The 54-year-old man was wading in a waterway near the Palumpa community in the Daly River region when he was savaged multiple times by a salt water crocodile on Tuesday afternoon.
At the time of the incident, the man was collecting food in a traditional manner at a local waterhole.
"He was not out swimming for leisure or being foolhardy, as some social media commentary has suggested," medical service provider CareFlight said in a statement.
"He managed to escape the crocodile and walk away."
The man was treated for wounds to the chest and arm at Palumpa medical clinic, about 230km southwest of Darwin.
Later, he was airlifted to Royal Darwin Hospital, as he suffered severe bleeding.
Darwin Hospital staff told NITV News the man is in a stable condition.