The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is a highlight of the Canberra events calendar, with Canberran's and visitors from around the world waking early to marvel at the sight of over 40 balloons gliding over the capital at dawn. Now held for the 30th year, it is also one of the longest running hot air ballooning events in the world. The event is held each morning over a nine day period, with pilots inflating their balloons on the lawns of Old Parliament House from 6.15am each morning before taking off into the morning sky, to the "oohs and aahs" of the hundreds who come out to watch.
Each year it is the "special shaped" balloons that people also come to see, which come from across the globe for this event. Previous years have included the Skywhale, Yoda, Angry Bird, parrots, trees...anything is possible at the Balloon Spectacular. The joy for visitors and children alike is wondering - what characters will be flying this year?
If watching the action from the ground isn't enough, you can even book a place in one of the baskets to enjoy the spectacular from above. Contact Balloon Aloft Canberra or Dawn Drifters to find out about the 2016 prices and inclusions.
As the Spectacular is held in March, the mornings are clear and chilly, so a hot breakfast from the Belconnen Lions Club is a popular way to keep warm from the inside and enjoy the views. The breakfast stalls are cash only and finish at 10am at the end of the display.
Of course, ballooning is weather dependent so there could be delays or cancellations. If the weather isn't ideal, check the Balloon Spectacular Facebook page from 6am or call Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.
Although the event gets national TV coverage, watching it on TV isn't the same as experiencing the wonder for yourself. Firstly, the sheer size of these balloons are impressive on their own, however en masse they are a even more so. As well as this spectacular sight there is the excitement as the fires start up with a "whoosh", feeling the heat from the flames and then experiencing the eerie silence as the balloons ascend up into the morning sky.
The sight of colourful and imaginative balloons then silently drifting together over the Canberra landscape is breathtaking to say the least. So although it is tempting to snuggle back down under the covers on a cool morning, take the plunge and jump out of bed for a morning in Canberra that is sure to impress.
The kids will love it! Source: Balloon Spectacular website