As such a vast country, Australia provides numerous venues of differing geography to be witnessed while hot air ballooning, each of which provides a different element of physical beauty that reflect the diversity of our great southern land. From the lush green fields and verdant wineries of Victoria's Yarra Valley to the rugged, ochre-hued desert scenery of the heart of the Aussie Outback in Alice Springs, no two hot air ballooning experiences throughout the country are the same.
The experience of ballooning itself also provides an unparalleled vantage point from which to witness some of the best scenery of the country from an entirely unique and unforgettable vantage point that provides endless chances for spectacular photo opportunities. Whether you're looking for a hot air ballooning experience in the tropical far north, or to float serenely through the skies of the south-east coast of the country, we've got you covered with this guide to the top hot air ballooning destinations in Australia, as well as what to expect from a flight in each region.
The rugged Aussie Outback has become symbolic of Australia as a whole due to its distinctive coloration and the fact that it contains that great Aussie icon, Ayers Rock or Uluru. A hot air ballooning experience from Alice Springs provides an entirely different topographical view of landscape than can be experienced in most of the other popular, greener states and cities throughout the country. The sunrise over the desert as the panorama gradually illuminates into its vibrant hues of reds and ochres is a breathtaking experience that encapsulates the essence of the outback and serves as a demonstrative reminder of the sheer vastness of the Australian continent.
From the spectacle of the McDonnell Ranges that spread out ruggedly as far as the eye can see across the expanses of the Northern Territory's red centre. During your balloon flight in this region, be sure to keep your eyes open for the many native wildlife - including the huge Red Kangaroo that inhabits the region - and once you head back to earth, cap off the experience with a delicious champagne breakfast with tropical fruit juices and a selection of muesli biscuits, exotic slices, cheeses and fresh fruits. Ideal for those who want to witness the Australian Outback from an entirely unique and highly memorable perspective!
Often overlooked as a hot air ballooning destination, Byron Bay in New South Wales provides one of the country's most spectacular environments when taking into consideration the unique blend of hinterland, coastline and open ocean. The town's iconic lighthouse set on the hillside peninsula that juts out from the easternmost mainland point of Australia forms a staple of the views that can be experienced, and on either side from the mountains to the sea an unbelievable panorama can be witnessed at any time of the day.
Situated in a convenient location for a getaway only 45 minutes from the Gold Coast or around 2 hours from Brisbane, Byron Bay is a strong option for those looking to experience the serenity of hot air ballooning in Australia's "Green Cauldron" - the relaxation-oriented atmosphere of the town carries over perfectly into the activity of ballooning to form a seamless transition that will leave you feeling more than satisfied once it's all over.
Cairns' proximity to the natural wonder of the Great Barrier Reef makes it a naturally popular destination for a hot air ballooning experience - the reef itself can be appreciated from almost any angle, but there are few better ways to get a sense of its sheer size and the clarity of its waters than from high above. Contrasted on the opposite side with the ancient and towering greenery of the rainforests of Kuranda, the panorama that unfolds below has been nominated on many "Top Things to Do" lists compiled by tourism authorities throughout the past several years.
With a Cairns hot air balloon flight, you'll rise up and float over the scenic topography of the Atherton Tablelands with its rainforest-fringed mountains and tranquil country landscapes. Whether you choose the 30 minute or one-hour options, you'll come away with a great experience of Tropical North Queensland and its clear, sunny skies.
Gold Coast (Hinterland)
The Gold Coast isn't all just beaches, shopping, and nightclubs - a short drive westward will lead you away from the bustle of Surfers Paradise and into the surprisingly lush greenery of the Gold Coast Hinterland. A hot air ballooning flight on the Gold Coast, due to the area's relatively central location, will grant a variety of views that stretch from Byron Bay in the south to Brisbane in the north, as well as everywhere in-between. The magnificent shoreline of golden beaches, rivers and hinterland provides something for everyone, with escarpments, vineyards and various pockets of rainforest all dotting the topography of the landscape down below.
Conditions for hot air ballooning on the Gold Coast are some of the most reliable in the country due to the magnitude of sunny days, clear skies and lack of overpowering winds, making a ballooning experience a highly dependable sources of entertainment for those wishing to perform sightseeing at its "highest" level. The tours can also be coupled with the option to cap them off with a romantic champagne breakfast overlooking sculptured vineyards - the option is yours.
Melbourne (and the Yarra Valley)
Melbourne's sheer abundance of greenery and verdant farm and winery lands make it the ideal region for a "traditional" hot air ballooning experience. The city itself also provides the rare option to be traversed by balloon, and there are few better ways to take in Australia's second largest city. Drift in the early morning light over the array of parks and gardens that make Melbourne annually listed among the world's most liveable city.
As the city comes to life you'll be able to gaze down from your balloon onto the many iconic landmarks and venues such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne Park, and Albert Park racetrack. While the city itself provides a great scenic ballooning venue, another hotspot near Melbourne is the renowned Yarra Valley with its cavalcade of lush hillsides that is home to 90 vineyards and 35 wineries, many of which have quickly gained a reputation for producing some of Australia's world-class wines.
Port Douglas is another venue that combines the best of reef and rainforest to form yet another unmissable hot air ballooning destination in Tropical North Queensland. Head up into the skies over the Atherton Tablelands - a magnificent landscape situated between the World Heritage rainforests of the Lamb Range and the Aussie Outback that stretches out to the west.
The weather conditions are often ideal as the climate is generally gentle and conditions dry allowing for a smooth experience, making hot air ballooning in Port Douglas a very viable option all year round. Various packages are also available catering to those looking for a romantic experience or wedding-oriented tour, which come complete with hot and cold Aussie style buffet breakfasts replete with champagne and other alternative refreshments.
A hot air ballooning flight over Sydney will provide you with a new perspective of Australia's largest city and beyond - the iconic Sydney skyline and its magnificent harbour beckon below as the juxtaposition of glistening ocean, surrounding historic villages, and the spectacular Blue Mountains all combine to form a unique and memorable panorama. Ballooning provides an avenue to see Sydney's sights without the inevitable hustle and bustle that will be encountered on foot or by car, while also acting as a romantic and memorable getaway for locals and visitors alike.
Options are available to depart from two different launch sites in and around Sydney - one in Parramatta (located approximately 20 minutes from the Sydney CBD) as well as a venue situated in the Camden Valley - each of which offer a different point of scenic emphasis: the Paramatta flight showcases the world-famous Sydney skyline to the east and Blue Mountains to the West, while the Camden option takes you over a scenic valley full of meandering rivers, majestic rock faces and historic towns that dot the landscape.