Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Adelaide River NT

Adelaide River

Postcode: 0846

Adelaide River is a town where the Stuart Highway crosses the Adelaide River in the Northern Territory of Australia. At the 2001 census, Adelaide River had a population of 229. It is renowned for the fresh barramundi served at the hotel on the banks of the river.

During World War II, there were up to 30,000 Australian and United States soldiers based near the town. There is a war cemetery near the town in which many of those who died during the Japanese bombing of Darwin in WW2 are buried.

The town of Adelaide River grew up as a convenient stopover point between Katherine and Darwin. Both the Stuart Highway and the North Australia Railway run through the tiny settlement, although the railway hasn’t operated since 1976.

Today the river offers one of the best cruises in the Territory. At a point where the Arnhem Highway crosses the river the Adelaide River Queen tours do a brisk trade. The ‘gimmick’ is that the crew feed the crocodiles along the river. The crocodiles have become used to this free feed and will actually swim out to the boat. The crocs jump (they have been known to lift themselves right out of the water) for pieces of meat which are lowered on rods from the side of the boat.

The muddy Adelaide River is a typical tidal river and crocodiles from babies to a real giant of a creature which has been named Marrakai abound on its muddy shores. As well it is common to see buffalos, jabirus, sea eagles, kites, snakes and a variety of other wildlife during the tour. Thus it is as good as any of the river tours offered within nearby Kakadu National Park.