Adelaide River Crocodiles and Barramundi, via Humpty Doo by ultralight aircraft
Greetings! Today I want to share with you my amazing experience of flying over some of the most stunning and unique landscapes in the Northern Territory. Even though I have flown this lap before, each flight offers a different visual spectacle along with the chance to witness something new or seldom seen. I took a flight from MKT airfield to Fogg Dam and then over the Humpty Doo Barramundi farm before heading south along the Adelaide River flying over crocodiles and jumping crocodile cruise boats. It was both exhilarating and relaxing!
Check out the video at the bottom of this post.
The flight took place in the dry season, which is the best time to see the wildlife and the scenery in this region. The dry season runs from May to October and has clear blue skies, warm days and cool nights. The wet season, from November to April, is hot and humid with heavy rains and thunderstorms.
Take off from MKT Airfield is ironically over the largest crocodile farm in the Northern Territory. Needless to say, it is not the location to have an engine failure. Noonamah is on the right where rodeos and cane toad races are highlights on that hamlet’s social calendar. Humpty Doo is straight ahead with Taminmin College and Humpty Doo Primary School on my left as is Mcminns Lagoon. For those driving towards the Adelaide River, the large green statue of a boxing crocodile, replete with gloves greets travellers as they pull in to refuel or grab a famous Paul’s Iced Coffee – a Territory Classic created in the year I was born – proving you can create two classics in the same year. 🙂
Flying east along the Arnhem Highway, large farms of mangos with green rows of manicured trees are just thinking about whether it is cold enough to prompt the flowering that leads to the delivery of one of the Northern Territory’s largest commercial fruit crops. Other farms grow snake beans, dragon fruit and many other varieties of fruits and vegetables that make their way to local markets like the Rapid Creek Markets.
The first stop after the farmlands was Fogg Dam, a wetland reserve that is home to a myriad of birdlife, such as magpie geese, egrets, herons, ibises, spoonbills and more. The dam was built in the 1950s as part of a failed rice-growing project, but now it is a haven for nature lovers. From the air, I could see the contrast between the green vegetation and the brown water, and the flocks of birds flying over the surface.
Next, I flew over the Humpty Doo Barramundi farm, which is Australia’s biggest barramundi farm and produces around 3,600 tonnes of fish per year. The farm is expanding its production and building a new hatchery in partnership with the CSIRO. Barramundi is a delicious fish that is popular in Australian cuisine, especially grilled or fried with chips. I could see the large ponds where the fish are grown and harvested, and the factory where they are processed and packaged. I always feel proud when I visit our local Costco warehouse in Docklands, Melbourne and see Humpty Doo Barra for sale alongside salmon, wagyu beef and other delicacies.
The highlight of the flight was flying over the Adelaide River, which is famous for its saltwater crocodiles that can jump out of the water to catch their prey or bits of chicken dangled over the side of a boat. Apart from being a favourite location for fishing, the river, or rather its crocodiles is also a popular tourist attraction, with several cruise operators that offer jumping crocodile cruises. These cruises allow visitors to see these magnificent prehistoric creatures up close as they leap from the water to snatch meat from poles dangled over the side of the boat. It was an incredible sight to see from above, as I could see dozens of crocodiles lurking in the water and several jumping to earn their feed for the day.
I have sent some of my aerial photographs of the jumping crocodile cruise photographs to the cruise companies. One owner commented “You’re that crazy person who flies over these crocodile-infested waters at 500 ft” to which I replied “Crazy? I’m not dangling a bit of chook (chicken) over the side of a boat that is about the same size as the crocodiles you are feeding.”
He Agreed. 🙂
These flights are always an unforgettable experience for me that hopefully gives you a new perspective on this amazing part of Australia. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves nature, adventure and flying. If you want to come fly with me, send me a message. Doesn’t guarantee a flight, but “never ask never know”.