Australia is a beautiful enough country to visit on the ground, however add a dose of altitude and seeing it from above becomes something else.
As a result, hot air balloon flights around the country have become a pivotal experience for tourists and locals looking to admire this gorgeous country from an entirely different perspective.
Here we highlight 10 of the top ballooning destinations around Australia that showcase the country’s diversity and outline the wonderful sights you will see from high above.
10. Ipswich, QLD
The Company: Floating Images
The Prices: Adults $325 / Children $275
Located just a 45 minute drive from Brisbane, Ipswich is often overlooked as a tourist destination. However, not only is the town/city quite historic, its hot air ballooning opportunities are something to admire as well. Rising over green farming fields that stretch out as far as the eye can see, the serenity on offer here is simply amazing.
A world away from the concrete jungle of Brisbane, you will feel as though you’re floating over a different world as the “other” side of Queensland is shown off in fine form. With contrasting views to the more typical golden sandy beaches of the entire east coast, Ipswich ballooning is a great adventure for those looking to see the farming backbone that is regional Queensland at work.
With the help of the local ballooning pilot you’ll be able to admire areas such as the Great Dividing Range in the distance, the Little Liverpool Range, Glamorgan Vale and the Marburg Valley to name a few.
Flights lift off 40 minutes before sunrise so you can watch the Ipswich region peacefully wake up on a new day in beautiful Queensland. The flight duration is around 1 hour and come the conclusion, you’ll be treated to a delicious breakfast at a local restaurant. Riders are advised to allow between three and four hours to complete the entire experience which includes participating in the inflation and deflation of the balloon.
The Company: Balloon Aloft
The Prices: $330 per person
Australia’s capital is surrounded by greenery and waterways, making it a joy to explore – and with a hot air balloon flight you can see the city and its surrounding regions from the best seat in the house. This is one of the only places in the world where you can take to the skies and regularly float in a hot air balloon over a country’s capital.
Before take off riders are given the opportunity to assist the crew with the setup of the balloon, or you can simply take a step back and watch the professionals do what they do best. The flight will rise up to heights of around 2000 feet and will provide you with sweeping views of the greater Canberra region from the city to Black Mountain Nature Reserve, Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve and Molonglo Nature Reserve to name a few.
Ballooning is ingrained into the city’s culture as well – it’s home to an annual spectacle named the Canberra Balloon Spectacular which sees dozens of the inflatable devices adding a wonderful splash of colour to the skies.
If you’re looking to try your own hand at ballooning, flights here lift off before sunrise from the Canberra Hyatt in Yarralumla and last from 45 minutes to an hour. Come the conclusion of the flight you’ll receive a commemorative flight certificate and enjoy a celebratory glass of champagne.
The Company: Byron Bay Ballooning
The Prices: Adults $350 / Children $175 / VIP Flight for 2 $1895
Long one of the most popular experiences in Byron Bay, hot air ballooning in this New South Wales region is a definite must for those who like varied landscapes. If you’re chasing a combination of views that include luscious greenery as well as a rugged coastline then Byron Bay is the ideal place for you to take flight. With mixed views of the luscious Hinterland, Mt Warning area and the gorgeous beaches, ballooning in Byron Bay provides some incredible views you won’t want to miss.
Flights usually last around an hour however the whole experience takes around 4 hours to complete. Once you’ve landed after your breathtaking flight you’ll be treated to a champagne breakfast with the likes of muffins, quiche, cereal, toast, fruit, tea and coffee to enjoy.
In addition to the basic balloon flights, Byron Bay Ballooning offers a VIP private balloon flight for two. This exclusive adventure provides flyers with hotel transfers, a private flight, a CD of inflight photos and a gourmet champagne breakfast at Victoria’s, a five star guesthouse. This is an ideal setting for a romantic outing and the perfect place if you’re looking to pop the question.
Flights run on a daily basis and depending on your group size you can be ushered into the small basket which fits two to five people or the large basket for 10 to 13 people. Byron Bay is a popular tourist destination for many reasons and adding a hot air balloon flight to your itinerary will help make it even more of a memorable holiday.
The Company: Global Ballooning Australia
The Prices: Adults $440 ($470 with breakfast) / Children $340 ($355 with breakfast)
Riding in a hot air balloon flight is an experience unlike any other – and doing so over Australia’s second-largest city is the icing on the cake. There aren’t many cities in Australia (or the entire world) where one can fly in a hot air balloon directly over the city so close to the CBD; it’s what makes this experience one of the top ballooning adventures in Australia.
