Photo highlights hidden danger at popular Aussie tourist spot
A photo of a seemingly innocuous setting in the Northern Territory only provides further evidence as to why there are fears another fatality in the area is just around the corner.
Cahills Crossing on the East Alligator River is famous for its abundance of crocodiles, and while there are many warnings to eager tourists to keep their distance, it can be harder than first thought.
Rob and Nat Stupka, along with their two children, recently visited the wildly popular attraction and learned first-hand why it can prove difficult spotting the crocodiles in the first place.
Observing the site from the newly-built observation deck, the couple, who are travelling Australia and documenting their journey on their Facebook page The Greying Nomads, spotted a crocodile navigating its way among the rocks running along the crossing.
It eventually found a spot to disappear into its surroundings.
"The photo was taken to show the kids the crocodile hiding among the rocks as they couldn't pinpoint it," Nat told Yahoo News Australia.
The photo captures the motionless crocodile's head just above the water, lurking incognito next to the rocks.
"It looks identical and the colour is exactly the same as the rocks," Rob said.
Another photo from the same spot but zoomed out makes it almost impossible to see the crocodile.
And while it was far from one of the busiest days for Cahills Crossing, which can see scores of tourists lingering around the water's edge, Nat said the location of a fisherman just metres away was "crazy".
'A tourist is going to die'
Just months earlier, a photo of a group of tourists casually standing on the crossing prompted widespread condemnation.
"A tourist is going to die at Cahills Crossing given the behaviour I saw yesterday at the crossing — it is only a matter of time," ABC Radio Hobart host Leon Compton told the public broadcaster in July.
Authorities from the Kakadu National Park, where the crossing is located, said they were "disappointed" with such behaviour, with the tourists clearly ignoring warning signs not to get too close to the water.
In September, video showing a similar scenario sparked alarm on TikTok.
Rob and Nat, who are originally from the NSW South Coast, said it was clear the crocodiles there had become accustomed to human activity and even crossing vehicles did not phase them.
"A couple of cars crossed and the crocodile just stayed there, it didn't even move out of the cars' way," Nat recalled.
New platform unveiled to improve safety
It comes just weeks after a new $3 million viewing platform was unveiled by the Kakadu National Park to provide a safer vantage point for the hordes of tourists who visit the site every year.
"Saltwater crocodiles are dangerous animals and have attacked and killed people at Cahills Crossing. It is not safe to stand at the water's edge," the park said.
Deadly detail in innocent photo as Aussie family cool off in river
"Safety around waterways should be the highest priority when visiting Kakadu and visitors should never be complacent around crocodiles."
In 2017, a 47-year-old man was killed by a crocodile while trying to cross the river on foot.
The most notorious death at the site was in 1987, when a fisherman was attacked and decapitated by a croc while wading in the water.
In 2019 an oblivious tourist explained to Yahoo News Australia how she did not know how dangerous the site was when she sat down in the river in a bikini.
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