How (and where) to see Queensland by hot air balloon
Boarding a hot air balloon in Queensland rates pretty highly on most visitors’ bucket-lists – and with good reason. The silence, the views, the sense of freedom and serenity… it all adds up to one soul-stirring experience.
Take a dawn flight over the highlands followed by breakfast in the bush
Imagine taking off in darkness, then seeing the sun rise as you glide over the lush valleys and farmlands of the Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns. Watch as low lying clouds and fog clear to reveal panoramic vistas, then touch down beside the Barron River for a bush breakfast. (Keep an eye out for the resident kangaroos.)
Make a day of it and follow up your hot air balloon flight with a horse ride through the Tablelands, or take a detour past the quaint rainforest village of Kuranda. From here you can hop aboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which takes you right past the spectacular Barron Falls and through Barron Gorge.
Need to know:
As with most hot air balloon flights, you’ll need to be up well before dawn to fly with the team at Raging Thunder Adventures. But with options to be picked up from Cairns, Palm Cove, Port Douglas and Mareeba, you can snooze on the coach and arrive rested and ready. If you’re staying in Cairns or Port Douglas, you’ve also got the option of flying with Hot Air Cairns or Hot Air Port Douglas.
Turn up the romance with a champagne breakfast and flight
With just the birds and the clouds for company (your balloon pilot doesn’t count), dates don’t get much more romantic than a hot air balloon flight. But if you want to go a step further, book yourself on a Brisbane sunrise tour with Floating Images.
Spend the dawn gliding peacefully over over the aptly-named Scenic Rim, snuggled together for warmth. Then touch down for a delicious champagne breakfast at O’Reilly’s Vineyard – an award-winning winery in the gold Coast hinterland. Afterwards, stroll the landscaped gardens or sample local vintages at the cellar door.
Need to know:
Floating Images pick up just 30 minutes drive from Brisbane, making it the most accessible hot air ballooning location in Queensland. Alternatively, check out the options from Hot Air Brisbane, Fly Me To The Moon, and Balloons over Brisbane – all offer convenient transfers from the city.
Get a bird’s eye view of a Pacific Ocean sunrise
See the Gold Coast in a different light as you gently drift 2000 ft above Australia’s eastern coastline. Watch the streets and skyscrapers of Surfers Paradise come to life as dawn breaks over the ocean. Drink in the silence as you take in sweeping 360 degree views from Brisbane in the north all the way down to Byron Bay in the south.
If you’re flying with Balloon Down Under, wrap up your experience with a champagne breakfast at the Mercure Hotel’s restaurant, Chelo’s.
Not quite ready for your adventure to end? Talk to the team at Hot Air Gold Coast about their combined packages and spend the rest of your day exploring ancient rainforest, scenic hinterland and more.
Need to know:
Both tour operators provide transfers from multiple locations on the Gold Coast. Not really a morning person? Ask Balloon Down Under about their overnight hotel packages so you can roll out of bed and straight on to your transfer coach.