What do you think of when you hear the word “Hot Air Balloon”?
Me? I think of a proposal in the sky. Okay, so I am a little of a hopeless romantic (or my friends would probably say that I am too much of a hopeless romantic) but I think flying up in the sky in a hot air balloon, overlooking the world (or a small part, thereof) is a beautiful thing. Doing it with your partner or spouse would be perfect, but since I have no one at the moment, doing it with your crazy best friend is perfect too. So this was my experience on the hot air balloon in Australia.
Of course, the more popular hot air balloon ride would be in Cappadocia or Norway but going on a hot air balloon ride in Australia is not so bad either. Especially when the weather was perfect, the wind was perfect and the hot air balloon pilot was more than perfect.
How to choose the best Hot Air Balloon Ride
My hot air balloon ride in Gold Coast, Australia was only paid for half. This is because my friend won an apartment stay which included a 30-minute ride of hot air balloon that we then extended to a 1-hour ride. Our hot air balloon ride included champagne for two but we turned that down, hence, we only had to pay AUD60 (original price per ride is AUD279) and we were assigned to BalloonAloft.
There are however, many other hot air balloon companies in Australia and some attached to the places you stay at. Just ask for the packages available at your hotel or hostel or apartments that you live in.
Time for us to fly
Our take off time is by dawn so that we can catch the first sunrise. Which means, we have to wake up at 4am where our ride will take us to our designated location. The location was not too far from Surfer’s Paradise where we stayed, it was about 20 minutes ride by van. We were picked up by the guys from BalloonAloft along with other passengers for that morning’s flight. There were 22 people riding the balloon that day – including the pilot.
The balloon was filled with cool air at first and when it’s half inflated, the hot air was used to further inflate it. Our pilot and his helper told us when we needed to climb in to the basket (when the balloon is 3/4 inflated) and what we have to do when the balloon is going to land.
It was a beautiful sunrise, I can tell you that. We got to as high as 6,000+ feet following the North Wind. I’m not sure where we went exactly, since we depended on the wind but we did fly above some pretty greeneries, some expensive houses, marshes and also a golf course. We were looking for crocs at the swamps but didn’t see any. Maybe the crocs are not out yet since it was still very early in the morning.
The scene however, when the sun started to rise, was the most beautiful thing you could ever see. It was especially perfect because the sun rose from where the sea is at and we can see the Skypoint, or the Q1 tower in the distant from where we were flying. The Skypoint was just about 15 minutes walk from where I stayed at Surfer’s Paradise.
The blue sky streaked with the color orange, yellow and light red that morning. The wind was kind to us, not too strong and not too slow. It was breezy and a perfect setting for love in the air.
After flying for a little more than an hour, we started descending to our landing spot. Our pilot was a very funny guy although not many caught up with his humor – probably because half of the people in the basket are tourists. He once again explained to us what to do when we’re going to get close to land, which is to lean on to the opposite side of the basket so that it will not tip over and to hold on tight, in case it does tip over.
The landing however, was a clean one, something I’ve experienced before from another hot air balloon pilot from Belgium from when I took my first hot air balloon ride at the Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Festival. A clean landing depends fully on how good your hot air balloon pilot is.
Other extras from BalloonAloft
There are a few packages offered by BalloonAloft, like the champagne fly that I mentioned earlier. There are also packages for photos and videos. All of us in that ride opted for the photo package which we had to pay AUD20 for. If you come in groups and would like to purchase the photos taken during that ride, then you only have to pay AUS20. The photos was sent to us via email.
Each person was also given a free certificate by BalloonAloft to show that we have flown up in the air in a hot air balloon. Such a sweet token, right?
So, would I ride a hot air balloon again?
Definitely. I love hot air balloons and maybe I would go for the one in Cappadocia, Turkey next. It is an experience and a view you will never be able to forget in your lifetime.
Hot Air Balloon Ride with BalloonAloft
Bookings and enquires
02 4990 9242
(Monday – Friday 9.00am-5.00pm, Saturday 9.00am-1.00pm)
+61 2 4990 9242
PO Box 62
CESSNOCK NSW 2325
Website : http://www.balloonaloft.com