One of the highlights of my visit to the Gold Coast was without a doubt the hot air balloon ride. It was one of the lists on my itinerary that I giddily awaited for like Christmas morning.
After a fun day exploring the Hinterland of Queensland, I could hardly tame my excitement because the next adventure was hot air balloon ride. It was truly worth it being up super early before the crack of dawn.
Hot Air Balloon in Gold Coast
My itinerary said I would be picked up from the hotel at 3:55am! I was up way before then, I think I was up by 2:30am and fueled myself up with coffee. Why so early you ask? Because the wind is the calmest before/after sunrise thus making it the perfect timing to go hot air ballooning.
Right on time, Tony – a guy from Hot Air Gold Coast – pulled over by the hotel to pick me up. There were already several people on the minivan as we drove into the darkness. He said he must pick up some more guests. Hard to tell where we were going when it was still dark outside but we stopped at a small area with nice clean toilets. There we met up with another minivan and Tony divided us into 3 groups. He explained that they are waiting for the launching confirmation. The hot air balloon launch at different sites each time depending on the weather and so forth. To date they have 40 different launch sites depending on wind directions.
Back in the van, Tony played a DVD of safety instructions for us to watch as he drove to the launching site.
My heart beats faster as we got closer and I could see not one, not two, but three hot air balloon being prepared for us from a distance!
The air was a bit chili that morning as we stepped out from the van and I quickly recognized two guys from our van who were with me during the SkyWalk Climb! Hirzi and Vinod his camera buddy. Do check out their Gold Coast video on YouTube!
I was put in hot air balloon number 1 which is the biggest out of the 3 along with Hirzi. Yay!
I was quite mesmerized upon seeing how detailed and high-tech the whole preparation of getting the hot air balloon up. They are massive! Did you know the hot air balloon is as high as a 10 story building? The size of our balloon, which is a 400 series, is 30m tall and 20m wide. Huge isn’t it?
The crews are all experts in their fields and they are geared up with the latest technology to check the weather, flight patterns, etc. Our pilot, Ben Parks was really knowledgeable and gave us insights during our flight.
We were called one by one to climb into the hot air balloon. Once inside, we were briefed again on the correct landing position. You will have to hold on to the ropes on the sides of the basket in a semi squat position with your back against the partition. We practiced them a couple of times while Ben set up everything.
Our balloon was the last one up and I was blown away by the sheer excitement of watching our balloon smoothly take off. Remember I told you how big they are?
Each balloon has a camera attached to the outer cords that will take photos of the experience. How rad!
As the view below us grew smaller and smaller, everyone in our balloon were quietly taking in all the views. The only sound you will hear is the burner in the middle. Once the burner was settled, it was quiet! Stillness and only peace filled the air. You get to see the sun rising behind the Hinterland. Houses and farms grew smaller. The burner keep you warm too!
Ben pointed towards some kangaroos jumping below us. It was truly magical! I still get goose bumps as I type this post! Everyone was quietly deep in thoughts and just soaks in the moment including myself. How I wish my boy were with me! He would’ve loved it as much as I do.
Witnessing the sunrise over the rolling hills of the majestic Gold Coast hinterland, sweeping views of Mount Tamborine and Lamington National Park. I was in heaven!
After an hour or so, Ben informed us that he had confirmed a landing site, which changes accordingly with each experience. We started descending slowly to a ranch area witnessed by some of the free range cand before we know it we landed flawlessly! We climbed out of the basket and we worked together to fold the balloon. It was a fun experience as we all participated to pack this huge air balloon into a big bag as you can see on the photos below.
Breakfast with Champagne
Tom our guide picked us up nearby the landing site and we each received a certificate for completing the ride. How awesome!
He then took us to O’Reilly’s Grand Homestead and Vineyard a few minutes ride away from the landing site for breakfast. Tom explained that since he early days of Hot Air Ballooning it is a customary tradition to have champagne with breakfast followed a successful hot air ballooning.
Hot buffet breakfast awaits us at O’Reilly’s and the champagne was delicious! Perfect ending to a magical morning.
[question]Contacts Hot Air Balloon Gold Coast for your unforgettable experience in Australia!
23 Ferny Avenue, Surfers Paradise 4217 Gold Coast, Australia
Facebook: Hot Air Balloon Gold Coast
Instagram: Hot Air Balloon Gold Coast
Adult: AUD 280
Child: AUD 229[/question]
Thank you Hot Air Balloon Gold Coast for this once in a lifetime experience.