The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is an popular annual event, starting from the lawns outside Old Parliament House. Each year, people come from all around the country to experience this colourful event, with over 40 hot air balloons lifting off together as dawn breaks. They then silently drift over the city landscape, creating an impressive sight for those who get up early to witness it. Piercing the dawn silence is the roar of the flames, as each balloon shoots hot air upwards to take them higher in the sky. When all of the balloons do this at once over the city, it is a sensory experience for the ears - and eyes - not to be missed.
One of the highlights each year are the novelty hot air balloons, with a variety of humorous children's characters, animals and shapes gliding over the city each morning. Keep your eyes to the skies this Canberra Balloon Spectacular - which one(s) will be your favourite?
The hot air balloons start inflating at 6:15am each morning, ready for the 6:30am ascent up into the sky. Although some may take a little longer, most are gone by 7pm. If you plan to watch the take-off from the lawns outside Old Parliament House, there is a hot breakfast and coffee available to keep you warm until 10am. As this event is dependent on the weather, check the Events ACT Facebook from 6am, to confirm the hot air balloons will be flying.
If watching the balloons from the sidelines isn't enough, you can also experience the spectacular from inside one of the baskets. Why not book a passenger ticket with either Dawn Drifters or Balloons Aloft, for a morning flight over Canberra to remember.
Two other popular venues to watch the hot air balloons over the city are up at the National Arboretum (with gates opening at 6am) and all around Lake Burley Griffin. For the thousands of locals who pound the pavement around the lake each morning, it is a beautiful sight to see in the dawn light. This peaceful time of day is almost ethereal, with the silently moving hot air balloons gliding at different levels over the expanse of water.
If you haven't experienced the Canberra Balloon Spectacular before, it is tempting to snuggle back down under the warm covers after the alarm goes off. Don't give in to temptation however, as it is worth the effort to get out of the front door. There are only nine opportunities to witness this spectacular event each morning, before it is gone again for another year. There are numerous vantage points around the city to enjoy the views - you can either follow the crowds, or find your own special place to experience the wonder.