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Hot Air Ballooning Over Canberra

Hot air ballooning in Canberra, ACT, Australia

We weren’t sure if it was going to happen, but if it did it would be the highlight of the human brochure weekend in Canberra.
4:20am wake-up calls are never fun… that is unless the person waking you up tells you that you are going up in a hot air balloon over Canberra!

Struggling out of the comfortable bed at the Diamant Hotel with just minutes left before we were to be picked up showering became a second thought as I donned my thickest winter clothes, despite it being late spring.
Meeting with the rest of the group – a mix of Human Brochure participants and regular visitors to Canberra – at the Grand Hyatt Canberra, we signed our lives away, ran through the safety cards and learnt what would be happening over the next three-hours.

With average wind weather overnight we were driven out of the city to test if we would be able to go up that morning, determined by the most scientific of tests – an inflated helium balloon being sent up to the wind gods.
With strong winds we changed takeoff spots and headed back into the city centre to Reconciliation Place – the perfect fit since we would be taking out the front of the Questacon building in a Questicon balloon just as the sun began to rise warming the earth, and thankfully us as well.

sunrise in Canberra before going hot air ballooning

Stages of setting up and inflating a hot air balloon

Setting up the balloon takes time. First, the basket needs to be unloaded; secondly, the balloon needs to be laid out, and thirdly, two huge steel fans need to begin separate and raise the balloon before, before finally the fire can be applied and it finally began to build to it’s real size – close to seven stories high! – and we were able to clamber into the basket for take-off.

Balloons Aloft Questacon balloon almost inflated in Canberra, ACT, Australia

the full balloon of a hot air balloon in canberra

Take off in and view from a Hot Air Balloon in Canberra, ACT, Australia

Taking off from Reconciliation Place was beautiful as the sun began to creep higher int he sky and another balloon got ready to take-off. Creeping higher into the sky, the Questacon building shrunk as we rose higher and the Australian War Memorial came into view.

It is from this height that you begin to appreciate Canberra and it’s beauty. It is a city that was purpose-built to be Australia’s capital after the long feud between Melbourne and Sydney over whom should have the right. Walter Burley Griffin’s design was to create a wheel-and-spoke design, rather than a grid, with the Australian Parliament House and Australian War Memorial situated in a straight-line between the peaks of the cities tallest mountains.

Aboriginal embassy in Canberra, ACT, Australia

But Canberra isn’t all about geometric patterns and central layout. It is the city where many countries embassies are, each architecturally reflecting their country – the Chinese with gardens and ponds and the American with their large imposing red brick and tall columns design; and of course the Aboriginal Tent Embassy – an unofficial embassy made up of Aboriginal rights activists.

National Museum of Australia, Black Tower/Telstra Tower, and Lake Burley Griffin from a Hot Air Balloon over Canberra, ACT, Australia

But it’s not just the embassies which offer interesting viewing for us as we drifted across Canberra’s landscape. The National Museum of Australia‘s interesting build design – something that we explored in-depth later that morning – was a highlight, as was the Black Mountain Tower in the distance – a viewing platform and telecommunication tower.

Seeing Australia’s Parliament House from above was also quite a sight. Something continually heard or seen through Media, but to experience it and understand that, unlike other countries, if I wanted to have a picnic on top of it I merely had to climb the hill and perch myself beneath the great flag.

Parliament house of Australia in Canberra, ACT

Hot Air balloon over Canberra's lake Burley Griffin

Riding in a hot air balloon always looks so peaceful, but it’s really quite a loud and hot affair as the bursts of flame control the height that the balloon flies at. After about 15-minutes I was toasty and warm, ready to strip down to a t-shirt though just minutes before on the ground I was freezing and contemplating how crazy I was to be out in the morning cold.

It’s also LOUD! Over the noise of the burner, the wind and being on the outside of the basket I could barely hear what our balloon guide and driver was telling us about the city.

