My cousins gave us a Red Balloon voucher when we got engaged and there was no hesitation to book us into a Hot Air Balloon experience. We took advantage of the Bank Holiday to spend Sunday night up in the Hunter.
Sunday was spent wine tasting and eating cheese. And eat cheese I did. Lots of it. So much so that now on Tuesday I am still feeling sick and bloated from eating too much cheese on Sunday afternoon. That's what happens when lactose intolerant people consume too much lactose. Need to get myself to a pharmacy to get some lactase. Anyway I digress.....
Yoshi, our pilot, inside the baloon!
So cold it mandated a beanie
Monday was a 5am alarm and a 5:45am start. We met at Petersons Winery to check in and drove to the field where we took off. The balloon took 4 men and a huge-ass fire about 45 minutes to set up. We jumped into the basket and we were off!
There was another company flying at the same time as us so I was lucky enough to get photos of their balloon. It's breath-taking being up that high in the sky and being able to see clearly 360 degrees around you (unlike being in a plane). Feeling the wind brush past your face, looking down to see the white 4WD that drove you in get smaller and smaller and then vanish completely.
As the sun rose it started to get a tad warmer and the shadows it made were amazing.
Our balloon's shadow with a mini rainbow surrounding us
It was actually really interesting seeing how the pilot navigated our way through. Hot air balloons are truly at the mercy of the wind; all the pilot can control is how up or down we go but sideways movements are dictated by the wind.
It actually took us an extra 20 minutes to land because only certain open fields are available for landing (they are all private properties so permission needs to be sought from the owner).
We eventually landed, packed up the balloon and headed for Petersons Winery where we indulged in a champagne before/with breakfast.
A few quick wine tastings before we jumped back in the car and headed back to Sydney!