Hot air Balloons ride in Australia: how long it lasts and what to expect.

Planning a holiday means choosing some activities over others because there are only so many days in your holidays. If you have decided to include a hot air balloon ride, this day is bound to be memorable. You have made an excellent choice, Australia offers some of the world’s best hot air ballooning spots with unrivalled views and experienced crew. Now it is crucial to plan it right and fit it smoothly into your itinerary.

Plan.

If this is your first time on a hot air balloon – you might be wondering how long it lasts and what to expect. Expect a busy and eventful day! Your hot air balloon ride will be the main event of the day and will keep you entertained for four or five hours. The ride itself is around an hour long and is only a part of the experience. It usually comes in a package with an elegant breakfast.

As a rule, a ride on a hot air balloon is the main priority of your day. Usually, you set off before dawn, as you want to catch the sunrise. You start early, and you will be in the caring hands of your operating company for several hours. Jim from joinery Newcastle guided my wife and me through this whole process. He went on a Hot Air Balloon flight the other day, with a Hunter Valley local company.

Expect.

Hot air balloons take off in the picturesque countryside, allowing some time to get to the starting point. Check carefully when and where you get picked up to avoid disappointment. You then will be driven to your takeoff spot. 

Australia is famous for its delightful wilderness and vastness. And you are about to get a bird’s eye view of its untamed nature. Hot air ballooning in Alice Springs over the Australian Outback’s rugged scenery is an experience to remember. If you choose to go ballooning in the Tropical North, you get the majestic Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree rainforest. A ride over the Gold Coast will be a gem, with its sparkling coastline and spectacular hinterland. Or fly above Melbourne or Canberra, if you are so inclined, for the breathtaking sight of iconic buildings and picturesque Port Phillip Bay. 

Participate!

Wherever you choose to go for your hot air balloon ride, you are in for an extraordinary experience. When you arrive at your starting point, you can witness the final preparation: the crew will be inflating the balloons and checking all the equipment. 

The ride itself is smooth and enjoyable. The height you rise upon depends, among other things, on air temperature. The pilot and the crew have to follow specific procedures and guidelines, and correct timing is everything. The ride is usually between 45 and 60 minutes long. You get a stunning view from the basket, and depending on the weather, the balloon may travel up to 4-7 kilometres. 

It is essential to follow the pilot’s instructions at all times, especially during ascending and descending. When the ride ends – the experience continues. 

After you land, you get to help the crew to fold the deflated balloons. This is an integral part of the experience, and passengers have a lot of fun doing something unusual. This is not hard so that everyone can participate. 

The elegant part of the adventure begins when you are driven to a local country club or a hotel for your breakfast. It will be more than welcome after such an active start of the day! Ask your operating company where the breakfast is planned. Usually, they select well-reputed establishments within a reasonably short drive from the landing spot. 

You will have plenty of time to enjoy your luxurious breakfast and mingle with your fellow travellers. Enjoy the company of people brought together on an adventure! 

The experience continues…

After breakfast, your operating company will organize the return of all passengers. You can expect to be back around noon, as a rule. But please allow enough time for all the travelling on route. 

The socializing aspect is an essential part of the experience, so savour it to the last drop. And remember the final step in making it a remarkable experience: take your best memories home and share them with your friends. Storytelling is a big part of travelling, after all.

What kind of day would be best for your hot air balloon ride?

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. 

Ideal weather.

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. 

Ideal time.

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.