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THE pop­ping sound as the jaws of a five me­tre salt­wa­ter crocodile snap to­gether is a sound which is hard to for­get, writes Jas­mine O’Donoghue.

Hart­ley’s Crocodile Ad­ven­tures is roughly 40km up the coast from Cairns and of­fers an ex­hil­a­rat­ing in­sight into one of Aus­tralia’s most danger­ous an­i­mals.

The park runs boat tours on the croc-in­fested Hart­ley’s La­goon through­out the day where over 20 “sal­ties” lie in wait for their din­ner to sail by.

Quick wit­ted and down­right hi­lar­i­ous guides ma­neu­ver the ves­sel around the en­clo­sure, point­ing out the sal­ties by name, in­clud­ing Eileen the three-legged croc, and Boris, the 40-year old who stands at 5m long.

The cruises put the rep­tiles through their paces, dan­gling chunks of meat from a (very long) stick, tempt­ing them to thrust them­selves into the air and crash back into the wa­ter, merely me­tres from the sides of the boat.

Hart­ley’s runs a dif­fer­ent pre­sen­ta­tion or wildlife in­ter­ac­tion ev­ery half an hour and groups of 100 or more can ex­plore the park ex­clu­sively.

“It’s just so uniquely dif­fer­ent, it’s a very nice open venue, very en­demic of what Trop­i­cal North Queens­land is,” Yvonne Bekkers, Groups & Events Reser­va­tions Co­or­di­na­tior told Busi­ness Events News. Break­fasts through to din­ners can be or­gan­ised for groups, in­clud­ing the pop­u­lar op­tions of the three- to fourhour Hart­ley’s Night Zoo and three-hour Hart­ley’s Night Ad­ven­tures.

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