Cairns: Hot Air Ballooning

16 Nov

Have you ever been hot air ballooning?

I went last year in April with my friend Keb when we went on a holiday to Cairns. We’d bought a holiday package that included white water rafting, a day boat trip and hot air ballooning. I was most excited about the hot air ballooning.

We had to get up at some ungodly hour of the morning because we were ballooning at dawn. I’m talking somewhere between three and four am. We forced ourselves to eat a banana as we waited outside our hostel for our pickup.

The actual area where we were ballooning is the Atherton Tablelands and it is world famous for its spectacular views. We drove into the middle of a paddock and waited in the dark while the balloons were filled.

We were then separated into two groups so that the balloons would go up twice. Keb and I were in the second group so we could go balloon chasing first. We piled onto the back of a trailer once the first group had floated up and off we went. At one point Keb leaned over to me and whispered in disgust, “those guys are wearing matching jumpers”, indicating a Japanese couple that I assume might have been on a honeymoon. I replied, “Uh, so are we”. We’d bought jumpers a day or so earlier because it had been raining a lot and our other jumpers were a bit damp. To be fair, ours were different colours and quite plain though. Keb was still a little embarrassed after that.

Anyway, bush bashing to catch up with the balloons was quite fun. It’s unpredictable where a balloon will land as it all depends on the wind that day. We found the balloons eventually and then it was our turn.

When we hopped in, I was struck by how hot it was in the balloon. This may be a stupid thing to say seeing as you are quite close to a flame, but I’m not always the brightest crayon in the box. And then we had lift off.

I don’t think a camera quite gives justice to the amazing views that you see. It’s incredible. So many different shades of green and brown dance up at you in the morning light. You can see beams of light shining through the clouds and it’s just wonderful.

Trust me, it looks even more spectacular when you can see it with your own eyes.

Afterwards we were taken to a nearby place for a continental breakfast and a wander through a small museum. Then we were taken right back to our doorstep.

It was one of the most memorable experiences of my life and one that I would do again if ever I got the opportunity. It was simply awe inspiring.


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