In March this year STA Travel partnered with Australia’s Northern Territory to run the Work DiffereNT competition which offered winners the opportunity to land working holiday visas plus an amazing job in extraordinary surroundings.
Now, we’d like to introduce our winners; step forward Sara Sweeney-Lewis and Christopher Richards. Sara was awarded the position of Crocodile Attendant at Crocosarus Cove, home to the famous Cage of Death, a clear Perspex box that allows visitors to get up close and personal with giant crocs in the water – an thought that excites and terrifies in equal measure.
Meanwhile, Chris headed off to work on board a ship responsible for the shell cleaning and culturing process off the spectacular north Australian coastline.
Getting up close and personal with Denzel in the Cage of Death, image by Outer Edge Photography, Crococsaurus Cove
As part of their prize, Sara and Chris both got the chance to visit Crocosaurus Cove before they started work. We caught up with them to hear all about their visit and get the low down and all things Crocosaurus.
STA Travel Meets Prizewinners Sara and Chris
First Impressions – Sara:
I had never seen a crocodile before, so was excited to see them in real life for the first time. When I set eyes on a crocodile called Denzel, I was truly taken aback. He looked enormous, it was awesome (and more than slightly terrifying!) to be near him.
First Impressions – Chris:
On arrival we had a tour around the park by park attendant called Wade. He took us to look around the aquarium and the reptile house which has so many different species of snakes and lizards all of which can be found in the Northern Territory. The snakes really interested me – some of them were very rare and had the most amazing patterns.
‘I want some dinner and make it snappy’ (sigh), image by Outer Edge Photography, Crococsaurus Cove
Feeding Time – Sara:
At 2:30, we were introduced to the big croc feed show where two or three of the big crocodiles are fed by the keeper, Nigel. Getting within only around two meters of a giant croc was amazing; you can really see how prehistoric and unchanged they are, even after thousands of years, but most of all, they are terrifyingly huge! Their jaw pressure makes a loud, dull, ‘popping’ sound every time they take a bite, and it was scary to think of how close, yet how at home Nigel was in the enclosure.
Feeding Time – Chris:
After watching the big crocs being fed it was time for the feeding of the smaller ones – which we could do ourselves. We had a bamboo stick with a piece of meat on the end (kind of like a fishing rod) and hung it over the side of the cage for the little crocs to jump up out of the water to grab.
Help to feed the crocs once dinner time rolls around, image by Outer Edge Photography, Crococsaurus Cove
Into The Croc Pit! – Sara:
After feeding, it was time for the Cage of Death and it is fair to say, I was terrified! As the cage lowered into Houdini’s enclosure (one of the other giant crocs), the question ‘why on earth did I say yes to being lowered into a crocodile pen?!’ was definitely racing through my mind. I’ll never forget the amazing experience though.
Into The Croc Pit! – Chris:
I had been looking forward to the cage of death the whole day. As we were lowered into the water I could see one of the crocs start to move in the corner of the pool which got my heart pounding more and more. Being so close to a creature like that was such a brilliant experience.
An aerial view of Crocosaurus Cove Darwin, image by Outer Edge Photography, Crococsaurus Cove
…And Finally – Sara:
The final thing we did at Crocosaurus Cove was hold a baby crocodile. They are so strange to feel – leathery but incredibly soft. The power they have is undeniable, even at a year old they have a ridiculous amount of strength, which I definitely felt when it decided to wriggle about whilst I was holding it!
…And Finally – Chris:
All in all Crocosaurus Cove was an amazing experience that I will never forget and I will most definitely be going back during my stay in Darwin. It’s full of friendly staff, knowledgeable tour guides with lots of experience and some of the most amazing creatures I have ever seen.