February 14, 2018
Spectacular by name, spectacular by nature - look out Canberra skyline, the balloons are coming for you! From 10-18 March 2018, the Canberra Balloon Spectacular will take over the skies of the nation’s capital in a breathtaking celebration of colour and beauty.
Over nine stunning autumn mornings, passengers can experience the thrill of hot air ballooning over Canberra at sunrise while spectators on the ground are treated to an experience of the senses.
Whether you’re a seasoned festival-goer or a first time visitor – never fear! We’ve got the lowdown on the best places to take in the action.
Pilots begin inflating their balloons on the lawns of Old Parliament House from 6.15am each day before ascending into the sky to create an exhilarating backdrop to our city’s most iconic national attractions. Get up close and personal and witness the hot air balloons come to life as they inflate right before your eyes. Afterwards, stick around for a delicious hot breakfast or a well-deserved caffeine hit, and enjoy live music on weekends and public holidays.
Lake Burley Griffin is privy to some of the most spectacular views to take in the Canberra Balloon Spectacular. Set up camp with a coffee or go for a stroll and watch as they float past some of our most renowned national attractions.
A great way to get out on the water is to rent a self-drive, sustainable, electric picnic boat from GoBoat to enjoy the spectacle above you. Like to mix your spectating with a bit of fitness? Take to the lake! Stand Up Paddleboarding is a great way to take in the balloons – you might not even notice you’re getting your exercise in for the day!
Given the right wind conditions, the National Arboretum is an amazing location to take in the beauty of the balloons as they float on by. (Don’t worry if the balloons are being uncooperative – you’ll still get an amazing view of the city and lake!) The sprout café in the Village Centre is also opening early at 7:30am on weekends during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular for any early risers needing a coffee or three.
You are spoilt for choice with lots of lookouts surrounding the festival launch site and offering incredible vantage points. For picture-perfect views of Canberra, you can’t go past a visit to Mount Ainslie. Get up extra early to walk, cycle or drive to the lookout and enjoy the impressive scenery, as well as the balloons. Mount Pleasant Lookout, Red Hill Lookout and Black Mountain also offer beautiful outlooks, but, as always, the path the balloons will take depends on weather conditions.