News

Get snapping at Hartley’s

SNAP HAPPY: Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is a popular tourist attraction.
SNAP HAPPY: Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is a popular tourist attraction. CONTRIBUTED

HERE'S a question you won't want to answer.

Would you rather be disembowelled by an irritated cassowary or eaten by a monster crocodile?

It's a silly question but when you are very close to enormous saltwater crocs and within a handshake of a growling cassowary you'd be surprised how easily it jumps to mind.

Fortunately you can get very close to these potentially deadly but fascinating creatures at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures without risking a grisly death.

Hartley's - about 40 minutes north of Cairns and 25 minutes south of Port Douglas - will prove the late Steve Irwin did not exaggerate when he said "crocs rule".

These gigantic brutes with their prehistoric hides have no predators and could snatch you, drag you under water and crunch you in half before you could say "hey look, there's a crocodile over there".

Fortunately the big saltwater crocs at Hartley's are well fed, safely behind a fenced lagoon and you view them from the protection of a steel-meshed boat.

You may think you've seen it all in your travels but until you've seen Ted - the whole 5.4 metres of him - lunge from the water to snatch a dangling chicken carcass in his powerful jaws - you haven't really lived. (Ted is 100 years old, has one tooth and one eye, but hey - you wouldn't want to mess with him.)

Hartley's man-made lagoon has fused with nature over the decades to become a natural wetland and the crocs that live contented lives there send shivers down the spine.

Hartley's staff know all the crocs by name (how, is anybody's guess they all look terrifyingly the same) and have an obvious affection for them.

The boat ride in the lagoon leaves you trembling with awe as does feeding time where the crocs surge out of the water for dangled treats to expose fleshy white underbellies as malevolent as their watchful eyes.

Professional wildlife keepers ensure your safety, and throughout the day, present conservation-themed educational activities.

As for the cassowary, it is not at all irritated at Hartley's, on the contrary, it's very happy showing off its gorgeous red, blue and purple plumage, making a low booming noise that we take to mean happiness.

Hartley's has been going about its croc and wildlife business for 80 years.

It began as a teahouse in 1933 to "delight travellers between Cairns and Mossman".

Visitors endured a two-hour buggy drive to get there and the owners decided to buy a crocodile to live in the creek and entertain them while they waited for their scones to come out of the oven.

Now with its native bush viewed from 2100 metres of timber boardwalks and pathways, Hartley's is also home to koalas, reptiles and wallabies and has glorious bird life in its walk-in aviary.

The cassowary garden is where you'll spot these normally elusive birds and it's hard to believe by their proud and pretty stature that they could take you out with one lightning-fast swoop of their deadly dagger-like claws.

A day flashes by quickly at Hartley's, especially if you take part in the crocodile farm tour, the snake show, the cassowary and koala feeding, and pose for a photo with a python around your neck.

Visitors come from all over the world, fearfully fascinated by Australia's deadly creatures. Some even chose to exchange their wedding vows in the amphitheatre.

It's a slick operation at Hartley's, a far cry from being entertained by the one crocodile while you waited for your afternoon tea.

>>Try the crocodile meat, farmed at Hartley's, in its on-site restaurant, Lillie's

 

>>Learn about sustainable use and conservation on a crocodile farm tour

 

>>Hartley's has operated a commercial crocodile farm since 1989. Estuarine crocodiles bred on the premises are raised for their skins and meat.

You can visit parts of the farm, learn how it all works, and appreciate how the sustainable commercial use of wildlife contributes to wildlife and habitat conservation.

 

>> Special interest groups from pre-school through to senior and tertiary level students have education programs.

 

>>Hartley's provides A-grade skins, commission by Louis Vuitton.

Hartley's Crocodile Adventures is 40km north of Cairns and 25km south of Port Douglas on the Captain Cook Hwy.

Visit www.crocodile adventures.com for more details.

Topics:  travel ann rickard


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Looking for an SCC armistice

The new Noosa Council 2016. Photo Alan Lander / Noosa News

Noosa leaders rate the new council

Club wins a stay of wind-up

No more rounds - a lone golf cart sits unminded at Peregian Springs Golf Club on the day it closed its doors.

Golf club closure latest

Noosa High to help the Basket Brigade

VOLUNTEERS: Trish Bignall and Emma Wright are part of the Coast Basket Brigade.

Basket brigade gets some help

Latest deals and offers

MasterChef two are Noosa's reality stars

Noosa has a double celebration in MasterChef

Looking for an SCC armistice

The new Noosa Council 2016. Photo Alan Lander / Noosa News

Noosa leaders rate the new council

Club wins a stay of wind-up

No more rounds - a lone golf cart sits unminded at Peregian Springs Golf Club on the day it closed its doors.

Golf club closure latest

Noosa High to help the Basket Brigade

VOLUNTEERS: Trish Bignall and Emma Wright are part of the Coast Basket Brigade.

Basket brigade gets some help

Cheers for new cash for trash

SUPPORT: A public rally on the beach at Noosa calls  for a cash for containers program to be implemented.

Noosa welcomes cash for trash

Family feels for driver in son's death crash

CRASH SCENE: The fatal accident involving three cars and a motorbike on the Cooroy Noosa Rd.

Death crash family's compassion

The Lind's 10-minute plays put relationships in spotlight

ADVICE FOR ACTORS: Libby Munro shares her thoughts.

See four of the best 10-minute plays around

Mum driver heroically ignores hilarious lip-syncing son

Hilarious moves while Mum concentrates on the road.

IF IT takes a village to raise a child, why aren't they driving?

GIG GUIDE: The best in local live music

STILL ROCKIN': Kevin Borich Express will appear at The Yacht Club, Mooloolaba, on Sunday.

Find out who's playing where this weekend

Twitter adds dancing David Brent emoji

Ricky Gervais's character has its own emoji now

Cyndi Lauper opens up about mother's dementia

Cyndi Lauper says her mother Catrine has "a little dementia".

Mental As Anything joins with Spy v Spy

THEY'RE BACK: Mental As Anything plays The Shed at Aussie World next month.

Get set for an explosive night of rock at The Shed, Aussie World

Chevallum property fit for the whole family

Heritage-style homestead with enough room for the whole family

Sunrise Beach ocean-front home sure to wow

Ocean and beach views sure to attract buyers

Property developer resigns from leading Coast firm

Reed Property Group managing director Ken Reed on site at the Big Top shopping centre in Maroochydore.

A Coast developer has thrown in the towel after three decades

The only option left for Peregian Springs golf club

GOLF CONCERNS: The Peregian Springs Golf Club’s future is under a cloud.

Golf club assets will be auctioned next week

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline