Review: Brisbane helicopter tours to six amazing country pubs

Looking for a unique way to explore the stunning countryside west of Brisbane? Join this awesome helicopter tour to six of Southeast Queensland’s best country pubs. Review: Adam Ford

Brisbane helicopter tours
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  • Brisbane helicopter tours to Southeast QLD's top country pubs with Pterodactyl Helicopters
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  • Last modified: December 27, 2017

These once-in-a-lifetime Greater Brisbane helicopter tours involve flying to up to six country pubs in one incredible day. A pint at each pub and a delicious lunch are included. The itinerary offers lots of flexibility and can be tailored to meet your specific requirements.

Tour name: Country Pub Crawl by Chopper
Runs: Daily
Departure point: Lake Manchester/Ipswich/Archerfield
Departure time: 9.30am
Duration: 7 Hours (approx.)
Inclusions: Flights, commentary, one drink per venue and a gourmet pub lunch

We Aussies have always had our priorities straight.

In country towns across this wide brown land, one of the oldest buildings will almost certainly be the pub. As I said – priorities.

In many places the pub will have been preceded only by the railway (thereby enabling us to get to the pub in the first place) and the bank (providing us with funds to buy the next round). And who doesn’t love a good country watering hole? Once the sacred preserve of the sun-scorched, working-class man, today’s pub must appeal to a much broader range of punters in order to survive.

Generally there’ll be good quality tucker (quite posh nosh in the case of the trendy gastro-pub), possibly boutique or craft beers, family events, live entertainment and let’s not forget good old-fashioned hospitality. What’s not to love?

So I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity of visiting six country pubs around the picturesque Ipswich, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley west of Brisbane – let alone a country pub crawl by helicopter. Excuse me? Yep, you read that right.

The Country Pub Crawl by Chopper is one of the amazing Brisbane helicopter tours on offer with Pterodactyl Helicopters.

Watch our video of this experience:

Country pub crawl by chopper – Tour the World TV

Looking to book Brisbane helicopter tours? In this segment from the Tour the World travel TV series, we join an amazing tour of five Queensland country pubs by helicopter with Pterodactyl Helicopters in Ipswich.

A beer at each pub and a delicious lunch are included, but note this is not an opportunity to get merry at 5,000 feet. Safety is paramount and there’s a limit of one beer per venue. These Brisbane helicopter tours are more about the experience. Pterodactyl Helicopter’s affable owner/operator Captain Mike Jarvis is my pilot, guide and chaperone.

We begin proceedings at The Peak Pub at Peak Crossing. It was built in the late 70s and with its besser- brick construction it’s not as easy on the eye as some of the colonial pubs coming up later. But step inside and you’ll discover a unique establishment full of country character.

There’s a corrugated iron bar, wooden beams and an eclectic mix of pub memorabilia and bric-a-brac. A sign on the wall catches my eye: In wine there is wisdom; in beer there is freedom; in water there is bacteria. Benjamin Franklin. Wise words indeed.

At the bar I chat with an aging Hell’s Angel with long grey hair and beard and a mean leather jacket. Both he and the jacket look like they’ve really lived. He’s keen to share his views on Queensland’s anti-bikie laws having staged a number of personal protests – not least of which involved a jousting stick and his Harley during the recent visit of Prince William and Kate. Apparently the police were not amused.

I bid my new friend farewell and we take to the skies for the next stop on these Brisbane helicopter tours, the Dugandan Hotel in Boonah.

The ‘Dugie’ was built in the 1880’s. It’s the quintessential county pub compete with VJ walls, corrugated iron roof and a wrap-around covered verandah. Inside you’ll find a fascinating collection of memorabilia covering the early pioneering history of the region. You could literally spend hours here.

Brisbane helicopter tours

Ipswich and Brisbane helicopter tours. Image courtesy of Scenic Rim Tourism

The Royal Hotel in Harrisville, another turn-of-the-last-century-gem, is our lunch stop on these Brisbane helicopter tours. The punters within have all turned out on the verandah to watch the chopper arriving in the back paddock and I have to say it does the old ego a world of good. It’s a rock-star way to make an entrance.

Here we enjoy an amazing pub lunch with a choice of chicken parma, steak sandwich, rib-eye steak and more. I go the steak sandwich and it’s sensational. Publicans Steve and Monika are absolutely charming to boot.

The Porters Plainland Hotel is another venerable venue on the circuit. Opened in 1914, it’s just celebrated a century. The pub is managed by third generation Porters, but the publican lineage stretches well back to Ireland in the 1800’s.

Brisbane helicopter tours

Ipswich and Brisbane helicopter tours. Image courtesy of Scenic Rim Tourism

At the Mulgowie Pub (the ‘Mulga’) in Mulgowie I get to have a beer with knockabout publican Simon. It’s a slow day so he’s got plenty of time for a chat.

Simon is an amateur boxer and shows me a YouTube video of a recent bout between himself and a neighbouring publican to raise funds for a local charity. Judging by his performance I doubt he has any trouble with rowdy patrons at closing time.

The Mulga oozes rustic charm. But as Simon tells me, the place needs modernising. The trick is finding the capital to do it. I hope he manages. It would be a real shame to see an amazing piece of history like this fall into disrepair.

Our last stop of the day is the Sundowner Saloon in Marburg – a mock Wild West affair complete with a garden of giant cacti and a rather incongruous giant Bundy Rum bottle parked out front. I wonder if any over-indulgent punter has ever done a double-take at the bottle and ended up in the cactus patch. Nasty.

Brisbane helicopter tours

Ipswich and Brisbane helicopter tours. Image: Adam Ford

As we take to the skies for the trip home on these amazing Brisbane helicopter tours, I know this is one Aussie touring experience, and a set of uniquely Aussie characters, that I won’t soon forget.

Adam travelled as a guest of Pterodactyl Helicopters.

This segment of Tour the World was produced by Late Night Media Productions, under a co-production agreement with Peppercorn Productions, publisher of The Big Bus tour and travel guide. Copyright © Late Night Media Productions.

Cover image courtesy of Scenic Rim Tourism


Adam Ford

About the writer

Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a Melbourne-based travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. Adam has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and the Middle East. He worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. He also appears regularly as a travel commentator on Sky News Business Class. Adam loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Piza or a home-stay in Hanoi.

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