8 Reasons Tropical North Queensland TOPS our Holiday Checklist

It goes without saying that our family is drawn towards warm climates, and tend to opt for sun-drenched beaches over snowfields any day. That said, since having the kids we’ve only ever really holidayed on the Gold Coast, Darwin or Bali.

That’s why when the good folk at Tourism Tropical North Queensland invited us to explore the magic of Cairns and Palm Cove, it was a no-brainer! After all, we’d never ventured THAT far up into sunny Queensland for a family holiday so this was going to be a treat!

Let’s face it, we love living in Adelaide, however the weather in July was cold, wet and pretty dreary. Weather in Cairns? A nice warm and sunny 28! So we dragged out the summer clothes, grabbed our beachwear and headed off on our tropical adventure.

We had a very limited 4 days for these adventures, however we certainly made the most of it. What we did discover is that Tropical North Queensland is the perfect holiday destination for families young and old, and drove me to compile this list of 8 fabulous reasons you should be putting this piece of paradise on top of your next holiday checklist!


1. Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures

After picking up our hire car at the Cairns airport, we promptly headed to our first stop – Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures! Regarded as one of Australia’s premiere Crocodile parks, this place really lived up to its reputation! From the moment we walked in we were in awe!

Tour Guide Matt took us on our own VIP tour through the park (highly recommended!!) and took us to a private area to pat the kangaroos and wombats! The boys loved it (especially Alex our resident animal lover and ‘cuddler’ of all things fluffy!)

TTNQ-Hartleys-Crocodile-Adventures-WombatNext up we headed around to the reptile house for a little ‘snake handling!’ Funnily enough on the way over, Matt asked me if I had any fears. My number one being snakes, it’s like he knew! 😉 Anyway we had no idea where we were going until we got there and while we were busy ‘oooohing and aaaahing’ at the various snakes on display, Matt sneaks out with this monster!!

Needless to say I may have let out a ‘small’ squeal/shriek/scream and shuddered somewhat! The boys stepped right up and made me feel like a sook so I decided there’s no better way to beat your fears than to face them head on (or around your neck?!) right?


Next stop – the bird sanctuary!  There were so many beautiful breeds in the bird section and tour guide Matt had the goods. He whipped some mealworms out of (not sure where ?!)  and we were soon the most popular people in the pen had had a bunch of eyes staring at us in hope we’d throw the worms their way!

TTNQ-Hartleys-Crocodile-Adventures-KookaburraNext up was the “Crocodile Attack Show” where they have live croc feeding and education sessions in the arena. Let’s just say it was VERY educational, and gave you a new found respect for these giant and mysterious creatures!

TTNQ-Hartleys-Crocodile-Adventures-ArenaThe boys were in awe and the sound the crocs make when they chomp their jaws together was insanely LOUD! Check it out below!

YouTube video

Straight after we met tour guide Matt again where he whisked us off again to get a little more up close and personal with the crocs. He was armed with a bucket full of raw chicken heads, wings and pieces which only meant one thing – FEEDING TIME!

Now this is where the VIP tour sets you apart from the rest! We got to feed the crocs and I tell you it was a HOOT! Even Alex got a chance to hold the bamboo pole and entice the big croc to lurch out of the water after his dinner!

TTNQ-Hartleys-Crocodile-Adventures-Crocodile-FeedingLastly we finished our adventures with a flat bottom boat cruise around their man made lagoon. It took them 8 years to construct and let me tell you it’s truly amazing!

Here we got to see all the crocs in their natural habitat. The pond was covered with duck weed which is only temporary but really gave the crocs a great veil of secrecy!

TTNQ-Hartleys-Crocodile-Adventures-Boat-CruiseOne last feeding session before we headed back and we really got to get up close and personal with the crocs in their own habitat!


Overall we highly recommend Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures as a ‘must see’ when you’re heading to Cairns as it was truly a magical experience and many memories (slithering and all) will stay with us for a long time to come!


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Avatar of Belinda Jennings

Belinda's a passionate advocate for community and connection. As the founder of the Mum Central Network she’s committed to celebrating the journey that is Australian parenthood. Mum to two cheeky boys, and wife to her superstar husband, they live a busy but crazy lifestyle in Adelaide. Great conversation, close friends and good chocolate are her chosen weapons for daily survival. Oh, and bubbles. Champagne is key.

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