Take to the skies to chase barramundi in a helicopter. On your heli-fishing tour you will see the Kimberley wilderness from the air, try to land the Top End’s most prized fish and take a dip in a cool, crocodile-free swimming hole.
By Steve Starling
What to expect
- See The Kimberley's twisting gorges from the air
- Fish for barramundi in unspoilt wilderness
- Cook and eat the day's catch under the stars
- Time: 4 days
- Distance: varied
- Transport: helicopter and boat
- Nearest major city: Darwin and Kununurra
The Kimberley Region has so much untouched coastline, rugged ranges and inland fishing spots. This is the home of the famous barramundi, a sports fish known all over the world, and found on many menus in Australia. Join the hunt for a big “barra” in Australia’s Top End.
Day 1: Lagoon pools, diamonds and Indigenous art
Fly into the far-flung East Kimberley community of Kununurra, in Western Australia’s north-east, where you’ll be picked up from the airport and whisked in air-conditioned comfort to your accommodation for the next four nights: Freshwater East Kimberley Apartments. These 4.5 star fully self-contained and serviced apartments offer a resort-style lagoon pool, free wifi and all the other comforts of home. You’ll be provided with breakfast each morning, Lunches, accompanied by beer and wine, are also included during your daily excursions.
Chill out by the pool with a cocktail in hand, or visit one of the town’s impressive galleries, where you can view and buy local and indigenous art. The Kimberley region is also famed for its diamonds – including the rare Pink Argyles – and there are a number of well-regarded jewellery shops worth browsing, including Kimberley Fine Diamonds which also runs tours to the Argyle Diamond Mine that produces over 30 million carats a year.
Day 2: Your heli-fishing adventure
Board your helicopter early in the morning, before the heat of another Kimberley day takes hold, and you’ll soon find yourself flying low over a constantly changing landscape of ochre-red cliffs, sunbaked plains and twisting river gorges.
You’ll spend up to two hours in total in the air today, fishing up to three different locations accessible only by helicopter – your pilot/guide will know where the best barramundi are lying in wait. You can also cool off with a dip in crystal clear waters, well beyond the range of the saltwater crocodiles you’ve been spotting from the chopper.
If you’ve been successful (and most visitors are), you’ll be returning with fresh barramundi to barbecue beside the pool at your Freshwater East Kimberley apartment, all expertly cleaned and filleted by your pilot.
Day 3: A lazy river and a monster barra
Today, for a change of pace, you’ll swap your helicopter for a boat, joining the expert crew of HeliSpirit to cruise the lower Ord River. This waterway is home to some of the largest estuarine crocodiles on earth and also some of the heftiest barramundi you’ll find.
After returning from your river tour, soak in your own outdoor shower or lounge by the shaded pool and take in the vast sky and resident birds and geckos.
Day 4: One last chopper ride
Your final day in Kununurra and the East Kimberley includes another half day of helifishing, with up to 90 minute’s air-time and visits to at least two different fishing spots.
If you are travelling with a non-fisher, there’s plenty for them to do in and around Kununurra while you’re out casting lines, including a range of organised cultural and wildlife tours, or they may wish join you for one last moment of helifishing, simply to enjoy the spectacular scenery and wildlife as well as the buzz of the chopper ride.
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