Avoiding crocs and crossing creeks is part of the journey to the Cobourg Peninsula at the tip of Australia’s Northern Territory, where the land’s original owners, the Indigenous Arrarrkbi people, still protect these remote, rugged, precious wetlands.

“This is prime croc territory,” my guide Dave tells me. If we were standing back from the water’s edge, this wouldn’t be too much of a problem. But when you’re already in the water, this news isn’t entirely comforting.

Head up to the Cobourg Peninsula as the wet season turns to the dry, and you’re probably going to have to drive through a lot of water. The creeks and rivers that make Arnhem Land inaccessible for several months of the year are beginning to retreat, but they’re still very much flooding the roads. Driving through, even in a Landcruiser built to withstand all manner of rough treatment, is a rather nervy experience—especially when the water comes to just below the windows.

Getting there is a challenge in itself. It involves passing through Kakadu National Park, taking on Arnhem Land’s bogged, cracked and corrugated dirt roads, then veering towards the Arafura Sea at the Northern Territory’s most northerly extremity. Special permits are required to even attempt it, and, once there, it’s hardly surprising that the feeling of true wilderness kicks in almost instantly.