Meet the adventurer: Matt Wright

The adventurer and star of National Geographic Wild show Monster Croc Wrangler is no stranger to extreme conditions and survival instincts.Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Raised in the rugged Australian Outback, wildlife expert Matt Wright spends his days tracking down animals most other people would run away from. The host of National Geographic Wild’s hit TV show Monster Croc Wrangler, he travels to remote areas to help relocate problem animals — including crocodiles, deadly snakes and polar bears — that might otherwise be killed. With the series having recently returned to our screens for its fourth season, we sit down with Matt to chat about his adventures. 

Tell us about your first adventure
It would have been in my younger years with one of my mates, Jono, who I grew up with. We used to just walk the hills looking for scorpions and snakes. I once brought home three eastern browns; they’re only little so I hadn’t realised they were one of the deadliest snakes in the world. We got into all sorts of trouble.

What does adventure mean to you?
For me, adventures are being in the Outback and flying in choppers. We might go to some remote water holes, swimming holes or waterfalls and camp there for the night. Getting to explore around those parts is a pretty nice adventure for me. 

Tell us about the most interesting person you’ve met
I reckon the most interesting people I’ve met are Petronel Nieuwoudt and her partner Chris, who run the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary in Africa. They fight for the wildlife and have such a positive outlook on life. They’re definitely some of the most influential people in my life. They’re just always happy no matter what. Even when rhinos get slaughtered — the noses cut off by poachers — and they have to rescue the little ones, they still stay positive. Of everyone I’ve met, they really know how to live. 

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve been given?
If you don’t stuff up, you don’t learn — and you’re not trying if you don’t fail. One of my bosses said that to me many years ago.

What’s your favourite piece of kit, and why?
My belt, my Leatherman and a knife.  A Leatherman is a tool that has a bit of everything — a little blade, a screwdriver, pliers — so I take it everywhere when I’m travelling. I always have a decent sharp knife on me, too. 

What’s the biggest change we need to make on the planet right now?
People need to slow down and focus their energy on looking after the globe and our environment, and not on who’s going to be the next billionaire or who’s going to build the best high-rise. We’ve got a pretty comfortable world to live in and we need to keep it that way. We think the environment and the wildlife are always going to be there, but they’re not. 

What’s the most extreme place you’ve visited?
The opal-mining town of White Cliffs in Australia. When I was hitch-hiking through there some years back it was about 40C and the flies were out of control. It’s hard, desolate and pretty extreme. 

What are you most proud of?
Being able to have a voice and a profile that will hopefully make a difference to the future of our planet. I’m pretty proud of that.

How do you go about planning an adventure?
I never plan, otherwise it’s not an adventure. 

Where are you travelling to next?
I’m going back home to Darwin before heading out to Tiwi Island for a few months. We have more shows  of Monster Croc Wrangler kicking off next year.

Watch Matt Wright’s latest show, Monster Croc Wrangler, on National Geographic Wild.

Published in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Follow us on social media 

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Read More