Croc cage for the wild at heart

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Hay­den Smith

THRILL- SEEK­ERS could eye­ball man-eat­ing crocs while sub­merged in a cage as part of two ma­jor new de­vel­op­ments at a Far North tourism hotspot.

can ex­clu­sively re­veal plans for two new at­trac­tions — Cro­carena and Zi­pline Zoo Ad­ven­tures — to be opened this year at the Wildlife Habi­tat, Port Dou­glas.

Two new grand­stands cater­ing for 300 spectators will be built at the Cro­carena, where vis­i­tors will watch crocodile feed­ing from above, below and even while sub­merged in the wa­ter.

In a Queens­land first, dare­dev­ils will be locked in a cage be­fore com­ing face to face with the Wildlife Habi­tat’s two res­i­dent salt­wa­ter crocs, in­clud­ing a 4.2m rep­tile named “Babinda”.

An­other view­ing area will also be built be­neath the grand­stands.

In a se­cond new de­vel­op­ment, seven zip lines will be in­stalled through­out the Wildlife Habi­tat, owned by Far North com­pany The Wood­ward Fam­ily CaPTA Group.

Start­ing from a 13-me­tre high tower, the zip line course will also in­clude pro­vi­sions for ab­seil­ing, a rock climb­ing wall and “Power Jump”. Con­struc­tion for Cro­carena and Zi­pline Zoo Ad­ven­tures, es­ti­mated to be worth more than $1 mil­lion com­bined, is sched­uled to be­gin in April. Both new at­trac­tions are sched­uled to open by July.

The CaPTA Group chair­man, Charles Wood­ward, ex- pected the two de­vel­op­ments to sat­isfy the few re­main­ing re­quire­ments, in­clud­ing biose­cu­rity and work­place health and safety.

“It’s just a mat­ter of tick­ing boxes and do­ing things cor­rectly,” he told “There shouldn’t be any prob­lems.

“For a while we’ve been look­ing at tak­ing the (Wildlife) Habi­tat to an­other level. So we thought, why not send peo­ple down in a cage and let them smile at a crocodile?”

Mr Wood­ward, who first thought of the idea about a year ago, said he would be among the first peo­ple to try the new “sub­mer­sion ex­pe­ri­ence” af­ter it was com­pleted.

“It should be a great adrenaline rush,” he said.

“The amaz­ing thing about croc­o­diles is the way they can ex­plode into ac­tion, es­pe­cially when they’re feed­ing.”

Tara Ben­nett, ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Tourism Port Dou­glas and Dain­tree, said the de­vel­op­ments would be fan­tas­tic for the re­gion.

“I ap­plaud The CaPTA Group for iden­ti­fy­ing new and ex­cit­ing ways to en­gage with Far North wildlife,” she said.

Pic­ture: SUP­PLIED

Babinda the croc at Port Dou­glas' Wildlife Habi­tat.

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