I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised that most people want to hot air balloon during the warmer seasons. It seems reasonable to assume that the air temperature drops as soon as you leave the ground, and who wants to freeze when you are supposed to be enjoying a new experience.
The reality is somewhat the opposite. Step aboard a balloon during the hot summer months and you will quickly realise why we call it Hot Air ballooning. The combination of the warm ambient temperature, often 20oC with the fierce heat radiated by the balloon powerful burner often makes flying conditions uncomfortable for both passengers and flight crew.
Choose to fly in the cooler months and you will be rewarded with a combination of cool mornings and beautiful flying conditions. At this time of the year the air temperature increases as the balloon rises above the ground. So whilst you may need a jacket when on the ground often you will find yourself taking it off above 1000ft and soaking up the warmth of both the sun and the radiated heat from the balloons burner.
There are other bonuses with flying during the cool months. With less humidity trapped in the air you can both further and it’s clearer. Winds are generally a little stronger as well so the distances travelled are usually greater. But the best part is that with sunrise being later we get to spend more time snuggled up in bed before we embark on our airborne adventure.
We look forward to welcoming you aboard.
What! No engine or steering wheel on this thing.
Maybe it’s this very fact that makes balloon flight so appealing. In this age of the Nanny State where your every movement is monitored, scrutinized and criticized it comes as pleasant relief to just climb into a wicker basket, fire up the burner, heat the balloon up to boiling point and go Up Up and Away from it all.
These days there are very few activities that allow this sort of freedom. Back in the good old days you would have tried motorcycling, water skiing or un protected sex to stimulate the senses and get the blood rushing. But regulations, insurance and STD’s took some of the ‘fun’ out of that fun.
Now I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said there are no rules & regulations concerning hot air ballooning. There are sections in Libraries full of books of the boring stuff and agencies overflowing with people administrating the thing. But it’s really all smoke and mirrors because you can’t write laws telling Mother Nature and her friend the Weather what to do.
And this is why ballooning gives people that sense of freedom. Who doesn’t just want to bugger off one day in no particular direction and see what you see and see who you meet. I do and that’s why I’m still doing it after 28 years.
It’s funny how people believe that you have to travel vast distances from home before you find something worthwhile or different. When something rather special is just down the road.
The Hawkesbury is on such place. A mere 60km from Sydney’s Harbour bridge the region extends from Palm Beach through the Blue Mountains. So get everyone in the car we’re going for a day trip and explore what this area has to offer.
Lets start at Mooney Mooney bridge on the M1 heading north to Newcastle. But on this adventure your best to travel up the Pacific Hwy to get there. A pleasant windy road popular with motor cyclists. It’s well worth dropping in at the Road Warriors Cafe where the bikers stop for some good food and coffee and a perve at the bikes.
From here continue up to Peats Ridge where you can stop at Glenworth Valley and do a whole bunch of outdoor activities but today we want to drive Mangrove Mountain through Spencer along the northerns side of the Hawkesbury to St Albans for lunch. Good food and beer to be had at this old English style pub but you may find the staff a bit well, Fawlty Towers.
From there we continue to loop around to Wisemans Ferry. If you liked views along the drive so far you will love this stretch of road. If you fancy yourself as driver you will love it even more. And at the end of it you get to ride on a ferry.
Once off the ferry the pub is worth a visit particularly on a weekend when they have music playing. But don’t drink too much because the best of the drive is ahead of you. Where you came off the ferry turn right and follow the River Rd through Lower Portland to the Sackville ferry to Windsor. If your not enjoying yourself by now and are not blown away by the views check that you have a heart beat.
The drive so far would have taken a relaxing 4- 5 hours so it’s wirth taking some time to stretch the legs around the historical Townships or Windsor and Richmond. There are still a few old historical places standing from the old days but it really is the natural features of this area that stand out.
From here it is less than a hour back to Sydney CBD but for those wanting more why not stay the night and enjoy some of the activities the area has to offer.
Hot air ballooning is just one of them. This area is something special viewed from the air. More English than Australian some say with the blend of river, mountain, farms, forest and countryside that makes it unique. But if flying isn’t your thing here are some other things to try;
Southern Cross Kayaking
Indy 800 Kart Track
Farm Gate Trail
Tobruk Sheep Station
Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens
Australian Pioneer Village