3:30 a.m. I jump out of bed. The window that usually shines bright with the rising sun is still completely dark. I can see some stars behind the tall buildings. I bundle up in my winter jacket, hat, gloves, and scarf, and walk out the door at 4. It’s a rare occasion that I wake up before sun does, but this is an exceptionally special occasion. I’m going on a hot air balloon ride!
We drove the 45 minutes from the Gold Coast to Canungra, our meeting place. It was a foggy winter morning in the Southern Hemisphere and unfortunately for me and a bus full of tourists, we had to wait a half hour for the fog to clear. Finally we got the okay sign and met our beautiful balloons at the launching site. The balloons were inflating by the time we got there. The sun was already up, but the sky was still glowing orange, post-sunrise.
Hot air balloons are the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology. Now we use them for recreation, but they have been the tool of challenge for many decades since its first flight in 1783. Pioneers always wanted to go further and higher, and hot air balloon adventures have been a part of it. Hot air balloons have crossed the ocean, and traveled around the globe. The human desire to fly and explore the world has continued to this day.
We flew over the picturesque hinterland of Queensland for a half an hour. The air was calm and crisp, like a winter morning should be. Our pilot controlled the balloon up and down whilst letting the wind take us. We floated over farms, looking down over the Advancetown Lake and hinterland. I felt like I was a part of Disney movie at one point. When ducks ran away from the shadow of the balloon, I could almost hear ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in the background.
The tour continued to O’Reilly’s Vinyard for a glass of champagne and breakfast. This is from the tradition of the old days, when people celebrated a successful hot air balloon flight with champagne.
Flying is a basic human desire from the olden days. That’s why we now get to enjoy airplanes, hot air balloons, hang-gliding, and so on. Of course, the hot air balloon ride is more intimate than flying in an airplane. There’s no window or seat belt, and you can feel the hot air whenever the pilot pumps the gas.
It was totally worth waking up at 3:30 a.m.
#This post is a part of #ThisisQueensland #Room753 campaign in collaboration with Tourism and Events Queensland. All opinions are my own.
To read more posts from this campaign, please click — #Room753.
You can experience the hot air ballooning yourself with Hot Air Gold Coast.