Providing sweeping views of the glistening city and Yarra River at sunrise, this is a flight in which you’ll want to make sure you bring your camera. Journeying away from the basic beaches and parklands that many other flight paths follow, this adventure will take you over the likes of the MCG, Melbourne Park and Albert Park racetrack.
If you’re a visitor to the region this is a great way to see some of Melbourne’s world famous sites, however if you’re a local you’ll still be impressed by this incredible experience.
The flight lasts for around one hour and once you’ve landed – if you chose this option – you’ll be treated to a delicious gourmet 5-star champagne buffet breakfast at Pullman on the Park.
The Company: Balloon Aloft
The Prices: $299 per person
The birthplace of commercial hot air balloon flying in Australia, Camden Valley was the location of the first flight that took to the skies more than 35 years ago.
Since then, it’s fair to say hot air ballooning has ‘taken off’ (pun intended) – however there’s few better places to experience it then where it all began. Located just over an hour out of Sydney, Camden valley has impressive weather and picturesque landscapes, making it an ideal ballooning location for passengers and pilots.
Watching the sunrise over the stunning Camden region is an experience you won’t soon forget, with its glow helping to add to what is already an impressive panorama. Ascending up to 2000 feet into the air, you’ll be treated to 360 degree views of the Nepean River, Blue Mountains, local towns of Picton and Camden itself and the famed Sydney city skyline in the near distance.
Flights are conducted on the weekends and various days throughout the week and last for around one hour in flight duration. This ballooning experience also comes with a delicious champagne breakfast following your landing at Rydges Campbelltown.
Depending on the wind direction the morning of your flight, you’ll be taken to one of Balloon Aloft’s may launch sites in the Macarthur region. Much like all of the flight experiences, passengers are given the chance to lend a helping hand in inflating the balloon and then again in packing it up at the conclusion of the flight.
The Companies: Balloon Aloft Gold Coast / Hot Air
The Prices: Between $224.99 – $330
Gold Coast Hinterland
While it’s traditionally associated with beaches and water, the Gold Coast offers opportunities for quality aerial adventures as well.
There are two different companies operating in the Gold Coast region, however each offers a very different experiences. Depending on what types of views you are looking to admire will determine which company is best to book with. Both offer the choice of 30 minute or 1 hour flights as well as options to include breakfast at a local establishment after the balloon ride.
Balloon Aloft Gold Coast takes passengers on a journey over the main ‘glitter strip’ of the Gold Coast, the Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach area. Providing you with incredible views of the iconic Surfers Paradise skyline and the vibrant colours of the world famous beaches, passengers can expect an incredible journey over one of Australia’s most popular tourist and holiday destinations.
In contrast, Hot Air traverses the impressive greenery of the Gold Coast Hinterland. An underrated part of the region, these flights travel over Lamington National Park, Tamborine Mountain and Springbrook National Park to name a few. This journey provides views of the rolling hills, luscious greenery and in the distance the Surfers Paradise skyline as a cherry on top of the visual sundae.
The Gold Coast is visited by thousands of people from both interstate and overseas and although this is a relatively expensive adventure, it is one that is well worth the investment. The Gold Coast shoreline and hinterland are two of the most acclaimed sights in Queensland, and having the chance to calmly glide over them is an opportunity not to be passed up.
4. Avon Valley, WA
The Company: Windward Balloon Adventures
The Prices: $300 pp on weekdays / $350 pp on weekends
The Avon Valley is just a short distance from Perth and offers an lovely and diverse mix of landscapes. Windward Balloon Adventures has been operating in the area since 1982 and since then has built a reputation as being one of the best experiences in the region. With the help of your experienced pilot you’ll be shown all of the region’s highlights and sights from thousands of feet in the air.
The patchwork landscape features a lovely mixture of rolling hills, luscious greenery and winding streams making for an enjoyable panorama. When you’re travelling near rivers and streams, your pilot will take you down low to glide over the water, making you feel as though you could reach out and touch it. Windward Balloon Adventures’ owner and chief pilot, Damien Hays has more than 2,500 hours of flying in the region under his belt and is the perfect guide and host for visitors looking to explore the area from above.
Windward Balloon Adventures provides passengers with hot beverages at check in, the chance to set up the balloon with the crew as well as packing it up at the end. Once the balloon flight has concluded you’ll be ushered to local cafe, Rivers Edge Cafe to enjoy a delicious champagne breakfast to celebrate the incredible experience you just had.
3. Cairns & Port Douglas, QLD
The Company: Hot Air
The Prices: Between $250 – $335
Far North Queensland is home to some of the top natural tourist attractions in the country, and seeing them all from the basket of a hot air balloon is hands down one of the most striking views Australia has to offer. Combining views of the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest and Atherton Tablelands, Cairns and Port Douglas are a traveller’s dream come true in terms of spectacles. Hot Air operates balloon flights in both destinations, however due to the proximity of the two towns we’ve grouped them into one listing.
