Darwin Heli-Pub Crawl

Beer. Helicopters. More beer. It’s no wonder you’ll find the Darwin Heli-Pub Tour at the top of even most locals’ bucket list.

This local included.

So, when we recently had the opportunity to tick it off ours, naturally we headed straight to Delaney’s and bought a new akubra just for the occasion.

When you’re about to go on the most outback tour imaginable – hey, you gotta look the part!

So, Akubra in hand we belt up for our three-pub tour (there’s also the option of visiting five pubs), which starts with a scenic flight to the first stop: Crab Claw Island.

The fly over is a feast for the eyes with incredible views over Darwin Harbour, its vivid blues flowing in twists and turns through luscious green mangroves.

Crab Claw Island Resort is nestled on a peaceful stretch of beach and offers a typical Territory style pub where you can unwind under the palm trees and savour that first beer of the day.

After soaring over vast bush land and mountains of termite mounds, we land at pub number two: Darwin River Tavern.

This place oozes outback, from the timber walls to pet buffaloes, but the menu is surprisingly extensive.

Fresh barramundi and wagyu beef burgers were washed down with yet more beer before it was time to head to the third and final pub: Goat Island Lodge.

This place is folklore in the Top End so we were itching to see it for ourselves.

If you’re not aware of the backstory, Goat Island, situated in the middle of the crocodile infested Adelaide River, is owned by Dutchman Kai “Happy” Hansen and it’s population is: 1.

Well, that’s if you don’t count Kai’s crazy dog “Hotdog” or pet crocodile ***eeeeep!

King Kai, as he prefers to be called, has an open bar policy, loves beer and a laugh and is THE most Territory bloke you will ever meet.

On Goat Island the pace is slow, the yarns are long and strangers quickly become friends.

So take your time, it is a pub “crawl” after all.

 

Darwin Heli-Pub Tour:

Airborne Solutions

 

Kakadu

With the Dry Season now well and truly underway, a weekend pilgrimage to Kakadu is as popular in Darwin as a market fresh mango smoothie for breakfast (NB: VERY popular).

Fortunately, our recent trip to the National Park was during the week so we were able to beat most of the crowds that flock here for a smorgasbord of Lion King-like landscapes, crystal-clear swimming holes, ancient Aboriginal rock art, magical sunsets and star gazing at the Milky Way.

About a three hour drive from Darwin, our base for discovering Kakadu was Cooinda Lodge, where I can honestly say I experienced some of the best service of my life!

Our Cooinda stay kicked off with the Yellow Waters Sunrise Cruise, which not surprisingly delivered an epic sunrise that cast an incredible golden light over everything – including the crocodiles! And there were plenty of those, as well as the most gorgeous water lilies and an abundance of bird life.

Out trip continued with a walk through Nourlangie Rock, home to some of Kakadu’s most iconic Aboriginal rock art, followed by sunset at the nearby Nawurlandja Lookout. This was the perfect spot to watch the colours of the mammoth Nourlangie Rock change with the sky. It was also a deeply spiritual experience with Nawurlandja an official sacred site home to burial grounds of the local Aborigianal people who lived there for 20,000 years.

The highlight of the trip was definitely Maguk Gorge. While the popular swimming hole wasn’t open to the public just yet, we were lucky enough to receive an escorted tour by local Park ranges to the top of the waterfall where we had several plunge pools and waterfalls to ourselves all afternoon!

It’s no wonder #KakadaDope became the official hashtag of our little road trip!

 

Adelaide River Races

Confession: Despite being Darwin-born and bred we had never been to the Adelaide River Races until this year.

Crazy huh? It is after-all an iconic event on the Top End calendar and everyone raves about it.

So, this year we decided to see what all the fuss was about and also to celebrate a 30th birthday.

We got together a big group, hired a mini bus then paid off a friend to be our sober driver (we’d heard camping gets a little cray cray so we wanted to head back into town for the night).

So, what was the verdict?

It’s quite hard to describe but it is quite literally like nothing you have ever experienced. It is extremely relaxed and laid-back – even more than the Darwin Cup and that’s saying something! But, unlike the Darwin Cup, we had no problem finding seats and tables and there was plenty of shade.

The vibes are very, very casual and the ‘cowboy-look’ seemed to be the dress code of the day. Possibly because actually cowboys attend…

Hence, for outfit deets.. trusty black ankle boots and a wide brimmed Lack of Color Spencer Boater (rather than a fascinator) were the go.

While the day is a fairly chilled affair after the sun goes down it’s a different story. This is when the band comes on and things get wild. Think: a country and western hoedown, but with Top 40 music and way more fun!

So our verdict is yes- the Adelaide River Races lives up to its reputation as a truly unique event – one you just have to see for yourself.

More info on the Adelaide River Races here.

Crop Top: Dion Lee, from Green with Envy

Skirt: Veronika Maine

Hat: Lack of Color