Yellow Water Cruise; is it worth it?

One of the most popular tours you’ll do in the Northern Territory is the Yellow Water River Cruise, which leaves not far from Cooinda Lodge, in Kakadu National Park.

Yellow Water Cruises
Onboard the brilliant Yellow Water Cruises
Crocodile spotting
You’ll see heaps of Crocodiles on the banks

Yellow Water Cruise Times

These Kakadu cruises run year round, with the dry season being the most popular by far. The departure location is different in the wet season, as the water level changes by around 4 metres and the normal pontoon that the boats leave from in the dry season is well and truly underwater.

Yellow Water Cruise boats
The boats used for the Yellow Water Cruises

They have tours that leave at 5 different times throughout the day. If you are an early bird, then one leaves at 6:45AM, and we saw 5 boats pull back in all full (so about 250 people who had done the 2 hour cruise). Sunrise is fantastic for bird watching, and of course seeing the sun rise.

There’s tours in the middle of the day, and then a sunset tour too. Crocodiles tend to be out during the middle of the day, and there are times of the year where you will see less early in the morning, but apparently late June they are out quite early anyway.

Big crocodile
A big crocodile soaking up the sun

What does it cost?

The one and a half hour tours are $72 per adult, and the 2 hour cruises are $90. Certainly not cheap, especially for a family, so you have to weigh your budget up.

Kakadu boat cruise
Cruising around spotting incredible wildlife

What do you see?

The cruise leaves the pontoon, and heads to a couple of different locations within the East Alligator River. The guides point out various wildlife, give you interesting facts about them and explain what has happened, and is currently happening within Kakadu National Park.

Jabiru eating a fish
A big Jabiru eating a fish

We had Will, a very passionate guide who’d been there for only a month at the time, who was fantastic.

Some information was passed on about the aboriginal culture, along with what changes over the wet season, how the animals and plants interact and a whole heap of other random facts.

Snake at Kakadu
A beautiful yellow snake
Amazing views of Yellow Water
Stunning views everywhere you look

Is it worth it?

We did the two hour cruise, and had a lot of fun.

We opted not to do the Adelaide river jumping crocodile tour, which I’ve heard is fantastic too, and did this instead. For $180 for both of us to get on (Ollie was free) its certainly not on the cheap side, and we knew that well before arriving.

Bird life on the cruise
Lots of ducks taking flight

I reckon an hour and a half is probably long enough, but we had fun, and would do it again. Getting up close to some big crocodiles in the wild, as well as various birds and even a beautiful tree snake was fantastic. This is a good introduction to snakes in Australia, amongst other wildlife.

Oliver was fairly well behaved, all things considered (which was good, as you’ve got no where to run and hide!). We learnt a lot about Crocodile Safety, and would do it again. 

We’ve also done the Daintree Crocodile tour, and this was substantially better (but much more expensive too!)

Toddler on the cruise
Entertaining Oliver took a bit of work
Bird reflections
Incredible reflections

Have you done the Yellow Water Cruise? What did you think of it?

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  1. Hey Tristan,

    Yep, everything up there is amazing. It is a great cruise though.

    All the best

  2. Tristan Nicolas says:

    This was one of the highlights for us during our trip to Kakadu (hard to think about what was not a highlight). On price, I must say that I had completely forgotten about it (compared to our budget, it was expensive) but I have a very good memory of the cruise, this must have been worth it 😀