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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Love. . . Hot air ballooning

Yes, we finally got airborne with Up, Up and Away on Saturday 7th April, and views like this sunrise were our reward! Hot air ballooning was amazing, an incredible experience and I am so glad we persevered through our 5 previous (failed) attempts to be "6th time lucky!"

The balloon was absolutely vast, and it took almost an hour to inflate it. . .

It is the second largest balloon in New Zealand, with a weight of 380 kg and it inflates to 340,000 cubic feet!
The balloon was made back in the city of my birth - Bristol, by renowned hot air balloon manufacturers Cameron Balloons "the world's most experienced balloon manufacturers."

The views were outstanding. . .

I was a wee bit nervous about the landing, but in the end it was pretty uneventful. The trouble is, hot air balloons don't have landing gear (!!) and once the basket hits the deck the balloon tends to keep going, dragging the basket with it. So the basket often tips right over and you land on your back! Brace position essential! However, we ended up only teetering on the diagonal for a while before the basket righted itself again, and as we dangled there diagonally we all burst out laughing. I certainly never expected the landing to be so funny! The next job was to fold the balloon back up again. . .

and then get the balloon and basket back onto the trailer again. . .

Finally we had the traditional champagne (or Fresh-up!) breakfast, and got anointed on our foreheads by the pilot with a cork dipped in champagne, as he recited the hot air balloonist's blessing!

So, if you ever get the chance to go hot air ballooning, I highly recommend it! It has been a dream of mine since childhood, and I can definitely say it was well worth the wait :) Apart from the necessary blasts of the gas burner, it is such a peaceful sensation, floating quietly along above the scenery, and certainly an experience I will remember for a very long time!

Photo copyright "Up, Up and Away"


  1. Interesting description of the landing. I can imagine you bursting out laughing as a laugh is never far from your lips but it is really saying something that everyone laughed. Did you start them off?

    I will definitely think about doing something like this. Sounds a bit more relaxed than tandem skydiving.

    1. Thanks Mary - I think it was a fairly unanimous laugh of relief that we had made it one piece, and the ridiculousness of dangling there diagonally!
      Yes, give hot air ballooning a go - it's fantastic!

  2. wow thank you so much for sharing that.. what an awesome experience. so pleased you al finally got to go up. cheers teresa

    1. Yes, I got round to blogging about it eventually - bit behind with the blog at the moment, but hot air ballooning was amazing, and we got some incredible views - it was hard to only pick a few photos to include!