Crab Island


Crab Island is in the northernmost Cape York.

It is a small island just off the coast of Jardine Swamps south of Mutee Heads and the mouth of Jardine River.

And it has got its name from the shape of it.


If you look at it on a map or a satellite image, what you see is two crab-like claws.


Why would you go out there is the remoteness and the wildlife, and it may be not worth the effort for all.

   crab island

But if you love the wildlife, 

   crab island pelicans

... there are the flocks of pelicans, 

   crab island pelicans

.. and at certain times of the year there is more :-)

   crab island turtle track

If you go during the 'build-up' season (which starts about in September and lasts for a few months, until the rains), it is the turtle nesting season, and there are turtle tracks all around the island's beaches, as the females have made their way to the land to make the nest and lay eggs, then return to the ocean.

   crab island turtle tracks

Green sea turtle is more common in a lot of other places but on the Crab Island it happens to be the Flatback sea turtle. This turtle breeds in many places in northern Australia, but Crab Island happens to be the most significant breeding ground in the world for this species).

turtle tracks  turtle nesting  turtle nest


And it is not to wonder then, that crocodiles have learned it.

   crab island crocodiles

During the turtle nesting season, Crab Island is a top place to spot crocodiles - what you see on the photo above are not logs!

   crab island crocodiles

They have learned that this time of the year there are lots of baby turtles walking out to the sea.

   crab island saltwater crocodiles

And they have all placed themselves in their way in the wait for the meal.

   crab island saltwater crocodile

You don't usually see saltwater crocodiles laying in groups since they are territorial animals.

   australian saltwater crocodile

They all come in here from their territories, and simply tolerate each other for the sake of the big meal.





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Bring to the Trip... the full Visit Cape York Destination Guide

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This complete 300 pages travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)



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