Matt and Kaia Wright are exploring the Australian outback, a task they say would not have been possible without opening that door so many years ago.
Their new Netflix show, “Wild Croc Territory,” features Matt and his team as they explore the Australian outback, looking to catch and relocate crocodiles and other dangerous animals living in the bush.
While speaking with Fox News Digital, Matt said he was proud of the comparison to Irwin and thankful for the work he did in the past, which made it possible for him to pursue his own dreams.
“The only person to compare me to is pretty much Steve Irwin and Bear Grylls,” Matt said. “What Steve did to pave the way for Australian outback shows and crocodiles, and showcasing Australia in a fantastic way, his legacy is he’s got to always live on.”
Matt understands the comparison, saying since they are “both Aussies and [they] both have caught crocs,” people see them as one and the same, and he feels “it’s unfortunate that he’s not around to have a chat” about their mutual admiration for wildlife.
While he enjoys the comparison to Irwin, he also wants to make it clear that he is not trying to copy what Irwin did and that his show will be different, noting that his show also features elements of ranch life.
“We are totally different people and what we do up in the territory,” he said. “It’s still in it, but it’s also got a lot of elements of just the station life, cattle stations and … ranch life. Living, mustering, rounding up cattle and bull-catching.”
Although their interests aligned, Matt and Irwin weren’t able to meet before Irwin’s passing in 2006 following an accident while filming in the Great Barrier Reef in which he was pierced in the chest by a stingray barb.
“I never actually did meet Steve,” he said. “I was always up, up north, chasing cars around the bush out there. He was over in Queensland.”
The Wrights are excited for their show to premiere and to continue to showcase Australia and expose its beauty to the rest of the world. The show involves the whole family, with Kaia and the couple’s 3-year-old son, Banjo, also getting in on the action.
“This is the first time that he’s brought the family along for the adventure,” Kaia said. “One crocodile that we caught … Banjo happened to be there, and he was amazing. He was only 2 at the time and set up on the bank and watched Matt and I pull this monster crocodile out of a lagoon. … I think for people to watch that, it is pretty surreal because that’s our life.”
Kaia promised that there is something in the show for everyone, as the whole family is involved in the show rather than it just featuring “boys having outback adventures.”
When it comes to including their young son in their adventures, Matt and Kaia say that although some would argue they are putting their son in danger, they would say its about teaching their son to love and respect nature rather than be afraid of it. They emphasize that he knows to be careful around animals and never approaches them with aggression.
“As a human race, we’re losing touch with the natural world,” Matt said. “I’ve grown up with it and growing up with the really enjoying what the natural world has to offer. It’s something that we’re losing. We like to try and keep alive and having kids interact and touch and be around animals, education, to look after the environment and the animals that live within them.”
“Definitely about education for us, not fear, I think. [There is] such a difference between fear and respect, I think. And Banjo loves his snakes. But if you say to him, ‘When are you allowed to touch a snake?’ The answer is always with Daddy,” Kaia said. “At least he knows the steps to take to be cautious and be respectful. He’s not aggressive.”
When asked about the scariest thing they ever encountered in their adventures, Matt and Kaia both had stories involving crocodiles. Matt once caught a 16-foot crocodile while in a 12-foot boat, and in the process of trying to figure things out, the crocodile pulled the fuel cord, leaving them stranded in the middle of the river. Kaia’s encounter revolved around the time she once jumped on a crocodile’s back.
In filming the show, Matt and his family were able to interact with the indigenous people of Australia while filming on the Tiwi Islands. He explained that they all tried their hardest to integrate them into their lives, and they in turn were able to learn more about their indigenous culture and take part in it.
“It’s really special to have them there,” he said. “I went out with McGee, a good friend of ours … and catching freshwater crayfish; it’s what life’s about in the adventure. We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of big cities and bad energies out there. It’s just free and beautiful.”
“Wild Croc Territory” is set to on Oct. 12.