A Pub Crawl with a Twist
In Australia’s vast Northern Territory, grabbing a drink with your mates can be complicated. When your favorite pub is 70 kilometers away on a tiny island in the middle of a river, a little creativity is in order—and companies such as Airborne Solutions and Pterodactyl Helicopters have stepped forward to provide it. Both offer the ultimate in designated drivers via helicopter tours that include stops at assorted far-flung pubs.
Airborne Solutions' Heli Pub Tours depart from Darwin, the territory’s capital and largest city. “The idea came through one of the pilots we employ, who was a former publican,” says Clinton Brisk, the company’s managing director. Though Brisk was skeptical at first, the idea of a helicopter pub crawl quickly took off.
Customers on the full-day tour spend a little over two hours in the air and touch down at five outback pubs, usually raising a few eyebrows with each dramatic arrival. “At the Darwin River Tavern, we land right in the beer garden,” says Brisk. “It’s quite a surprise for the people having a drink.”
There’s more to the day than cold beers. Flying above the rugged Top End coastline, across abundant wetlands, and over the croc-infested Adelaide River, passengers often see nesting turtles, buffalo, and brumbies (wild horses).
“Our guests have a pub crawl in mind,” says Brisk, “but when they take off and the Top End opens up in front of them it’s a whole different experience.”
Airborne Solutions’ full-day helicopter pub tours cost AU$790 (US$583) per person for three people; larger groups can be accommodated using multiple helicopters. At Pterodactyl Helicopters, which also offers wine tours, pub crawls begin in multiple locations and prices start at AU$995 (US$735) per person, which includes lunch and one beer per venue. That’s the drink limit, according to the company, whose website advises that “safety is paramount…it’s more about the experience [than the alcohol].”