by a rainforest walk. These platforms directly overlook Cahills Crossing and provide visitors with a safe vantage point to view crocodiles in Kakadu.
Estuarine (saltwater) crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus), Kakadu’s fiercest predators and the world’s largest reptiles, gather in large numbers around this causeway to feed on mullet and barramundi as the tide pushes in and over the road that leads into Arnhem Land.
It’s a seasonal phenomenon that occurs in the later part of the dry season, during wurrkeng and kurrung, when floodplains and other nearby waterways dry out and the freshwater flow from the headwaters of the East Alligator River decreases.
When to see them
The best months to watch this world-class crocodile spectacular is from July to October/November, reaching its peak from September onwards until the wet season commences.
Crocodile density increases dramatically during this time, all relative to the fish or prey biomass. With enough fish available around the crossing, a staggering number of crocodiles can co-exist, albeit observing the pecking order (crocodile hierarchical rules).
Large tides push muddy water and plenty of mullet upstream and over the causeway, providing the best setting for a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experience.
50 crocodiles or more have been counted in the 400 m stretch of river between Cahills Crossing and the East Alligator River upstream boat ramp. Normally the crocodile density is about 5-9 crocodiles per kilometre.
The show is over once rainfall sets in and the river starts to flow again. Density and biomass of crocodiles drops dramatically to about 4 or 5 crocodiles at the crossing, as crocodiles disperse with the onset of the wet season flooding.
Individual “identity crocodiles” (well-known crocs who are revered by rangers and the community) will frequent the area during this time, but will travel up to 140 km away to the South Alligator River and beyond to maximise seasonal feeding opportunities that exist at these other locations.
Check the tide times before heading to Cahills Crossing by using online resources or ask staff at the Bowali Visitor Centre.
These resources are a guide only, actual times may vary depending on seasonal conditions:
- East Alligator River - Cahills Crossing Tide Times, NT - WillyWeather
- Check the tidal predictions and variations - NT.GOV.AU
Saltwater crocodiles have a high cultural significance. They are an integral part of daily and cultural life.
Please respect the wishes of Traditional Owners, stay away from the water’s edge, do not cross the causeway on foot, and observe these apex predators from the safety of the viewing platform.
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