Camping & crocs in El Questro and beyond

Submitted: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 23:50
ThreadID: 69024 Views:5946 Replies:9 FollowUps:2
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Hi folks

We are leaving Broome and heading thru fitzroy, halls creek and up to el questro thru to Darwin.

Does anyone know where we can swim in these areas? It sounding like crocs everywhere and so chance of getting wet.

Any insights from recent visitors would be appreciated

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Reply By: Serendipity of Mandurah (WA) - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 00:12

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 00:12
Hi Andrew

I have lived in Darwin for years and enjoyed camping and fishing all around the top end.

Only swim in the caravan park swimming pools. (At this time of year most water is freezing anyway.) Don't camp any closer than you can kick a long football - and then preferable up a very steep bank. If you can't see the bottom don't go near it.

Often park rangers will put foam floats like what are on cray pots in the water - if they are chewed on there is a croc around. The crocs can not resist chewing them.

At El Questro go to the hot springs and swim there. All through the top end there are hot springs to swim in. They are good and usually netted and checked regularly. Still one year the hot springs at Berry Springs just out of Darwin was closed for weeks due to a large croc coming up stream during the wet and taking up residence. They know by the chew marks on the floats but crocs are hard to catch.

Others may be more blase' but I prefer to keep my body parts and see out a long life. I have had enough scares with crocs stalking my boat or even bumping it.


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Reply By: Tim - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 01:03

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 01:03
Most places through that area are well sign posted particularly if you are sticking to the more tourist areas.
El questro has some really nice pools you can swim in and when you check in they will advise you of any water holes which are off limits. On the GRR we only had crocs at Windjanna and east of the Penecost River.
If your not sure then I would definitely give it a wide birth but you'll be punishing yourself if you don't hit some of the water holes.
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Reply By: Member - Kroozer (WA) - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 03:16

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 03:16
So, your heading up the Great Northern Highway Highway and then making the short trip into El Questro i gather? Its not good to swim in any water that isnt flowing, which is common sense. Plus there isnt really anywhere you would want to swim along the highway, or is it more a case of having a wash? The Freshies are fine, as long as you dont get too close, its the salties you wanna watch out for. Never know where the buggers are. The old rule is, if there is barra, there are crocs. and i know many places that are many many miles from the saltwater that house barra and crocs. Nothing to worry about at any of the El Questro sites though, all ok. Just dont swim anywhere near the Pentecost, Chamberlain, Ord, Dunham or Fitzroy.
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 08:53

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 08:53
G'day Kroozer,

The most crocs I have ever seen were on the Lower Ord. A lot of freshies but a whole lot of salties as well. Some of the salties were quite large including a very large one that came out of the water to take the barra frames at the fishing camp. While I've seem a lot of crocs at Shady Camp and most of these were large, seen some crocs at Kakadu where nearly all were large and some on Cape York where some were large the Lower Ord wins hands down for shear numbers.

There were two "most scary croc story" for me, one that slammed the boat in Kakadu and all the large crocs in the Blue Holes at Derby we didn't see. We were going to do some fishing in the blue holes (we didn't get to launch the boat but that's another story) and one of our contacts adviced us agains going there unarmed!Well we did see hundreds of wallabies but no crocs and with plenty of deep water and muddy banks it scared the cr@p out of me.

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Follow Up By: Member - Kroozer (WA) - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 14:03

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 14:03
Beatit, agree totally with you on the lower Ord mate. My old man used to work out there tackling the Noogoora Burr for years, and we did many trips out there on the weekends and holidays as kids. I estimate that i have spent at least a hundred nights out there camping and fishing. Was and still is my favourite place in the whole world, many memories from out there. Once seen a barra leap from the water and then a huge snap, straight into a crocs mouth, no more then 50 metres from us. The crocs arent as prolific as they use to be back then when it was quarantined, but yes they are still bad. My old man actually trapped crocs for Malcolm Douglas out there, and they were the biggest crocs he had in his farm for many years. In the wet season at night you will often find the bastards on the road laying in puddles, let me tell you it certainly wakes you up as your driving through and see something take off from under the car. There is a place down on the lower Ord, in the saltwater reaches where the crocs are still abundant, and very cheeky. Each time we went there the crocs would actually come to the bank and try climbing up towards us. The bank was too steep for them but it was very scary to witness. They had no fear whatsoever, and there was usaully 4 or 5 waiting at the waters edge. All over 10 foot in length, and with very nice coloured skin. Indicating they were very healthy and well looked after.

As for the Blue holes in Derby, i know idiots who dive there at low tide. Some people just cant be told.
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Reply By: andrewhamilton - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 09:34

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 09:34
Thanks folks
We want to enjoy some of waterholes etc but not at the cost of an arm and leg or worse!

The advice has been very helpful

AnswerID: 365941

Reply By: Member - lyndon K (SA) - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 09:52

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 09:52
My rule's for up north.
I only get in SMALL water holes that are clear and that have rapids either side and are never deeper than my waist . The best place is at the top of an escarment, like Bell falls,Jim Jim,Twin Falls,Wangi,Gunlom etc etc. If the water fall is high enough NEVER to go under water during the wet, there never has nor will be a croc at the top!
Can anyone here more familar with the area suggest some high waterfalls that have access to the top where this chap is traveling?
Cheers Lyndon
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Reply By: kelstar78 - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 13:46

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 13:46
I consider them to be everywhere and swim nowhere but the pool. I have had some close calls as in 2ft clear running water, cooled off and a huge 4.5m saltie was laying right there on the bank a couple of hours later.

It wasn't even deep and I could see no worries.

They are there!!!

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Reply By: Muddie - Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 14:45

Thursday, May 21, 2009 at 14:45
After doing 12 weeks in the Kimberley in 2006, my wife suggested next time we bring a kids blow up pool and use a 12 volt pump to fill it well above the river. It gets mighty hot and the gorge swimming hole are often days apart.
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Reply By: tim_c - Friday, May 22, 2009 at 13:08

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 13:08
If in any doubt, don't swim - it's not worth the risk.

El Questro is a privately owned property and the staff there will be able to tell you which places are/aren't suitable for swimming.
AnswerID: 366158

Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, May 22, 2009 at 16:20

Friday, May 22, 2009 at 16:20
We swam where advice said it was safe, and not where doubtful. This included swimming at falls and gorges such as Bells Falls, Adcock Gorge, Manning Falls, Barnett River, and the King Edward River, both at the campsite near the river crossing to the Mitchell Plateau and at the top of Mitchell Falls. On El Questro Emma Gorge (very cold water) and sat in pools and under cascadess in Zebedee hot springs. Also swam in a gorge on Charnley River Station. Cooled off with caution in the shallows of the Pentecost at our El Questro riverside bush camp. Did not swim in the sea at Kalumburu, although some people do and we didn't see any salties.

Just follow the advice of the tourist brochures and signage.



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