"Darryl provided us with an informative, friendly and enjoyable tour of Darwin. As a long time resident of Darwin Darryl's local knowledge was most evident and given that we had lived in Darwin some twenty years before he was able to update us on the history of the city since we were last there. A good way to see Darwin."
Greg and Jennifer Willis
Read about this fantastic opportunity that Darryl can arrange. The story appeared in 5 interstate newspapers and is reproduced with permission of the author.
Chopper ride to the home of the barra
By KEVIN NAUGHTON
Take a helicopter ride at dawn, chase buffalo across the wetlands, drop in and catch a barramundi, and be back at your city hotel for lunch — that’s the Darwin experience done in style. The Top End is a big and beautiful part of Australia, and there’s so much to see that a traveller can fall into the trap of taking on too much. Kakadu National Park is a three-hour drive from Darwin and some of the great fishing spots take time and local knowledge to find.
Litchfield is closer, but you either rely on your tour guide or end up in the wrong spot at the wrong time. That’s why it’s useful to ask a local. It’s that approach that led us to one of the most amazing days in and around Darwin.
Around dawn we were picked up and driven to Noonamah, about 35km south of Darwin, where we linked up with the pilot of a helicopter. Most of his days are spent doing aerial spraying and survey mapping. Scenic flights are also a specialty, but only on the basis of fitting in with the other business.
The early-morning view was stunning as we skimmed across the mango plantations and towards the muddy, crocodile infested Adelaide River - if you haven’t seen one before, the pilot will take you close enough to see their eyes as they slip back into the water at the sound of the chopper.
Next is a swing across the Mary River flood plain and a run towards the South Alligator River. There’s abundant birdlife, luscious views of wetland vegetation and the occasional herd of buffalo.
The pilot dropped down to mustering level and rounded them up towards a water crossing, so close you felt you could lean out and touch them. A lone wild pig was the next target; he was shunted into the paperbark trees, where we lost him.
Next, we landed close to a waterhole about 40km back from the mouth of the Mary River. We hopped out, walked over to the edge and looked for any signs of crocodile presence before being handed fishing rods, each laced up with a colourful lure.
Five minutes later, the first barramundi was landed. It was too small according to the gauge, so back it went. The hole was teeming with fish; we cast to where we thought each fish lurked. Fifteen minutes later, the third big hit on the line was matched with the black-and-silver flash of a barra on the run. It ran left, then right, before slamming into the bank under a log.
I waited for a few minutes before it took off again, but this time, we were close enough to haul it out. At 65cm, it was easily legal, but we threw it back. Pack-up time was a minute or so, then back into the chopper and another ride back to the hangar. There were thanks and handshakes all round, and we drove back to Darwin.
Back by the hotel pool at 12.30pm, we'd done it all in half a day - just by asking a local.
Darryl Window runs private hire cars and arranges tours tailored to your needs and time. Phone 0417 832 836, www.askdarryl.com.au or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org