Up Up and Away: Why you need to go on a hot air balloon ride in QLD ASAP

Set your alarm for the crack of dawn and cross this YOLO moment off your bucket list pronto.

There’s really no experience quite like hot air ballooning; from the gradual take off and panoramic views to the tranquillity and calmness you feel while watching the world come to light. And the hot air balloon pictures you can take? Priceless!

So whether you’re wanting to celebrate a special occasion, pop the question, or just take in the sunshine state from a different angle; a hot air balloon ride can do no wrong.

Photo by @kate_duffy via IG

And the best bit? (Aside from it being one of the most epic ways to watch a sunrise.) When you’re done, you still have a whole day of fun ahead of you!

So pack a jumper and get yourself Insta ready for this ride of a lifetime, because we’ve got the hot spots in Tropical North Queensland, Brisbane and Gold Coast sorted!

Side note: Even if you’re afraid of heights, you’re going to love hot air ballooning. With a take off as smooth as a baby’s bottom, you’ll be up in the air and marvelling at the glorious scenery before you’ve even registered that you’re off the ground.

Tropical North Queensland

There’s nothing quite like watching the sunrise as you glide over the valleys and farmlands of the Atherton Tablelands.

Flying over the Atherton Tablelands

Photo by @thetravelographer via IG

Hot Air Cairns. Image by riancope via IG.

Photo by @riancope via IG

While any time of the year is go-time for hot air ballooning in QLD, Peta from Raging Thunder Adventures recommends taking flight during the cooler months in TNQ.

“It’s particularly best during winter; the low humidity creates some beautiful photos with the fog and low lying clouds,” she says.

Want to make the most of your time up north? Tee-up your flight with a package combo: there’s horse riding, Great Barrier Reef and island tours, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, the Kuranda Scenic Railway, ATV Quad Bikes and more!

Airballoon in Brisbane

Photo by @kate_duffy via IG

Raging Thunder Adventures
Where: Bus transfers from Cairns and Northern Beaches accommodation (or self-drive to Mareeba Heritage Museum and Information Centre)
Time: Depart from Cairns at approx. 4.15am

Hot Air Cairns
Where: Coach transfers from Cairns and Northern Beaches accommodation (or self-drive to Mareeba Heritage Museum and Information Centre)
Time: Depart from Cairns at approx. 5am

Hot Air Port Douglas
Where: Coach transfers from Port Douglas accommodation
Time: Depart from Port Douglas at approx. 5am


Photo by @kate_duffy via IG

What better way to explore Brisbane’s greater backyard than by a floating basket!

Glide over Brisbane’s Scenic Rim before touching down for a delicious champagne breakfast at O’Reilly’s Vineyard.

Hot Air Brisbane

Photo by @hotairballoonbrisbane via IG

Or get a bird’s-eye view of where city and country meet as you fly over the heritage city of Ipswich and Somerset countryside.

Floating Images

Photo by @floatingimages via IG

Floating Images
Where: Meet at the Metro Hotel Ipswich International
Time: Confirmed upon booking

Hot Air Brisbane
Where: Coach transfers from all Brisbane City hotels and apartments, and South Brisbane, Kangaroo Point and Browns Plains hotels (or self-drive to meet points at Beaudesert Main Street, Canungra Tourist Information Centre and Nerang Fair Shopping Centre)
Time: Depart Brisbane at approx. 5am

Fly Me To The Moon
Where: Transfers from any Brisbane City hotel or a meeting point at Kangaroo Point, Upper Mt Gravatt or Browns Plains (or self-drive to meet points at Nerang Fair and Canungra Tourist Information Centre)
Time: Check meeting times here.

Balloons over Brisbane
Where: Transfers from Brisbane City accommodation as well as meeting points at Browns Plains, Kangaroo Point, Mt Gravatt and Canungra (or self-drive to meet points at Nerang Fair and Canungra Tourist Information Centre)
Time: Check meeting times here.

Gold Coast

Getting ready to soar above the early morning fog at the Gold Coast. IMage by elialocardi via IG.

Photo by @elialocardi via IG

Gently drift over the Gold Coast landscape as you watch it come to life, taking in the 360-degree views of the golden coastline across to the hinterland.

High above the Gold Coast with hotairgoldcoast. Image by Elia Locardi via IG.

Photo by @elialocardi via IG

Hot Air Balloon Down Under

Photo by @balloondownunder via IG

Let the good times keep on rolling with a champagne brekkie at Chelo’s Restaurant at the Mercure Resort.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Or why not take it to the next level with Hot Air Gold Coast‘s combo packages: jet boat and snorkel adventures, glow worm rainforest and scenic hinterland tours, whale watching and 4WD charters are just some of the extra activities available!

Hot Air Gold Coast
Where: Transfers available from Gold Coast accommodation at The Spit, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise, and Broadbeach (check here for self-drive meet points)
Time: Depart Gold Coast between 3.50am – 4.30am

Hot Air Balloon Down Under
Where: Transfers available if you are staying in Southport, Main Beach, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach accommodation (or self-drive and meet at the Mercure Resort)
Time: Confirmed upon booking

Have you been hot air ballooning in Queensland? What was your experience like?