Take to the skies this summer with Global Ballooning for an ultimate bucket list experience. The sensation of gently drifting through the open air is the closest I’ve ever felt to flying. (This includes the ill-advised time a pilot handed me the controls of his biplane midflight.)
Our sunrise adventure started with a sea-side launch in Newport as the last of the morning stars twinkled overhead. In the dewy morning, our intrepid group got a hands-on experience inflating our giant ride. (The scale is even more enormous when you get to see the balloons up close.)
Global Ballooning’s city flights are one more thing that makes Melbourne special. It’s the largest city in the world you can commercially balloon over. It’s certainly a unique experience seeing the city wake up from an aerial view.
We waved to neighbours out for an early morning walk and flew over rowers on the Yarra river. There were excited exclamations of, “I can see my house,” as well as more notable landmarks including the MCG, Royal Exhibition Building, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, and the Arts Centre Spire. There was also the memorable moment when one of our flying companions gazed out over the city and remarked on Melbourne’s superior city planning. (Turns out there’s always an opportunity to throw a little shade on Sydney.)
Founder Kiff Saunders comes from an aviation family and the tradition has now passed on to his children. He can regale you with tales of traversing this wide brown land in his early ballooning days, flying over Mt Kosciusko, and piloting hot air balloon flights on sea ice at the North Pole.
A hot air balloon’s controls (or lack thereof) create the feeling of free flying. A balloon doesn’t have steering like a plane or a car. Rather, a pilot navigates by raising and lowering the balloon to different heights depending on the direction of the airflow. An experienced pilot can traverse kilometres and land within metres of their target. Global Ballooning strikes a perfect balance of adventure and excitement, without being terrifying. It will set hearts fluttering with a romantic partner. It’s also accessible enough for families and even corporate clients. For those who find the idea of an open-air trip intimidating, I’m here to assure you the flight was wonderfully gentle. And this is coming from someone who gets airsick on EVERYTHING.
Make mile high memories this festive season. If you’re looking for an unforgettable holiday gift, book a flight or voucher over the Yarra Valley and Mansfield and get 30% off the 2nd person on every purchase.
Jenny Schmidt is an event adventurer. When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling the latest craft beer or sipping a creative cocktail.