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Canberra Balloon Spectacular 2019

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by Sue W (subscribe)
Lover of exploring, family, food and fun!
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Have your eyes to the skies this March
The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is back for another year, held over the skies of Canberra for nine mornings between 9th - 17th March 2019. It is held as part of the Enlighten Festival, which will be held between 1st - 17th March all over the city centre.

Each morning from 6:15am, over 40 hot air balloon pilots from all over the world will begin inflating their balloons on the lawns in front of Old Parliament House before they all take off into the sky, in a spectacular display of fire and colour. For those who get up early to watch the event each morning, there is something uniquely special about welcoming the dawn, surrounded by locals and visitors from all corners of the globe. A highlight for many people over the years has been the thrill of watching the novelty balloons take off amongst the others. All of them, whatever their theme, are guaranteed to brighten your morning and make you smile.

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Have your eyes to the skies for this year's characters! Image: Enlighten Festival Facebook (photo credit: Instagram codefor)


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Local favourite, Darth Vadar! Image: Enlighten Festival Facebook


If watching the spectacular from the ground isn't enough for you, then you can also book a spot in one of the baskets with two balloon companies going up each morning - Balloon Aloft and Dawn Drifters. The price varies, however Dawn Drifters have their prices starting from $290 child/ $345 adult on a weekday morning, including a country-style cooked breakfast and champagne back at the launch site.

As the balloon flights are weather dependent, there will be an announcement each morning at 6:15am to announce if the balloons will fly. To stay up-to-date, check the Enlighten Facebook for details. Unfortunately some flights in previous years had to be cancelled due to strong winds, however as the event runs for nine mornings across the festival, you are sure to catch many views of the balloons as they drift over Canberra's iconic attractions.

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Dawn flights over Lake Burley Griffin. Image: Enlighten Facebook (photo credit Martin Ollman)


It can be chilly in the mornings in March in Canberra, so after the balloons take off from the lawns in front of Old Parliament House, ensure you warm up with hot bacon and egg roll from a local charity BBQ and start your day on the right note.

If you would prefer to find another venue to watch the balloons, other popular places to view them are from the National Arboretum (with the gates opening at 6am), the shores of Lake Burley Griffin and from the Mount Ainslie Lookout. Many locals also enjoy getting on their SUPs and kayaks and watching them on top of Lake Burley Griffin itself, with the balloons often coming down low to the water to get close to them, before ascending back up.

I personally have enjoyed watching the Canberra Balloon Spectacular from Dairy Farmers Hill Lookout and some of the more quieter benches at the National Arboretum. Although there are many places to view them, you can't beat the quiet, birds-eye view from above the city.

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Drive up to Dairy Farmers Hill Lookout and find a bench with a view. Image: Enlighten Festival Facebook (photo credit carolelvin, via instagram)

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Why? The ultimate way to start the day
When: The balloons start to inflate at 6:15am
Phone: The Canberra and Region Visitors Centre: 1300 852 780
Where: The lawns in front of Old Parliament House, 18 King George Terrace, Parkes ACT 2600
Cost: Free to watch
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