Crocodiles at Cape Leveque

by Greg Grehan
(Brisbane, Queensland)

"Swimming Beach" at Cape Leveque

Contrary to what is written on your website, the swimming beach at Cape Leveque is NOT crocodile-free. While staying in a beach shelter at the Kooljaman Resort there in May, a 2 metre salty swam past us at the beach at lunch time.

The people in the water got out pretty quickly and the temporary signs were hastily put up to warn tourists of the croc as the resort proclaimed this to be a safe swimming beach, free from crocs.

While the beach is probably safe most of the time, a well-known croc habitat does exist in the creek about 6km from Cape Leveque. Crocs do venture out into these waters occasionally.

Comments for Crocodiles at Cape Leveque

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Sep 11, 2007
Thanks So Much For This Update!!
by: Birgit

Hi Greg!

Thanks for this update!

For other readers: yes, Hunter Creek is saltwater crocodile habitat. Visitors are informed on arrival that there are crocodiles at Hunter Creek. I also mention it on the main Cape Leveque page. Maybe I should emphasize it more.

Since saltwater crocodiles have been declared a protected species their numbers have been steadily increasing. Every male crocodile needs its own territory, so they always move into new areas where they have not been seen before. (The saltwater crocodiles page has more info on this.)

If the area around swim beach was suitable for crocodiles the crocs would have settled there long ago. There is something about the location and the currents that has kept them away all this time.

With rising crocodile numbers the pressure increases and such sightings are bound to become more frequent.

I guess this will mean monitoring and trapping of crocodiles that venture in the direction of the resort beaches. (Very common at many other tourist attractions across the north, e.g. Katherine Gorge and Kakadu.) The Kooljaman management will make sure that visitors can continue to enjoy crocodile free beaches.

Anyway, very interesting occurrence and update. Thanks for writing!!

Sep 14, 2007
It was certainly a surprise!
by: Greg Grehan

Thanks for posting a reply to my crocodile update so quickly! It was certainly a surprise to see one swimming past us at Cape Leveque's swimming beach! I hear it's usually rare to actually see them swimming off a beach. At first I thought it was a log, but it was cruising in the opposite direction to the current. Then came the tell-tale snout. I got a few pics, but they're not too clear.

The staff at Kooljamin had said that they had never had problems with crocs there either... just goes to show how things can quickly change!

Once again, thanks for the reply!
Look forward to my next adventures in Northwest WA...

Sep 14, 2007

by: Birgit

It sure is rare to see one there. I would be willing to bet that you saw a young male that had been forced out to sea by the territorial behaviour of the established males in the creek. Was probably lost and looking for somewhere suitable...

I doubt he would have caused trouble. I doubt that crocodiles will cause ANY trouble there in the foreseeable future. But, of course, just to see one is enough to scare most people silly. I don't blame them. Saltwater crocodiles are the only creatures in Australia that are truly dangerous, and without a very good understanding of their nature and how they operate you just can't be too cautious around them.

All the best to you and hopefully you'll soon be back for more adventures!

Dec 09, 2008
Crocs at Cape Leveque
by: Lynda

We were there in about Aug/Sep 2000 and the same thing happened then. They had said it was safe and then there was a croc seen at the beach. We stopped swimming but others were oblivious to the danger and they didn't erect a sign then.

Mar 22, 2009
Crocs at cape leveque.
by: Anonymous

I have stayed at Kooljaman also and the staff there when we asked about crocs said they had not had any issues themselves but did warn us that it is still crocodile country and that precautions should be taken in all areas around the Kimberley region. We were very cautious of the fact that crocs are a possibility in the area just as they are in main swimming beaches like Cable Beach from time to time. I think we were given valid information about the area by the staff and it is common sense to be croc aware in all swimming spots in this area.

Aug 07, 2009
Croc sighting on West Beach around May 10
by: Timmo From LA

I was at Cape Leveque in early May. As I was coming out of the water on the east beach, I wondered why they were putting up a sign. Apparently, they were warning everyone out of the water as two crocs were sighted swimming right off of the west beach. Fairly far away around the point, but as our leader pointed out, there are no fences in the ocean.

I braved it and went back in swimming later that afternoon; I hadn't traveled 10,000 miles to NOT swim in the Indian Ocean!

Oct 29, 2010
Stupid overseas tourist
by: Roslyn

You were lucky to be able to tell the story of swimming in the Indian Ocean. What if the croc took a limb, you would be the first to complain no doubt, or you could have even lost your life because of your stupidity in swimming in their territory.

Nov 18, 2010
Keep your panties on, Roslyn
by: Timmo from LA

The croc was seen on the WEST beach in the morning, they gave the all-clear for swimming in the late afternoon.

Jul 15, 2011
Auatralian dangerous animals.
by: Buckshot

Dear Birgit,

Are crocodiles really the only dangerous animals in Oz? What about stone-fish, cone shells, butterfly cod, sea wasps, funnel web spiders, taipan, king brown, tiger, dugite snakes to mention a few?


