While I have been out late at night visiting Canberra’s Enlighten attractions, I have also been getting up before dawn each morning to see the hot air balloons that are also operating here over this long weekend.
On Saturday, out first morning here, I woke up late but quickly threw on some clothes and bolted out the door to get to the site at Old Parliament House where the ballons would be launching at 6.15 am. It had been raining overnight although it wasn’t wet when I left the hotel. I found a car park near the offices of the Treasury and walked across to the lawns outside the Old Parliament House. There was a small crowd and it didn’t take long to find out that the weather was preventing the balloons from flying.
A couple of balloons were beng inflated as static displays but there wasn’t anything that provided a great deal of interest so I soon headed back to the hotel for breakfast. My overall game plan for the three days that we are here was to go to the balloon launch area on the first day and then use the other two mornings to find some other photographic points for a different series of views. Now, I only have one other flying day available, so I need to find a good spot for a landcape view with multiple balloons in the area.
I had more luck on Sunday, our second morning in Canberra – the weather was allowing the balloons fly. I was down at the launch area at 6.00 am, in time for first light. The crowd was much bigger than the previous day and there was lots of activity with vehicles unloading baskets and inflating their giant balloons as people milled all around.
There were about thirty balloons taking off that morning. The first one left around 6.45 am and the last one was in the air by 7.30 am. The area was very busy and people were allowed surprisingly close in. It was very interesting to watch the action. I noticed that most balloons flew low across the trees once they took off, but I didn’t quite understand why.
Today, our last morning in Canberra, we headed down to the shore of Lake Burley Griffin to a park opposite the National Museum. I guessed that the balloons would fly over this way as the breeze was coming from the same direction as on the previous day. There were lots other people also gathered where we were, so it confirmed my idea that we were in a good spot.
Just before 7.00 am, the first balloons started to drift over from the launch site. I cold now see why they flew so low yesterday – they flew low over the water (some even touching down on it) before flying across the lake to Yarralumla. Dozens of people were on the lake in canoes, kayaks and paddle boards with some being able to shake hands with the balloon pilots as they flew past just above the water.
Someone nearby me counted 28 balloons and they formed a wonderful sight as they spread out across the sky. I was thrilled that the morning turned out so well and I had the view that I was hoping for. Seeing a mass of balloons in the air is a wonderful experience and I’m very happy that we chose a good spot to see them. I’m also happy that the weather today was so kind to us.
I took over 160 photos this morning and these are some of them.