In the heart of Darwin, a cage diving experience may err on the side of touristy, but of literally going eye-to-eye with salt water crocs was unquestionably visceral. Not unlike the scene from Jurassic Park where the cow is lowered into the velociraptors enclosure (and is promptly eviscerated), you climb into a plexiglass cylinder and are carried out and over the enclosure containing a pair of the 8-foot long dinosaurs before being dropped and semi-submerged. While the crocodiles have, at this point, learned to pay less attention to you than the chicken carcasses that are being dangled overhead, the sheer power and sound of a snapping jaw with more strength than a T-Rex triggers something deep within your own lizard brain.
Litchfield and Nitmiluk National Park
A few hours south of the city (and slightly out of reach of the coastal humidity), both Litchfield and Nitmiluk National Parks offer a more mountainous setting to the Top End. Deep spring-water fuels impressive waterfalls which cascade and cut through the mountains, and we spent the hot mid-days swimming in these oasis’s while working on our Northern Hemisphere tans.
While the region has yet to establish official mountain biking trails, over the next several years, the Northern Territory Government plans to invest tens of millions of dollars in the development of trail networks. These trails will link waterholes and traverse the mountains surrounding the gorges, which are protected in these parks. The plan aims to encourage mountain biking as a viable tool for exploration in this region, especially here where the elevation supports a wide variety of riding styles.