The vast Mary River Wetlands, located in Australia’s Northern Territory, are home to massive saltwater crocodiles, abundant bird life and massive barramundi (Asian sea bass).
The Arnhem Highway crosses five floodplains, which are prime habitat for brolgas, egrets, black-necked storks, sea eagles and magpie geese, between Darwin and Jabiru. Yet, most visitors find it more enjoyable to experience the Mary River Wetlands from the water. Airboat rides explore the Mary River floodplains and lush monsoon forests, offering a rare chance to spot the area’s abundant bird life, introduced water buffalo and native monitors and wallabies in the plentiful paperbark forests. Adelaide River cruise hosts dangle bait to draw saltwater crocodiles into view and high out of the water.
For self-guided visitors, it is also possible to view these powerful reptiles from a viewing platform at Shady Camp. Other places to explore include the Brian Creek Monsoon Forest, North Rockhole, and Couzens Lookout. In the dry season, it’s possible to explore many unsealed roads in a standard vehicle; however, in the rainy season a 4WD is recommended.
Sport fishermen come from all over to land the famed barramundi, renowned for its good fighting ability. Landing a 100-pound barramundi isn’t easy, but casting a line at Shady Camp, Corroboree Billabong, or in the Adelaide River provides the best opportunity.