What to do in Darwin on a rainy grey day? Going up in a Helicopter is perhaps not one’s first choice. It is the rainy season here. With that said, perhaps it was optimistic to think I could do a scheduled Heli Pub Crawl.
Yes this is what you think! Five remote pubs accessed via helicopter – spread out over 250 miles – lasting much of the day. Meeting locals, meeting characters and perhaps making some new friends. Oh and enjoying great beer. Conveniently, the chopper lands right next to each pub. At another pub, it lands within a bamboo forest on an island – surrounded by crocodile infested waters, oh yea!
However, this crawl just was not to be – with the weather not cooperating, a scenic fly over of Darwin was our only option. Waiting for a weather window of opportunity – we headed out to the airport mid morning. Grant, our pilot met us near the tarmac and we were soon airborne. Grant told us he has dreamed of flying since he was three years old and now enjoys flying people all over the Northern Territory.
Getting clearance from Darwin International Airport we cruised several hundred feet up (doors off in the front for optimal viewing) – straight over the runways heading right for the downtown. This flight gave us a great perspective of how isolated Darwin is. For such a small city (120,000 people), the core is fairly well built up. Bushland creeps right up to the edge of the city and spreads out as far as the eye can see. This time of year it is all green.
The famous Ghan (train) ends on the outside of Darwin and runs the spine of Australia down to Melbourne – nearly 3,000 kilometers to Adelaide in the south. I look forward to taking a good majority of this train in a week or so. Cruising over this railway terminus we soon reached what is a major LNG construction site – an onshore processing facility is being built for oil and gas to be piped in some 900km away on the ocean bed from offshore oil and gas fields. While large, the size of the project pales in comparison to the massive Exxon project we saw last year while touring around Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
The weather then started to close in around us – rain came and the cloud layer dropped. We landed in showers and soon after the clouds opened up and poured rain – so common this time of year.
In addition to their infamous pub crawl, Airborne Solutions offers a number of other tour options including Heli fishing – but really if you are going to take a helicopter ride, the Heli Pub Crawl is by far the coolest and most unique option they offer!
Visit their main site here: www.airbornesolutions.com.au
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