It certainly was too deadly at the Mandingalbay Yidinji’s first Deadly Dinner by Night. This unforgettable experience left guests captivated, aided by the ambience of the full moon that set the scene for a memorable evening.

We set sail toward the Trinity Inlet, with the sun setting over Cairns as a backdrop. Host Dale Mundraby set our imaginations alight with the story of the crocodile and the stingray that form the shapes of the mountains we headed towards. 

Along the way, we spotted a huge a crocodile sunning itself on the banks of the East Trinity Environmental Reserve. At nearly 100 years old, he deserves all the sun he can get. When we arrived, we clambered off the boat in all our formal wear, drawing some confused looks from nearby fishermen. 

A short shuttle bus ride and we were at our exclusive venue where we discovered we were to dine in something they called the Croc Cage! A safety precaution, we were told, designed to keep the crocs out and the humans in … say what? Mandingalbay Yidinji Ranger Coordinator, Victor Bulmer led a moving traditional welcome and smoking ceremony. Local designer Grace Lillian Lee was there and said she was super excited to be ferried by boat to a secret destination celebrating the shared Yidinji Country.
“I feed honoured to be a part of the first Deadly Dinner,” Grace said. “I enjoyed every minute from beginning to end … I’m excited to watch the concept grow.”

The whole experience, inspired by nature, set its own style of rugged rough country combined with a touch of modern elegance. Complementing this theme, renowned harpist Natalia Mann combined her whimsical tunes with the sweet sounds of nature. 

From the traditional dancing performed by the children from the community to the outback-inspired food, the Deadly Dinner left me in high spirits. My favourite dishes for the night were the crocodile wontons and whole baby barramundi with tamarind served on smoking paperbark.