By Leigh O'Connor. Photos by Dr Roger S White.
With romance in the air, those looking for an extra special
treat for their loved one this Valentine’s Day can take to the skies and
discover a breathtaking world of beauty, from the wicker basket of a hot air
Australia is a magnificent country to explore from the
ground, add in a dose of altitude and it puts a whole new slant on the wonders
Down Under. Imagine soaring above the red soil of the outback, floating over
the coastal beauty of the Gold Coast, or the tropical rainforest and waters of
the Great Barrier Reef.
There are several companies around Australia offering
balloon flights, most include a sunrise trip with champagne and breakfast on
return. This can mean a very early start, but the stunning views and feeling of
flying above this wide, brown land make it worth the effort.
Let’s take off on a flight to the best destinations around the
country for soaring above the clouds with that special someone…
The thrill of ballooning is something that can’t be put into
words, becoming one with the wind and gliding quietly above the earth; this is
why the world’s oldest form of flight is also considered the most romantic.
I was fortunate enough to take a festive flight with Balloon Aloft Gold Coast during the
Christmas holidays and can vouch for the serenity, spectacular views and
peacefulness such an adventure provides.
Arriving at 3.30am is a bit of a challenge but as incredible
panoramas of the high rises of Surfers Paradise and the scenic Hinterland
emerge as daylight dawns, it is well worth it. We watched the sun reflecting
off canals and waterways and shimmering on the Gold Coast’s most iconic
beaches, creating a magical experience and unforgettable memory to last a
On completion, we were whisked away for a delicious
champagne buffet breakfast and picked up our personalised flight certificates.
For those not on the beautiful Gold Coast, here are some
Outback Ballooning specialises in remote outback experiences and with more than 30 years in
operation, it is one of the longest established companies in Australia. Operating
every day, weather permitting, the company caters for individuals and large
groups from its Alice Springs base.
Choose either a 30 or 60-minute flight, including sparkling
wine and light refreshments and soar above the Red Centre and MacDonnell Ranges,
while keeping the eyes peeled for a glimpse of local wildlife. Providing
impressive views of remote countryside kilometres from civilisation, see the
heart of the country from an entirely different vantage point and take home a
flight certificate to celebrate an amazing journey.
Only 75 km from Adelaide, Barossa Balloon Adventures is a
local family owned and operated company that has been soaring above stunning
wine country landscapes for more than 30 years. After an hour aloft, guests are
taken to a local winery for a gourmet breakfast, as well as a visit to the
cellar door to taste award-winning wines.
Take in the rich tapestry of vineyards and breathtaking
vistas of rolling hills in the background, while peacefully drifting with
clouds, as the sun rises in a spectacular reddish glow on the horizon. Don’t
forget to purchase in-flight photography at the conclusion of the adventure.
Cairns and Port
Queensland is the most popular spot in the country to float
in a hot air balloon and some days the skies around the Gold Coast, Brisbane
Hinterland and Cairns are abuzz with a multitude of brightly, coloured orbs. Hot Air operates out of Mareeba on the
Atherton Tablelands, inviting guests to enjoy a picturesque dawn landscape with
time to breathe in the wide open spaces.
Combining views of the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest,
take in some of the country’s top natural tourist attractions, in softly sighing
breezes and tranquil vistas. With one of the best suited climates for
ballooning, get the morning off to a flying start with a memorable flight.
Australia’s very first commercial balloon flight took off in
the Camden Valley more than 35 years ago, and Balloon Aloft still flies every weekend and on selected week days, over the beautiful and
historic Macarthur region.
A hidden gem, just 50 minutes from Sydney’s city centre, the
picturesque landscape and favourable weather patterns of the region make the
Camden Valley area an ideal flight location. Soar above the treetops in the
gentle early morning breeze, ascending to 2000 feet to take in 360-degree views
of the Nepean River and Blue Mountains, before landing an hour later and
finishing with breakfast and bubbles.
There are few major cities around the globe where you can
traverse the sky in a hot air balloon – drifting over the beautiful skyline of
Melbourne is a truly unique experience. Global Ballooning
Australia offers a peek at city life from a totally different angle, as
guests sail the breeze beside skyscrapers and follow the Yarra River as it
unwinds through parks and gardens.
For an hour as Melbourne below begins to wake up, marvel
over landmarks such as Eureka, the MCG, Port Phillip Bay and surrounding
suburbs, before crossing another wish off the bucket list.
For the romantic adventure of a lifetime, take off with Byron Bay Ballooning. This
seaside northern NSW town is a popular tourist destination for many reasons and
a spectacular sunrise balloon flight ranks at the top of the list for most
visitors. During the one-hour trip expect to take in panoramic vistas of lush,
green hills and Mount Warning’s volcanic caldera to the North and the coastline
and beaches to the East.
Flights run on a daily basis and a VIP private experience
for two can be arranged, perfect for those looking to pop the question!
Picture the joy of floating over charismatic Canberra
landscapes with a glass of champagne in hand, on a romantic and serene private
flight for two. Make this an exclusive experience, complete with bubbles and
chocolate followed by a buffet breakfast, for a special Valentine’s Day to
remember for years to come.
Balloon Aloft Canberra also offers group flights, where guests can explore the greenery and waterways
that surround the nation’s capital and enjoy sweeping views of the greater
Canberra region from the city to Black Mountain Nature Reserve and Mount
Ainslie. The city is also home to the Canberra Balloon Spectacular from March
7-15, when the skies are filled with floating splashes of bright colours.
Discover Greater Brisbane’s big backyard from the air,
drifting above the heritage city of Ipswich, the Scenic Rim and Somerset
countryside with Floating Images. Just a 30 minute drive west of Brisbane’s CBD, Floating Images is a boutique
ballooning experience with only one flight per day and a maximum of 10
Rise up over green farm fields, a world away from city
skyscrapers and be astounded by a majestic view of the golden sandy beaches of
the East Coast, while revelling in the quiet solitude of a one-hour flight.
Lifting off before sunrise, watch the Ipswich region wake up to a new day in
Most adventures encourage participation in preparing the
balloon for flight and helping with deflation at conclusion. Guests can be as
involved as they like, or sit back and swap tales with other fliers as the crew
packs away the equipment.
Ready to fly Up, Up and Away in a beautiful balloon? For
more adventure options click here.