A hot air balloon can get you from one place to another, but this is not the point. Flying a hot air balloon is all about an extraordinary experience. Unlike an aeroplane, that takes you to your holiday destination, and a hot air balloon is very weather-sensitive. Ideal weather conditions are clear skies and cool temperatures with no probability of fog or rain.
Safety comes first.
Hot air ballooning is great only under excellent weather conditions. Pilots will not fly if they are not convinced the conditions are suitable and safe. The good news is that in Australia the meteorological conditions are excellent all year round. The months from January to March tend to be the busiest, but the weather is suitable for ballooning all year, and there is no offseason.
What you want on your ballooning days is clear blue skies. There is no wind up in the air. You will be affected by the morning chill and dew down on the ground, but you can expect to be somewhat warm when you are in the air. So choose your clothes accordingly.
What you do not want on this day is fog or rain. Moisture can be dangerous as the pilots cannot see obstacles, such as trees or power-lines. So your pilot will not fly if there is a probability of fog when you land. And the rain will make your experience dreary.
Most hot air balloon rides start at dawn, but catching the sunrise is not the main reason to set off so early. Hot air balloons take off at sunset or sunrise because the air temperature and the wind are usually the most favourable at these times of the day. Outside of sunset and light, the winds are not as calm, and the flight is more difficult to control.
Some locations only do sunrise flights due to specific weather conditions there. The ideal temperatures are in the first hours of daylight. Later during the day and in the evenings, the air temperatures get very high, and the wind conditions are not stable.
The wind tends to be calmer at sunset in some places and dawn in others. Experienced pilots have no preference usually, and are guided by the weather forecast and their knowledge.
Very often, your hot air balloon ride comes with breakfast or champagne, and if you do not enjoy an early morning drink – then a sunset ride is your best choice. However, if you need to drive to the launch site – you avoid the traffic if you set off before dawn.
A bad weather day.
When you choose a day for your exceptional experience, it may be challenging to plan for the weather. Your operating company will consult the official meteorological services and aviation forecasts from Air services Australia.
When your trip is cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, you will be notified the day before. The operating company will offer to reschedule or to make a refund.
You want to be on your hot air balloon ride on that particular day when everything is perfect. So let professionals take care of you and choose the ideal weather.