Nov 29, 2011
Photo of the Cape Leveque croc
by: Greg Grehan

Dear Birgit and all,

A photo of the crocodile I mentioned in my original post has been posted at

The pic was taken from the 'Mindo' beach shelter, Kooljaman on May 9, 2007.

I thought it was a log at first... one floating against the current!

Although the crocs are there, I still think Kooljaman at Cape Leveque is one of the best places on the planet! Although I might look twice before taking a quick dip again! :)

Greg Grehan

May 25, 2012
Part of The Experience.
by: Anonymous

Cable Beach was closed for several days because an old sick croc set himself up in the shallows and then mooches around to the mangroves at the staircase to the moon. The signs were put up and everyone knew he was around. What they mean is that it is not a croc haunt, however, filleting fish and throwing it in the water won't help. We looked on it as part of the experience.

Jan 09, 2014
Change the website then
by: Anonymous

Don't you think it's irresponsible to say it's croc free, but then IF readers follow a link they find out the truth! If it's not croc free don't fucking say it is... You're just putting money over lives, it's dishonest and I for one will not go to your resort due to this single act of selfishness on your part.

I have no resort and whether you go to Cape Leveque or not makes no difference to me. The beaches at Cape Leveque are considered safe for swimming unless resort staff advise you otherwise. You swim at your own risk. The Kimberley is crocodile country, so all the usual common sense measures should be taken, just like in any other swimming place in the Kimberley or northern NT. [The editor]

Jul 07, 2014
It's safe
by: Don

Sheesh you are sounding a bit panicky, I spent 5 years diving along Kimberley beaches for Trepand/Sea Slug. 6 months a year in the water.
Never had a problem with crocs, seen a fair few but they seamed to keep out of our way. However, I would not dive or swim in any of the rivers where salties hang.

Jan 10, 2015
by: ous

We loved our stay there but were warned of a salty hanging around further up the beach :)

Jul 08, 2015
Croc safety
by: Redbeard

It's croc country and although it may only have a croc pass through once in a blue moon, everyone should be aware that it's croc country and exercise safe measures ie have a good look around before entering the water, have a spotter watching out, don't go out to far, don't go out if the water isn't clear enough to see a croc from a long way out to prevent yourself or others becoming part of the food chain.

Jul 05, 2016
Pecunary Priorities
by: TT

I'm afraid I have to agree with the "Change the website then" post by 'Anonymous'.
This is flagrant 'false advertising', but more importantly it's highly irresponsible and could put someone's life at risk.
It was only by chance that I read the 'update on crocodiles at Cape Leveque, submitted by a reader' as in general I have little faith in public opinion as compared to what should be the expert advice of locals.
However, in this case it could be a grave mistake.
It also makes me wonder how much science there is behind their other claim that there are no stingers in the area.
To make this worse the admission that the advice on the website, which is written in bold, is wrong but their continued refusal to change it can only, as suggested, lead one to believe that Kimberley Australia is more interested in misrepresenting the truth (to create a false sense of security so they don't discourage any customers from coming) than they are in their customers' well being, ie as Anonymous said 'putting money over lives'.
This is a great shame as it is contrary to my experience with other of the other operators I have dealt with in the Kimberly.
I can only hope that they reconsider their position and delete this false claim.

I am no operator, I have no resort, I have no customers, and it makes no difference to me if anyone goes up there or not.

The beaches at Cape Leveque are considered safe for swimming unless resort staff advise you otherwise. You still swim at your own risk. Just like you do in other famous places like Kakadu, which was mentioned below.

The Kimberley is crocodile country, so all the usual common sense measures should be taken, just like in any other swimming place in the Kimberley or Top End. More at this page. [The editor]

Aug 03, 2017
Crocs at Cape Leveque
by: Anonymous

Don't trust swimming in Middle Lagoon either. I had a big salty swim straight for me. I was standing in shallow water near the boat launch area when my hubby seen him surface out near a buoy. He went down and in no time at all I seen a shadow under the water I didn't recall seeing before, it was him. He slowly cruised right along the shallows where I was standing. Had hubby not seen him surface I would not of known it was a croc and may not be here today's. They say it is safe swimming there. I worry for small children playing in the shallows.

Aug 28, 2018
Take Responsibility
by: Daz

I just spent 3 nights at Leveque and one at Middle Lagoon. Did a tour with Brian Lee to Hunter Creek where Brian explained there was a resident saltie. We swam in the clear ocean water and clear part of the creek - Brian explained salties like to ambush and don't generally do this in clear water without cover. Nevertheless a risk we knew we were taking given we were in croc country.
One essentially takes responsibility for their own swimming decisions here, regardless of sentiments or proclamations that it may be safe or otherwise - any other approach is to pass the blame for your actions onto the next bloke!

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