Balloon spotting during the capital’s spectacular

Balloon spotting during the capital’s spectacular

Spectacular by name, spectacular by nature - look out Canberra skyline, the balloons are coming for you! From 9-17 March 2019 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.

  1. The lawns of Old Parliament House

    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.

  2. Get to a lookout

    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.

  3. Around the shores of  Lake Burley Griffin

    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.

  4. Lindsay Pryor National Arboretum

    Given the right wind conditions, the Lindsay Pryor 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!) 

  5. On the lake

    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!

  6. Hot Air Balloons

    For a truly immersive experience, take in the action from a hot air balloon! Balloon Aloft (02 6249 8660) and Dawn Drifters (02 6248 8200) offer daily flights, and there is no better time to experience a gentle flight over Canberra than during the festival.

Please note: Hot air ballooning is completely weather dependent and flights may be delayed or cancelled as a result.


National Capital Authority

The National Capital Authority are the trustees of the National Capital on behalf of the Australian Government and all Australians. They plan and design the nationally significant parts of Canberra; inform and educate all Australians about the importance of Canberra and manage the land, memorials and attractions of the National Capital estate.