Balloon flights operate within a hour’s drive of most major Australian capital cities with the exception of Darwin and Hobart, where no balloon flights operate. When people think of ballooning, they generally think of floating over wineries etc., and this is true to a certain extent as there are balloon operators flying over the Hunter Valley
in New South Wales, the Barossa Valley in South Australia and the Yarra Valley
in Victoria. But in Australia you can also participate in a balloon flight over the Melbourne CBD
, the Hawkesbury
and Camden areas of Sydney. South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsular and Western Australia’s Avon Valley near Perth
also offer picturesque scenery for ballooning.
Hot air balloon flights also operate from Canberra
with flights over the capital city most weekdays and weekends. Canberra also plays host to one of the top four hot air ballooning events in the world, the Balloon Spectacular, which is a major event of the Canberra Festival.
Coastal balloon flights operate regularly from Bryon Bay
on the far north coast of New South Wales and the Gold Coast
of Queensland, 60 minutes south of Brisbane.
Some of the more unusual places to experience ballooning would have to be the remote Flinders Ranges
in South Australia, and the hot outback desert around Alice Springs
. Both of these locations offer a truly magnificent experience.
What to expect on the day of your hot air balloon flight
Balloon flights almost always take place at sunrise when the weather is at its calmest. Conditions need to be just right for flights to commence. Although the weather may appear calm on the ground, the conditions can be much different at certain altitudes.
Just before sunrise you meet up with your chief pilot and other passengers and head off to the launch site. Once there, its up to you as to how much you get involved. The balloon is laid out on the ground, the basket attached, propane bottles checked and the large burners on the top of the basket are ignited. Hot air begins to fill the balloon and after a short time it begins to rise. When the chief pilot is satisfied, passengers climb aboard the basket and you begin your balloon flight.
Depending on the package and location you can expect to be airborne for approximately 30 or 60 minutes. One of the first things you will notice is how quiet your flight is (with the exception of the sound of the occasional burst from the burners keeping you aloft). What direction you head it depends entirely on the wind! This is why balloon launch sites are never the same from one flight to the next.
During the flight your retrieval crew will follow the balloon and meet you at the proposed landing site. Once the balloon is packed away there is usually a sumptuous breakfast at a local breakfast venue (with champagne) waiting for you. It is there you get to discuss and relive the hot air balloon adventure with your fellow passengers.
Can you think of a better way to start your morning than with a hot air balloon flights somewhere in Australia?