Flying over Canberra's lake Burley Griffin in a hot air balloon

Hot Air Balloon shadow over Lake Burley-Griffin in Canberra, ACT, Australia

People watching hot air balloon

It appeared that it wasn’t just us that were excited to see a hot air balloon skimming the rooftops as a woman came out on her balcony in her dressing gown, and another family got the binoculars out to see us waving eagerly at them.

deflating the hot air balloon

Of course, all good things had to come to an end and after a very smooth landing in Canberra Universities field, the top was open and the process of collecting and rolling up the balloon began, ready for the next group to experience the sights of Canberra at sunrise.

Have you ever flown or want to fly in a hot air balloon?

Group Hot Air Balloon photo in Canberra, ACT, Australia for the Human Brochure

Huge thank you to the team at Balloon Aloft for arranging our VIP hot air balloon ride over Canberra!

horizontal lineDetailsBalloon Aloft Canberra logo

Balloon Aloft

Phone: (02) 4990 9242 or if overseas: +61 2 4990 9242

Website: www.BalloonAloft.com

Balloon aloft also runs tours on the Gold Coast, Hunter Valley and Camden Valley and can include a champagne breakfast!

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human brochure

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    cailin
    January 11, 2013 at 5:04 am

    I have always wanted to go in a hot air balloon! I was suppose to recently in South Africa but it got canceled because of the weather 🙁 Also the basket that you are in is huge! I always thought they were a lot smaller, there must be different sizes! Thats a lot of people in there all at once! haha

    • Reply
      Nicole
      January 16, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Yes, we were in one of the biggest baskets to fit all of us! The purple balloon had a much smaller basket.

      Aw, that really sucks about your ride being cancelled in South Africa. 🙁 Hopefully you will be able to take a ride over somewhere just as amazing soon though!

  • Reply
    Belinda
    January 22, 2013 at 11:35 am

    This looks amazing! I am headed to Canberra in Feb for the adventure weekend! I really hope they take us hot air ballooning (it isn’t on our itinerary though)…

    Amazing photos!
    x

  • Reply
    Monica
    January 28, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Looks beautiful! I’ve never been in a hot air balloon but I’d absolutely love to. One day! And in a country where it’s lovely and sunny like this 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole
      February 17, 2013 at 10:58 pm

      Hope you get to come back to Australia – heard that we’re pretty sunny most of the year 🙂

  • Reply
    Rachel
    January 28, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    I just so want to go up in a balloon – more than one as I´d love to go over Jaen/Granada, Andalucia where I live but also in South Africa and over the Niagara Falls.

    • Reply
      Nicole
      March 10, 2013 at 12:37 am

      Wow, what a great list of choices for ballooning! I’d love to do all of them – though I’ve heard Granada is meant to be one of the best trips. 🙂

  • Reply
    Diamant Hotel Canberra – Boutique Luxury in a Bohemian Setting
    January 30, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    […] The bed was comfortable, the quilts were light and the match lended me two nights of undisturbed sleep, with the sun shining through my curtain waking me up each morning… except the one morning when I had to be awake at 4:20am to go hot air ballooning over Canberra! […]

  • Reply
    IsabellesTravel
    February 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Wow, that is one big basket. I`ve been up in a hot air balloon twice, but it was always a small group (4 people and the pilot). How does it feel? As with the smaller basket, if someone moves, the whole basket shakes. Is that the same with the big ones? *curious now*

    • Reply
      Nicole
      February 17, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      I’ve never been up in a small basket so can’t really tell you much about the difference, but if we moved it shook a little but probably not as much as a smaller basket would. Was a very interesting experience, especially because we had a film guy with his big camera on board – so it was like playing limbo sometimes! 🙂

  • Reply
    Daisyfeng
    February 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Nice pictues, great experience. Were you afraid when you going up?

    • Reply
      Nicole
      February 22, 2013 at 6:04 pm

      I wasn’t afraid but people in the group, including my Mum were a little nervous though!

  • Reply
    Sam D
    June 24, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    I have never thought about hot air ballooning over Canberra!
    We recently went hot air ballooning over the Flinders Ranges over in South Australia its an incredible experience!

  • Reply
    Drew
    May 29, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    This looks so awesome!! Riding on a hot air balloon is high on my bucket list!!

    Let me know if you find yourself in Korea anytime soon 🙂

  • Reply
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