Have you ever wanted to fall from the sky? Did you know that you can do it in Canberra? Whilst visiting the Royal Australian Mint in Deakin recently, I noticed some unusual activity happening on the oval next to the building. Skydiving landing flags were flapping in the breeze, vans were blazoned with sky diving logos and there were people milling around, nervously waiting for their loved ones to land. Before long, skydivers in tandem started to gently spiral down from the sky in a silent and colourful, aerial dance. The exuberant and relieved smiles on the faces of those who had landed, showed what a life-changing moment they had just experienced. It was a big tick for their bucket list. I had no idea that this was happening in Canberra each weekend, which got me thinking. How can locals and visitors get up into the skies, or fall out them, around Canberra each weekend? There are at least 5 companies who will help you do it - if you dare!
1/ Skydive Oz - Canberra is the company that I saw next to the Royal Australian Mint and they are Canberra's only sky diving company. They have a number of different packages to choose from, depending on how far up you want to jump from and how long you want to freefall. Choose between 10,000 feet, 14,000 feet or 15,000 - which is Australia's highest skydive. If you enjoy the experience, they also have skydive locations at Merimbula and Batemans Bay if you want to skydive over the ocean, when you next get to the coast. Prices start from $358 for a 10,000 feet sky dive. See here for details.
2/ Balloon Aloft Canberra offer locals and visitors a way to get up in the skies above Canberra, rather than free falling down. They have romantic packages for two as well as well as prices for all the family, with kids able to fly from age 6. All flights last between 45 minutes to 1 hour and finish with a traditional champagne celebration at the Hyatt Hotel, with an optional full buffet breakfast available. Each March, they also take part in the Canberra Balloon Spectacular and you can pay to be a passenger on one of the balloons that lift off in unison each morning. Prices start from $330 for a weekday flight. See here for details.
A unique view of Parliament House. Source: Balloon Aloft Canberra Facebook
3/ Dawn Drifters is Canberra's other hot air balloon specialist and they also provide flights during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, as well as romantic Valentines Day flights over the city and flights every morning of the week. Flights start from $290 for a weekday flight. See here for details.
4/ Canberra Helicopters offer several tourist flights to get up into the skies over Lake Burley Griffin and the city's landmarks - or even as far as the South Coast of NSW. If cost is no boundary, another option is to spend the day at the snow this winter, leaving Canberra in the morning and flying over the traffic to the ski fields and then returning in the afternoon. There is also an option to fly directly to the top of Mt Kosciuszko. Alternatively, if you are looking for something more relaxing, why not take a joyflight over Canberra and finish with a sumptuous meal at Pialligo Estate or at Lerida Estate Winery by Lake George. Helicopter flight prices start from $150 for a 20 minute lap of the lake. See here for all the details.
Image: Original photos from Canberra Helicopters Facebook
5/ Australian Paragliding Centre is located in Murrumbateman, 25 minutes from Canberra's CBD. They offer Tandem Flights so people can experience the calm thrill of gliding off a mountain and maneuvering through wind currents across the sky. Due to the remote locations of some of the take-off points, the price includes 4WD transport and a briefing before you start. This experience is highly dependent on the weather. If you get hooked on the experience you can also learn how to do it solo. The cost is $295. See here for details.
With Canberra's uniquely designed city, surrounding countryside, mountains and snowy ranges, experiencing the region from above is an experience like no other. Whether you enjoy the adrenaline rush of skydiving, the serene float of a hot air balloon, the adventure of a helicopter or the calm thrill of paragliding, it is experiencing Canberra - and life - to the fullest.
Which one are you trying this weekend?
Fly like a bird with the Australian Paragliding Centre. Source: Australian Paragliding Centre Facebook