Living in Darwin had many advantages. Abundant mangoes, incredible storms, a newspaper which only seems to put out croc-related headlines and a generally relaxed vibe.
One other such advantage is that it is one of the only places in the world where you can go on a pub crawl… in a chopper!
When one of my best mates Jassie (Jasmine) decided that it was time for her to leave the Northern Territory (NT), it only seemed fitting that we do something truly epic for her send off.
I had wanted to do the heli pub crawl ever since I arrived in Darwin, so when I mentioned it to Jas and Mads – they jumped at the idea.
Our day started at a tiny private airstrip near Darwin International Airport. We went through a few formalities, including weighing ourselves (nightmare) and deciding whether we wanted the front doors off or on (off, obviously) and before we knew it, we were strapping ourselves in and getting ready for takeoff!
We had to get clearance for take-off, but that didn’t take a particularly long time. I had time to take a few photos and in seconds, we were off, choppering above my Darwin home.
Darwin isn’t a big or bustling city by any stretch of imagination, but boy does it look good from the air!
That first flight was easily one of the most epic of the day. We saw stunning estuaries, ocean holes filled with turtles, plane wrecks and the beautiful red coastlines and blue water that this part of the NT (and northern Western Australia) are famous for.
In about twenty minutes (although it felt like two minutes at most) we landed at our first stop of the day – Dundee Tavern, located in Dundee Beach, which is a popular holiday spot for many Darwinites due to the beautiful beaches and incredible fishing.
However, I’ll be honest, we didn’t even walk down to the beach! I mean, this was a pub crawl after all, so our number one priority was downing brewski’s and starting the journey of getting absolutely – as the kids say – lit.
Three drinks later and it was time to say goodbye to Dundee and get back on board the chopper.
Our next stop was easily my favourite of the day – we landed the chopper on the beach!
Crab Claw Island Resort is a popular spot for weekend getaways, but as we did our pub crawl on a Thursday, we ended up having the pub and beach all to ourselves.
We sipped Matso’s in the sun (the best boozy ginger beer ever made), religiously reapplied sunscreen and got more and more drunk. This was such a bloody gorgeous spot for day drinking and I honestly didn’t want to leave. However, when it was time to go, we made sure to buy more drinks for the road – how good does drinking beer in a helicopter sound?!
Our third stop of the day was Darwin River Tavern. It wasn’t the most scenic, but we did get a fairly carbohydrate laden lunch, which certainly helped my ability to just keep on boozing.
Our fourth stop of the day was another real highlight for me. Goat Island is a tiny little island south of Darwin, sitting on the Adelaide River. A kooky Danish man named Kai owns a lodge here, and the scenery is just as unique as he is!
Case in point.
Case in point, again.
Despite Kai and his… eccentricities, Goat Island became a highlight for me due to some of the wildlife that call it home!
Let’s just say, this is certainly not the river you’d want to take a dip in!
Casey the Croc (no, I am not kidding) lives in the water just below the pub and has learned that she can get an easy meal from Kai most days. It was so cool to see, especially as I didn’t notice her at first.
En route to our last stop of the day we spotted a trio of wild horses galloping through the bush. I don’t have any photos of it, but god was it gorgeous.
We ended the day at Noonamah Tavern. It might not look like much from this photo, but they host a rodeo each year that is… rowdy, to say the least.
An old colleague of mine (who shall remain nameless) attended this rodeo a good few years ago and got so drunk that when she ran out of beer she broke into someone’s car to steal theirs!
However, when she woke up in the morning she found out that she hadn’t smashed someone else’s car window, she had in fact smashed her own.
That is a true story, and not even the most insane one she has from that night!
Our day heli pub crawling had been nothing short of epic. It cost a pretty penny (understatement) but I would (and will) spend that money again. As we flew back to Darwin, the views of the estuaries were nothing short of stunning.
If there is one thing you do when you visit Darwin – this is what it should be.
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Heli Pub Crawl: A full day pub crawl will set you back $990 per person and there is a two person minimum per tour. Each chopper holds a maximum of three people, but if you have more people than that, multiple choppers can go out at a time. For more information and to book, click here to visit Airborne Solutions
Crab Claw Island: This spot is extremely popular for a weekend getaway, to look into staying overnight (and no, you don’t need a chopper to get there), click here
Goat Island: If an off the beaten track fishing adventure is your jam, click here to look into staying with kooky Kai and Casey the Croc at Goat Island
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 lenses
Remember: Bring sunscreen, eat breakfast (gotta line that stomach guys) and strap yourself in for an epic day that you will never forget (no matter how much you drink)!