With the magnificent water bodies around Weipa that make it an iconic fishing haven, it also means that predators including crocodiles simply can’t stay away from the area.
The weather is good and so is the seafood, making Weipa a great place to chill and stay put – and not just for people, but also for crocs. Unfortunately, this cohabitation of the lands doesn’t always end well and can lead to crocodile attacks such as the attack at Vyce’s Crossing in Weipa in January 2021 leading to the capture of a 3.6 metre crocodile upstream of the swimming hole.
That said, people are encouraged to report crocodile sightings in Weipa as soon as possible by calling 1300 130 372. Weipa falls under Zone E, the General Management Zone, of the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan. Given it’s status and historical past sith crocs, people in the area are advised to always be crocwise.
So what can you expect in Weipa when it comes to crocodiles?
For one, they’re highly unpredictable creatures and you are definitely advised to take precaution in areas they are known to frequent. In general, you should always expect crocs to be present in all waterways even if there aren’t any warning signs. This also includes beaches as crocs are very strong swimmers and make their way into ocean waters, especially at night. When by the beach, be weary at all times and be cautious around water at dawn, dusk and night, when crocs are most active.
There are crocodile traps set around certain areas and you should stay away from these. These traps are designed to attract hungry crocodiles which increases the danger given their hunger state. Interference with crocodile traps can lead to penalties over $15,000.
Where there are crocodile habitats or areas known to have crocs, avoid using canoes and kayaks, as the smaller the vessel you are in, the greater the danger and risk crocs pose. Crocodiles have a history of taking people from small vessels.
When fishing, it is advised to stand back at least 5 metres from the water’s edge and do not wade in to get a lure. You may wrongly presume that crocodiles are slow on land due to their big size, however you would be surprised at their speed being able to hit as high as 35 kilometres an hour. The average person runs around 15 to 25 kilometres an hour. But alas, crocodiles won’t get up to this kind of speed for long periods of time, and would not normally run for more than a few body lengths – often once emerging from a water body. This is why it’s always smarter to stand further away from the water’s edge to avoid any fast jolting crocs trying to snap up a meal by the edge. After all, crocs typically hunt for prey by the water’s edge.
If you’re camping by a water body, be sure to make your campsite at least 50 metres away from it and avoid leaving any food, fish scraps or bait near the water, campsite or boat ramp. Crocodiles, like all predators, are attracted to easy meals which then subsequently puts all visitors in the area at risk.
It is illegal to provoke, harass or feed crocodiles, not to mention also extremely dangerous as this kind of behaviour will teach crocodiles to associate humans with food.
If you’re travelling with a pet, keep them on a lead and away from the water’s edge as dogs and cats are attractive prey to crocs. Be sure to keep your kids away from the edge too, and always have your eye on them especially when near a water body.
High tide and heavy rains often displace the common habitat of crocs, meaning caution has to be taken in unusual places as crocodiles may move further upstream into new areas where they haven’t been seen before.
Where there is a croc nest nearby, breeding females are known to be quite aggressive in defending them. Be cautious during the breeding season which happens from September to April. Crocs are also more active during warmer months in the wet season, so more caution should be taken during that period.
Remember, just because you can’t see a croc doesn’t mean it isn’t nearby. These beasts are renowned for their camouflage techniques, and can stay hidden underwater for over an hour. Large crocs are able to remain completely concealed even in knee deep water, so caution should always be taken even if you can’t see them.
If you’re looking to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures while staying safe, hop onboard one of the Western Cape Eco Tours in Weipa.
When in Weipa, don’t miss out on the ultimate Catch & Cook experience at the Albatross Bay Resort. Featuring an offer anglers simply cannot resist, let professional chefs take charge of the kitchen and cook your fish to perfection served with a beautiful side of fresh salad and hot chips. An opportunity not to be missed.
If you’re down on your luck and haven’t got any fish to cook, head down to the Deck Restaurant & Bar at the Alby where you’ll be spoiled with an extensive menu covering fresh caught seafood to other culinary delights. Every Sunday boasts a divine Sunday Roast, while every Wednesday hosts Trivia Night and $15 T-Bones. There’s Musical Bingo on Fridays, while parmigiana lovers won’t want to miss Parmageddon Thursdays.
Call (07) 4090 6666 to reserve a table and not miss out.
Banner image credit: Cairns Post