Up, Up and Away
A bucket-list experience for many people, hot-air ballooning is both accessible and affordable in Tropical North Queensland.
The perfect conditions around Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands, including 300 sunny days a year and the most consistent flying conditions in Australia, make it ideal ballooning territory and entire flotillas can often be spotted drifting above the earth.
You’ll need to be prepared to get up with the birds though, as the balloons are inflated and launched as night lightens to dawn in order to take advantage of the time of day when the atmosphere is at its most stable. And of course the early start allows travellers the unparalleled experience of witnessing morning light punctuate the landscape from the air.
Captained by experienced pilots, balloons drift with the wind, their ascent and descent controlled by blasts from the burner. Suitable for all ages, including children over four, a trip typically lasts 30 minutes to an hour and offers the unique perspective of viewing bushland, creeks and patchworks of fertile farmland from above, highlighted by the first rays of the sun and the serenity of a new day. You may even be lucky enough to spot wildlife, such as wallabies. Don’t forget to bring your camera!