Hot air ballooning over Melbourne was an amazing experience. It was also a bit of an adventure. Sidenote: I used to work on a hot air balloon crew in college so while I don’t know much about hot air ballooning, I know enough to know that you don’t have a lot of control over the balloon. You can tell it to go up or down but other than that you are at the mercy of the wind. Besides that knowledge a friend was in a terrible hot air balloon accident earlier this year. All this was fresh on my mind as we began to climb into a large basket early one morning in Melbourne.
I think what made this experience so unique is we flew over a large city. I can’t think of any large cities in the US that I’ve seen hot air balloons over. We woke up early the morning before to see if the weather would permit the flight. It looked like rain later that day but it was early enough that the skies were still pretty clear. There were four balloons taking off together that morning from the same company. We took the basket off the truck and leaned it over. Then we unpacked the hot air balloon and laid it out while a large fan blew air into the balloon and blew it up. After it was full enough they began heating the air inside the balloon and it slowly started to rise up until the basket was turned right side up. We all had about 60 seconds to climb into the balloon before we took off. Our balloon took off first. It really is such a cool experience, there is nothing like it. It is so quiet up in the sky.
We hovered over some streets and trees and our captain said “we don’t want to get too high or else the wind will take us right over to those skyscrapers.” pointing to the city skyline. We all enjoyed the scenery when after about 10 minutes I noticed we were headed directly for those skyscrapers he had just mentioned he would like to avoid. The pilot then applied a lot of heat to the balloon as we began going up up and up over Melbourne. While the pilot was cool as a cucumber I’ll admit I was super nervous the closer we got to the skyscrapers. It was quite terrifying. We flew directly over the tallest buildings in Melbourne.
Once we started to descend to the other side of the city I could relax. It was all parks and trees and homes from there on out. A little less menacing than the giant buildings. After you do something a little adventurous you can still feel the adrenalin pumping through you all day. You feel a little extra alive. Thank you so much to Go Mighty and Tourism Australia and Air New Zealand for making this dream happen. I will never forget this!