Woman travelling around Australia accused of 'stupid' act in tropical Queensland

It's no secret Queensland's Far North is home to some of the country's deadliest animals. But that didn't deter one traveller from tempting fate.

The influencer pictured on the beach at Palm Cove and also in the water.
An Aussie social media user has raised eyebrows for swimming in croc country, in defiance of warnings. Source: TikTok

An Australian woman has been accused of playing "Russian roulette" with her life after taking a dip in the ocean in croc country — an act that contradicts the messaging from both wildlife authorities and locals in the area.

Tarlia Merau, who describes herself online as a "nomad" currently embarking on a "solo trip around Australia", uploaded a video to social media earlier this month in which she says she "couldn't resist" going for a "little dip" in the ocean at Palm Cove, north of Cairns.

With signs in place warning travellers that crocodiles are known to frequent the area, Merau acknowledges the warning but still plunges into the notably murky water to cool off as a couple of onlookers walk by on the sand and say "oh, you're brave".

According to Queensland's Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Croc Country — considered to be typical crocodile habitat — begins at the Boyne River south of Gladstone, and extends up the east coast and across the far north and northwest to the Northern Territory border.

Despite the warning sign (pictured) Tarlia Merau said she 'couldn't resist' taking a quick dip.
Tarlia Merau said she 'couldn't resist' taking a quick dip in the sea at Palm Cove, north of Cairns in Queensland. Source: TikTok

In the video, Merau said "this is something that I'm still trying to get used to", pointing to a sign warning travellers about the dangers of crocodiles and jellyfish in the sea. "I really want to go for a swim," she said. "But I don't want to swim with the crocodillies. Sharks no problem — crocodillies, no."

Merau then proceeds to plunge into the ocean and submerges herself into the water while recording.

"The water's so warm here," she said. "How could I not?"

Merau was clearly "refreshed" after the swim, which she said did not last long. "In, out, that was my swim." But people online responding to the video were quick to point out how dangerous swimming in the area can be.

"Nice murky water! Just the way the crocs like it. I'm not sure you understand how they operate," somebody wrote. "Now that's really taking risking it to a new level," said another. "Play stupid games win stupid prizes," said a third.

The woman's encounter reflects the broader trend of people recording "dangerous" acts around native Australian wildlife, something that officials have been trying to crack down on.

Last week, footage of a man pulling at the tail of a “timid” crocodile in an Australian creek sparked uproar after it was shared to an Instagram account which glorifies “bogan” behaviour. The unsettling clip prompted concern for the "scared" reptile as wildlife authorities look into the origin of the video.

In March, a desperate warning was issued against what was described as "foolish behaviour" near the water's edge in other parts of Croc Country, with one repeat act carried out by fishermen blamed for attracting deadly predators to the area.

Fishers who discard fish frames and bait near boat ramps in Queensland's north, particularly around the Cassowary Coast, have been warned by environmental officials to dispose of such material away from the water after a number of recent close calls.

Officers with the Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) say they've received three separate reports of a three-metre crocodile "hanging around" at the Maria Creek boat ramp at Kurrimine Beach, waiting to be fed.

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