Canberra Balloon Spectacular – Bring a smile to your face!

by Steven Chater from Trip Plan Australia. Check out Trip Plan’s free Itinerary Planner that will help you make the most of your next road trip through regional and outback Australia.

There is always plenty to see and do when visiting Canberra. The week with Canberra Day in it, held on the second Monday of March each year, is extra special as there are many events on celebrating the naming ceremony of our national capital.

Last year we visited Canberra during Festival Week with two aims – one to check out the new National Arboretum, with the second and main aim to see the hot-air balloons take off.

Road trip planner Australia - View to Canberra's CBD from Dairy Farmers Hill in the Arboretum

View to Canberra’s CBD from Dairy Farmers Hill in the Arboretum

The ballooners are early starters so that meant staying close to where they were taking off, scheduled for the lawns of Old Parliament House at around 6:00am. Wouldn’t you know it – not enough wind, so the take-off area was shifted to next to the lake across from the entry to the Arboretum. Just as well we had visited the previous afternoon so we knew where to go – but we still got lost going around circles in Yarralumla!

We turned up just as the first balloons were starting to inflate.

Road trip planner Australia - Inflating the balloons

Inflating the balloons

The overseas stars of the show last year were Yoda and Angry Bird. They arrived a bit later than the locals, as no doubt they had trouble with Canberra roads too! But they were soon firing up with the rest.

Road trip planner Australia - Yoda is coming to life

Yoda is coming to life

Road trip planner Australia - Yoda's getting there – come on Angry Bird!

Yoda’s getting there – come on Angry Bird!

Road trip planner Australia - They're underway – drifiting south

They’re underway – drifiting south

Road trip planner Australia - You can get up close and personal – quite imposing!

You can get up close and personal – quite imposing!

Road trip planner Australia - He's off and away!

He’s off and away!

Road trip planner Australia - Yoda is mixing in nicely with the locals

Yoda is mixing in nicely with the locals

Road trip planner Australia - Just about everyone is up and away – except Angry Bird

Just about everyone is up and away – except Angry Bird

Road trip planner Australia - Come on Angry Bird

Come on Angry Bird

Road trip planner Australia - Right-o. Underway

Right-o. Underway.

Road trip planner Australia - See you later!

See you later!

Our first reaction when we arrived was ‘Wow!’ due to the size and colour of the balloons. It brought smiles to our faces that didn’t leave until we had seen off all the balloons – just a fabulous experience watching them get going; maybe next time a trip in one of them should be on the agenda!

By the way, a visit to the Arboretum is recommended, even though the trees are at an early stage. It’ll be great to call back in over the years to see developments. And the bonsai pavilion is terrific, as is the coffee and views at what they are calling the Village Centre.

Road trip planner Australia - Nest III sculpture at Dairy Farmers Hill looking to the Village Centre

Nest III sculpture at Dairy Farmers Hill looking to the Village Centre

This year, 2016, the Canberra Festival week really gets underway on 12 March, with the public holiday on Monday, 14 March. A good link for more information is http://balloonspectacular.com.au , which has a ‘Tips for Spectators’ page.