We hope this ballooning resource will help answer your questions that you might have about what its like to fly in a hot air balloon, some of the regulation and rules that CASA puts in place for hot air ballooning in Australia and about booking your trip with Hot Air
Why do Hot Air Balloon flights take place so early in the morning?
It’s a great time to be up and the mornings are just spectacular. Besides balloons need cool stable calm winds to operate effectively and the hours following sunrise are the most suitable before the heat of the day. As hot air balloons are the only form of flight which moves with the wind, the weather is most important. The pilot cannot directly steer but chooses heights carefully to utilise wind currents to sail towards the closest, most appropriate landing site.
How many people will be in the balloon basket?
Every day is different in ballooning, the number of passengers and size of our balloon baskets always vary. We fly baskets from 6 to 10 to 16 to 20 persons in a basket, and we are only able to determine how many people in a hot air balloon basket the evening before a flight when our flight planning commences. Everywhere in the balloon basket each passenger gets a 360 degree view. Of course, the number of balloons we fly also varies every day and it's always fun when there's 2 or 3 or 4 balloons as part of the spectacular scenery. If you choose a Private Charter you will not be sharing with other people (Cairns/Port Douglas).
What do I bring on a morning, hot air ballooning?
Dress as for a casual walk in the bush, sensible sturdy shoes are recommended. We suggest you bring sunglasses, a hat/cap and dress in layered clothing. During the morning as the sun comes up, the day will become warmer.
Remember there is so much to see from an entirely new perspective, you will want to record it all to relive later, your own camera or video camera are welcomed on board. Don’t forget your cash or credit card (M, V) for that extra special souvenir of your fantastic hot air balloon experience.
Of course if you choose to add on another Cairns Tour or Gold Coast Tour such as a Theme Park or a Great Barrier Reef tour after ballooning, please bring your swimming outfit, a change of clothes, sunscreen and towel.
Where do Hot Air fly?
Hot Air choses their take off locations for their excellent conditions throughout the year, as well as their spectacular scenery. Hot Air Balloons are weather dependent, however Hot Air’s locations, a drive west of the Australian east coast - either on the Atherton Tablelands which is one of the most reliable in the world for ballooning or over the Gold Coast Hinterland. The Atherton Tablelands are a sub-tropical haven located one hours drive west of Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. The Gold Coast Hinterland shares many similarities for it's temperate weather and it's stable wind conditions.
Why should I choose to go hot air ballooning in Queensland, Australia?
Hot Air and the ballooning industry in Queensland, offer excellent value and the most reliable hot air balloon departures in Australia. Letters, faxes and e-mails from Hot Air passengers confirm that many of them see ballooning as a highlight of their holiday and some tell us it’s they had the best experience of their life! It’s a great way to start the day!
What are Hot Air Balloons made of?
Balloons are made of ripstop nylon supported on an air-frame of wires and high grade webbings.
How is a hot air balloon inflated?
The envelope is stretched out and attacked to the basket. A powerful fan is used to inflate the envelope with cold air firstly. When partially inflated, a burner heats the air and the envelope rises above the basket. With further heating, there is sufficient 'lift' for the hot air balloon to fly.
How tall is a hot air balloon?
Hot Air Balloons may be up to 30 metres tall.
How is a Hot Air Balloon steered?
Hot Air Balloons cannot be steered! Some directional control is possible by ascending or descending into air currents going in a different direction, this information is checked prior to take off be releasing a small helium balloon and checking up to date weather reports. The pilot can raise or lower the hot air balloon by controlling the temperature inside the balloon.
Can anyone do it?
Whether you are nine or ninety, you can go hot air ballooning. Hot Air has flown passengers of all ages.
What about Vertigo - I hate heights?
A Hot Air Balloon flight is very gentle and stable and because you start from the ground and gently lift up, rather than looking off the edge of a building - there is quiet a different sensation. We recommend you try it – so many of our passengers attest to how surprised at how comfortable and safe they felt flying with Hot Air.
How high does a Hot Air Balloon fly?
Most balloonists enjoy low-level flight as more can be seen. We often see Wallabies and other wildlife in the bushland surrounding creeks. The typical hot air balloon flight would be anywhere from tree level to approximately 3,000 ft.
How far does a hot air balloon fly?
Anywhere from 5 to 30 kilometers, depending upon wind speed and flight duration, take off location depends on the wind directions around the district at the time.
Is wind required to fly?
No, but most balloonists prefer about 6-8 km per hour surface wind.
What do you hear whilst you’re flying?
You travel with the wind - so when the burner is off, it is completely quiet. It’s easy to hear sounds drifting up from below you, dogs barking, birds singing etc.
What regulations are in Place?
Hot Air Balloons are required to be fully registered aircraft with the Australian Civil Aviation and Safety Authority and are subject to regular airworthiness checks by authorised personnel. Pilots need to have different levels of experience before they are allowed to progress to larger balloons and this again is carefully monitored by CASA. Each commercial operation must operate with a nominated Chief Pilot and under an Air Operators Certificate from CASA.
What is the minimum age a child can fly in a hot air balloon?
The minimum age for a child to fly in a Hot Air Balloon is 4 years. There is no minimum height or weight required. Children aged 0-3 years may accompany but can not fly. Child preices apply for children aged 4-14 years inclusive.
Are the prices for each tour per adult?
Yes, the prices listed on our website are per person (listed as per adult and per child). Excluding Wedding and Private Charters which have different price structures listed on their tour pages.
Which hotel and places do we pick up from?
Transfers are included for most of our tour options. More information regarding transfers can be found by clicking on these locations: Cairns, Port Douglas, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Mareeba
What time does ballooning get back?
Return times vary for each location and indivual tour. Gold Coast and Brisbane tour return times are approximately 10.30am. Cairns and Port Douglas tour return times are approximately 9.30am. Please refer to the itinerary pages for each tour for a better indication of return times.
How long before I want to fly should I book?
Due to popularity with locals as well as visitors, we suggest booking ahead, a week to 3 days is suggested and if you want a particular date, book one week to two weeks ahead. All tickets are 100% refunable and transferable and valid one year (subject to our cancellation policy).
Are the balloon flights at sunrise?
Hot Air Balloon flights in Australia are at dawn because this is the time of day that provides the optimum weather conditions for launching balloons. Depending on many operational factors, which vary each day, passengers may be on the ground during inflation or in the balloon when the sun is rising. Either way, the Australian sky during the first hour of light is always amazing.