A day with Outback Floatplane Adventures: The Ultimate Experience

Are you someone who loves adventure, getting up close and person with the wildlife (including crocs) not to mention jumping on a floatplane, airboat and helicopter!  Then, this is the tour for you!

A visit to Darwin is not complete without experiencing the Ultimate Tour from Outback Floatplane Adventures!!

If I had to sum up day two in one word, it would be UNFORGETTABLE!!!

The highlights:

The equipment:

The amazing part about this tour is that you have multiple modes of transport! You get to enjoy the following:

It was an early start with the complimentary pick up at 06:15 by Di from Outback Floatplane Adventures.

Di was very informative and shared with us many stories, as well as a photo of a 5.1 meter saltwater crocodile called Sweetheart (we were en-route to Sweets Lagoon). Now I’m still not sure why the locals decided to call the croc Sweetheart, because it sounded far from it, this massive croc was known to attack anything that moved and particularly took fancy to the outboard motors, dinghies, and fishing boats. Sweetheart’s story came to a end when it was captured alive and sadly drowned during transportation – the croc is now a permanent feature at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

The journey (and stories) were perfectly timed and we shortly arrived at the airport where we met with Emma, our pilot and undertook our safety briefing before boarding our floatplane.  We were a little late taking off due to the fog on the lagoon! At the time, we didn’t really understand what the hold up was for, until we were shown this picture of earlier in the morning!

Before we knew it, we were on the tarmac on our way to our first mode of transport, the floatplane. Jenna was the designated co-pilot and had an unforgettable experience seeing first hand what it looks like through the eyes of a pilot. Honestly, it was such a relief that the co-pilot wasn’t asked to step in or press any buttons – Emma had it all under control!

The flight with Emma showed us some of the countryside and went for around a 25 minutes before arriving at Sweets Lagoon where the real adventure would begin! After a smooth landing, we unbuckled our seat-belts and hopped onto the pontoon where we were greeted by by our lovely hosts for the day, Leigh and Jessie, and sorry girls, but more importantly, the air-boat and chopper!

Check out our short video of our floatplane trip!

One of the first things you’ll see when you step onto the pontoon is this sign… and there is good reason for having it!

We then started our cruise up and down the lagoon while feasting on a scrumptious buffet breakfast, which included everything you would expect from a proper Aussie brekkie. The spread included eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, toast as well as peanut butter, honey and for the real adventurers, a jar of vegemite! There were also plenty of drinks on offer with tea, coffee, juice and ice-cold water.

While breakfast is being prepared we made our way to the rooftop where you’re able to sit and relax while you take in your first glimpses of wildlife and spectacular scenery.

Breakfast was done and it was time to go on the hunt for Otis in the airboat! Otis is the 5m salt-water croc whose territory happens to be around the pontoon in Sweets Lagoon.

When we got on to the airboat, we were given earmuffs to help block out the sound of the Custom Built 500 Horsepower Supercharged V8 engine!

The engine is mounted on the back of the boat as the depth of the water can be as shallow as around 10 cm and this allows the boat to quickly manoeuvre in and around the wetlands.

The trip took us over the wetlands and through the monsoonal rainforest. It was incredible, the scenery and wildlife is something you don’t get to see every day!

It was a heap of fun, especially when we came across Bone Cruncher! Yep, that’s his name… Bone Cruncher came right up to the boat and wanted to play a little game, it was then that we noticed he was missing half of his bottom jaw! He has been involved in a croc fight around 5-6 months earlier and was still recovering.

We saw some beautiful birds as we passed by, including white chested sea eagles and whistling kites.

On our way back, we came across the famous Otis. Otis is a monster compared to Bone Cruncher! He came right up to the boat and we could so clearly see his prehistoric characteristics.

Crocs have this ridiculous superpower where they’re able to launch themselves vertically out of the water and it was safe to say that Jenna had little faith in the height of the side rails and certainly a little scared, and by the looks of this picture I was even a little close for comfort and admittedly not keen to have Otis use my fingers as toothpicks!!

After our close encounter with Otis, it was time to head back to the pontoon where the next part of the adventure would take place.. the scenic helicopter flight over the Finniss floodplains.

Here is a short video of our airboat experience!

Sure enough, within minutes our ride arrived! We were told our pilot lives on the edge, and they weren’t wrong – a chopper with no doors!

So, of we hopped in to the chopper and started the most amazing experience – the scenic flight over the Finniss floodplains. It was such an amazing perspective and for Jenna, a little scary at times when we were just about on our side – with no doors! Let’s just say she held on the entire time! The look in her face in the below picture says it all!

Me on the other hand, had such a great time!

We landed in a field filled with Magnetic Termite Mounds. It is hard to imagine how big these are until you’re next to them. They were metres tall!

We then continued our scenic flight over the lagoon and saw some amazing sights… some of which are below!

Check out our short video of our helicopter fight.

It was then time to land back on the pontoon where we would jump on the airboat for an exhilarating fast lap of the lagoon. It was a heap of fun and if you sit in the front, you need to be prepared to get wet! But, in such warm weather it probably isn’t the worst thing that could happen!

While waiting on the pontoon, you also have the option to swim in a cage adjoined to the pontoon to cool off a little. You never know, you could be lucky enough to be swimming next to Otis! And, if you feel like a spot of fishing, there are rods for you to use! You could be lucky enough to catch a Barra.

Unfortunately the trip came to and end and it was time to jump back in our floatplane and head back to the airport where it all began!

Check our our short video of our airboat ride!

The cost for this was $795 per person for the half day tour and it does sound like a lot of money, BUT if you were to price up individual tours of similar things such as a chopper ride, floatplane ride, airboat and seeing crocs then this would be well and truly more than this! It was money absolutely well spent and I would do it again in a heartbeat and recommend anyone visiting Darwin to do the same thing!

You can book online directly with Outback Floatplane Adventures and the process is super easy. I would recommend booking something like this for your first day in Darwin, in case the weather isn’t favourable to provide you with the flexibility of moving the tour to the next day – this is the tour you do not want to miss!

To read more about our recent trip to Darwin and our itinerary, click here!