Ballooning is something that has always fascinated me. On my solo travels in Australia, I witnessed many hot air balloons floating gently over the most diverse and picturesque landscapes. So last week I was lucky enough to tick this off my bucket list and went on a hot air balloon ride over Melbourne.
Hot Air Balloon rides in Melbourne
Ballooning is not something you can take for granted. No, you cannot. There is no guarantee you can fly, and its success depends much on the wind conditions. So you may not know where they are going to operate this flight until the very last minute. The ideal time for hot air balloon flights is early in the morning before sunrise or later in the afternoon before sunset. I was booked into the sunrise hot air balloon ride, over Melbourne, between 6.00-6.30 am.
I had to check with the pilot a few times: in the evening before and early in the morning for his final confirmation. So at 4.30 in the morning the pilot confirmed the flight! How exciting!
Hot Air Balloon ride – where will the wind take us?
Our small group gathered at Pullman on the Park in Melbourne from where we went o the launch site. On the way to the launch site, the pilot pulled up to recheck the weather and wind conditions. He inflated a small balloon and let it float up in the air. From the flashing strings hanging out of the little box, he could see in which direction the aircraft was going, and this helped him choose the launch site as well as the instructions of our hot-air balloon flight.
Hot-air balloon flights – getting ready for the launch
As an outdoor activity hot air ballooning can be great fun if everyone actively participates. Once we got to the launch site, we were asked to help out with the hot-air balloon set up. We were 11 people, and we all helped out, so it didn’t take long to unfold the aircraft (it’s enormous). After the crew inflated the balloon first with cold and then with hot air, we were ready to jump on board of the hot air balloon basket (it’s tiny, but it feels safe). After receiving landing and safety instructions, we were ready to take off the ground. YAY!
Ballooning in Melbourne – it’s all about the experience
I was impressed with how smooth a hot air balloon ride is. As the balloon slowly floated up in the air, I hardly took notice of any movements. It floated around gently so that we could take in the fantastic view of Melbourne from the sky. Because of the wind conditions, we couldn’t get into Melbourne City and could only fly over the North-Eastern suburbs of the city. However, it was not disappointing!
My Hot-Air Balloon ride in Melbourne – the highlights
What impressed me was the profound silence that reigns up in the air. As we floated over Melbourne’s suburbs, it felt as if the buzzing life from the ground were muted. An entirely new perspective of the city.
We could watch the traffic on the expressways branching out and follow the Warrigal Road traversing the town down to the ocean. On that morning there were three more hot air balloons soaring over the same area.
We could see the green areas of Melbourne’s surroundings, with its many beautiful golf courses.
We could marvel at Melbourne’s skyscrapers silhouette, at sunrise, waking to a new day.
After nearly an hour of floating the sun rays started to warm up the places with brighter colours and we slowly approached our landing site. On our descent, we could discover more exciting sites from the air.
This is another great view over Melbourne’s eastern suburbs with the magnificent Port Phillip Bay’s backdrop.
We could spot the Spirit of Tasmania anchored in Port Melbourne as well as Caulfield Race Course closer to us.
Hot Air Ballooning – why the fun comes by landing
After about 1 hour of gentle hot air ballooning, we landed at Moorabbin Airport, in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
The landing was smooth, in the beginning, a bit bumpy towards the end, but we safely landed “sideways” on the ground, …it was unexpected, but it was good fun! 🙂
I was lucky to be the first to come out of the basket, so I was able to take photos of the rest of the group stuck into the cubicle. The sideways landing seems to be the standard landing 🙂
Would I go ballooning again?
Yes definitely. I loved every minute of it, despite waking up early and being in the cold for a while. A year later I was lucky enough to experience Hot Air Balloon ride on the Gold Coast.
Hot air balloon rides in Melbourne – how to book
The trip is not cheap. It’s about 400 AUD per person, but if you want to experience Melbourne especially then I would go for it. Our basket suited 12 persons, but there are larger hot-air balloon baskets to fit larger groups with 24 people in it.
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Disclaimer note: I was offered my hot air balloon ride as a complimentary flight from Global Ballooning. Opinions about my experience in this article are my own. Here you can see all my product reviews.
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