Helicopter pub crawl stops for pint on crocodile island

Helicopter company Airborne Solutions Heli Pub Tours is offering to fly drinkers 280km (170 miles) between remote outback pubs, stopping on an island regularly frequented by crocodiles.

The trip leaves from Darwin and costs 950AUD (£520) per person for a party of two to visit five pubs over seven hours, two hours of which are spent in the air. The Darwin-based company have been running the trips for 12 years after one of their pilots, an ex-publican, suggested the idea.

Managing director Clinton Brisk said: “I did wonder about mixing alcohol with flying. I thought about some of those outback pubs and the wild times that people tend to have in the Northern Territory.”

Thankfully people rarely misbehave, and if they do the company makes all guests sign an indemnity form saying they can be left behind if they’re not fit to fly.

In the last year, Airborne Solutions has flown 500 people between stunning pubs on Crab Claw Island resort (“you sit on the veranda and think you’re in Thailand”) and the Darwin River Tavern. On the way they can spot whales, sharks, turtles, dolphins and buffalo.

The popularity of the trips has increased massively since 2015, and they’ve recently been featured on a BBC series on the experience economy.

By far the weirdest stop is Goat Island Pub on the Adelaide River, which is only accessible by helicopter or a 26km (16 mile) boat ride. The pub and island are owned by Kai Hansen and regularly visited by neighbouring crocodiles Katie and Freddie.

Brisk said: “One of the craziest things I’ve seen at Goat Island is the little dog that Kai has called Dumb Blonde chasing a croc into the water and biting it on the trail. That happens regularly.”

The pub crawlers are mainly Australian with a smattering of international tourists. Though the majority are in their late 30s to their 50s, one 84-year-old New Zealander also opted to hit the pub via helicopter.

Airborne Tours have recently opened two new bases for the Heli Pub Tours in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

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