8 Places that are Better by Balloon
Published 30 March 2016
What better way to experience a landscape than by balloon: a gentle, relaxing and romantic flight over mountains, plains or even a city, often at sunrise or sunset? It’s the ultimate honeymoon activity, a great way to admire the scenery and turn a holiday into the journey of a lifetime. Here are eight of our favourite ballooning hotspots:
Yarra Valley, Australia
Take off and watch the sunrise over the gently rolling vines of the Yarra Valley, one of Australia’s best known wine-growing regions. Back on solid ground, toast the new day with a glass of sparkling wine. Within a couple of hours’ drive of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is a popular day trip for city-dwellers.
Fly high with our Boutique Victoria Journey, which includes a Yarra Valley hot-air balloon flight and a Champagne breakfast.
Gain a unique perspective on the vast plains of the Serengeti and spot zebra, giraffe and elephants from above. If you’re lucky enough to be here during the great wildebeest migration (September to November), you can watch the chaos as the million-strong herds dodge the crocodiles and frantically cross the Mara River into Kenya’s Masai Mara.
Add a Serengeti hot-air balloon safari to your East Africa Discovery Journey (coming soon).
Queenstown, New Zealand
Begin your ride at dawn and drift over the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu on a balloon ride from Queenstown. With miles and miles of gorgeous scenery stretching before you, you’ll understand why Peter Jackson shot Lord of the Rings here. Look out for the Ford of Bruinen and The Gates of Argonath filming locations.
Stay in Queenstown on our Best of the South Island Journey.
Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
Soar above the Irrawaddy River and gaze upon endless Buddhist temples, pagodas and stupas peeking out from the early morning mist. Bagan is pretty impressive from the ground, but from the air it’s a different story altogether, with the vast landscape of 2,200 monuments spread out as far as the eye can see.
See the view for yourself with our Complete Burma Small-Group Journey (coming soon).
Napa Valley, USA
Jump onboard your hot-air balloon and soar over the treetops of the delightful Napa Valley, its sun-drenched hills carpeted in vineyards. Touch down to an opulent champagne breakfast in this gorgeous wine-growing region, known for its quality cabernet.
Sample the wines of the Napa Valley with our Tastes of California Journey.
Albuquerque is famous for its International Balloon Fiesta, held each October, a nine-day celebration featuring over 500 hot-air balloons in various colours and imaginative shapes. Take to the skies over the Rio Grande and see what all the fuss is about.
Albuquerque is an optional day trip on our Texas in Depth Journey.
Monument Valley, USA
Fly high above the huge monoliths and sandstone towers of Monument Valley and take in the sheer size of the place by hot-air balloon, with the endless expanse of the russet-hued landscape stretching to the horizon and beyond.
Check out the view on our Red Rock & Roulette Journey, which includes a stay in Monument Valley.
Hot-air ballooning over the Namib Desert near Sossusvlei is an amazing way to welcome a new dawn. See the world’s largest dunes, all shades of purple, orange and apricot, and keep your eyes peeled for the occasional leopard.
Namibia’s capital Windhoek is a two-hour flight from Johannesburg. Speak to our Round the World Experts team to find out more about adding Namibia into your Africa itinerary.