A POPULAR crocodile-spotting cruise down the Daintree River has snapped back into action as COVID-19 restrictions ease across Queensland.

Croc Express Daintree River Cruises, located at the Daintree Village, is now offering COVID-Safe crocodile-spotting cruises with social distancing measures in place.

It comes as the Queensland Government announced an easing of travel restrictions, allowing residents to travel up to 150km from their place of residence this weekend.

When travel restrictions, implemented in March, completely stopped people coming to Daintree Village, Croc Express owners Dean Clapp and Anja von Keyserlingk had no choice but to suspend river cruises, close the tourist information centre and pull down the roller doors of the Croc Espresso Café.

There was, however, lots of activity behind the closed doors. Dean spent much of April working through the Job Keeper paperwork and talking to his bank about a line of credit and staff were busy refurbishing riverboats, repainting the tourist information centre and cleaning out the storeroom.

“We have had to stand down all but one of our 20 employees but I’m pleased to say we now have ten staff registered for Job Keeper and the bank has approved a line of credit which means we can cover wages, and still have money to buy groceries and toilet paper,” he said.

“We made the decision to open the café for takeaways for the May long weekend,”

“We did have a few customers including a few who ran the gauntlet and travelled 55kms from Port Douglas to grab some lunch and enjoy a picnic experience beside the Daintree River.”

Croc Express usually offers six river cruises every day from two different locations along the Daintree River and owner Dean Clapp has already mapped out the next four months.

“We can offer COVID-safe Daintree River cruises,” says Dean.

“We can take 10 to 15 people on our 50-seat vessels and this meets the social distancing requirements.

Dean has been through ups and downs since he first started in tourism in 1986, making him one of the first.

He has seen the pilot’s strike in 1989, a fire 1995 which burnt almost the entire street in Daintree Village, followed by a flood in 1996 and the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-2009.

To contact Dean and Anja, please visit the Crocodile Express website.

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