Flights depart from Cairns operate on a daily basis and include hotel transfers from all major accommodation hubs. The main flight path travels over the luscious Atherton Tablelands however on a good day you will be able to see out to the Great Barrier Reef. There is the option for both 30 minute and one hour flights.
If you’re looking to explore FNQ from Port Douglas, flights also depart daily with return transfers to accommodation. Also showing off the reef to the forest, Port Douglas flights can be paired with trips to the famous Kuranda or with a tour to the Great Barrier Reef with Quicksilver Cruises. Similarly, in Port Douglas there are both 30 minute and one hour flights available.
The Companies: Balloon Aloft, Barossa Balloon Adventures & Global Ballooning
The Prices: $299 – $365
These three wine making regions in Australia are so beautiful individually yet in many ways visually similar; as a result, it’s difficult to choose between them. Each of the balloon rides they offer provide incredible views over these famous regions, with your proximity to either Adelaide, Melbourne or Sydney likely being the main determining factor.
Award-winning company Balloon Aloft operates flights daily over the gorgeous Hunter Valley region in New South Wales. Their hour-long flight will take you up over rolling vineyards as the sun rises on yet another day in this stunning region. Before your departure you’ll be treated to complimentary tea and coffee to warm you up to the cool NSW weather, which you can savour or quickly drink before helping the crew inflate the balloon. After you’ve experienced 360 degree views of the perfectly lined vineyards and lakes in the area you’ll be treated to a delicious champagne breakfast. The departure point is located at Peterson’s Champagne House, which is a short 45 minute drive from Newcastle or 2 hours from Sydney.
If South Australia’s Barossa Valley is your pick of the bunch, then you won’t be disappointed. Travelling over the beautiful tapestry of vineyards, this journey is much like the Hunter Valley’s but with it’s own spin. The flight itself is only an hour in duration, however the entire experience lasts for up to 6 hours once you factor in all of the on ground experiences included in the price. After you’ve experienced the region from above you’ll be taken to local winery, Langmeil Winery for a gourmet breakfast as well as a visit to the main attraction; the cellar door, to taste of some of their award-winning wines. To ensure you remember this incredible experience you’ll be able to purchase photos from the flight once you’ve landed.
Last but definitely not least, Yarra Valley in Victoria is on the list for good reason. This famous Australian wine region also offers some incredible views and thanks to Global Ballooning Australia you can enjoy a delightful glide over them with ease and comfort. The one hour flight will take you high into the sky to admire the rolling hills, surrounding highlights of the region – including the Yarra River – and perfectly straight vineyards of some local wineries, all of which will be pointed out to you by your experienced pilot. Passengers are given the option of including a breakfast with their purchase, something we would highly recommend, as Rochford’s Winery puts on a delicious spread for their gourmet champagne breakfast. The price of this flight covers all necessary fees and insurance, a flight certificate and souvenir pack to remember this incredible experience.
Ballooning in one of these locations is an ideal adventure for those looking to combine incredible sights with delicious and award-winning wine. Allowing you to kill two birds with one stone, it’s possible to spend the morning floating on the clouds in a hot air balloon, and the afternoon floating on cloud 9 at a local, relaxing winery sampling a top local drop.
The Company: Outback Ballooning
The Prices: $265 – $360
One of the most iconic and instantly-recognisable Australian regions, the Outback is a must-visit for any traveller – and seeing the Red Centre from above is an experience not to be passed up while there. Alice Springs and its Northern Territory surrounds is a fiery and remote landscape with not much life to see, however this is exactly what makes it a top pick for ballooning.
The sheer emptiness of outback Australia manages to be impressive, relaxing and exciting, and seeing it as sunrise engulfs the landscape is likely to be unlike anything you’ve experienced before.
As you float above the Red Centre and the MacDonnel Ranges you can keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife such as the iconic red kangaroo far below. Travellers have the option for a 30 minute or one hour flight, both of which will provide with impressive views and an angle on this part of the country relatively few get to see.
Both flights include a glass of sparkling wine and light refreshments following the flight as well as a flight certificate to commemorate your adventure in the Australian outback. The feeling of relaxing in a remote location a deal of kilometres away from civilisation is an incredible experience for both new visitors to the country, as well locals looking to explore their backyard from an entirely different vantage point.
For a full list of balloon adventures around Australia be sure to check out our full hot air ballooning catalogue.