Hot air ballooning in Western AustraliaOn 23. November 2019 by Cookie
We’re both not very adventurous. Some time ago, we had a chat about what kind of things we would dare to do. Bungee Jumping? Surely not. Paragliding? Nah. But hot air ballooning, we agreed, we would both do that. So what would be more fitting than going for a hot air balloon flight in Western Australia?
Windward Balloon Adventures: Hot air ballooning in Western Australia
It’s not difficult to decide the tour you’re going to make in WA. There is only one provider, and that is Windward Balloon Adventures in Northam. But as they had really good reviews on the internet, that did not bother me too much.
We were not quite sure about our itinerary, so we only tried to book a few day in advance, for the beginning of october. At first they told us they were sold out, but the nice lady proposed to put us on a waiting list, in case there were more inquiries. In that case they would add a second balloon to the tour on that morning. And indeed, the same afternoon, she contacted me again to tell me we were going. Payment by credit card, no problem at all.
An early start
Because of the local climate, only a small timeframe of about an hour around sunrise is a good time for a hot air balloon flight. After that, when the surface gets hotter, the thermal influences are too strong. Same in regards to the season – they only fly in winter, in summer, the winds are too strong. So that meant an early start, because we met at 4:30 a.m. in the flight hangar.
There, we were instructed and put into two 4WD vehicles. We were lucky – as we had booked last, we were in the group for the smaller balloon. There is space for 8 persons in the basket, whereas the bigger balloon has space for 20 persons.
On the drive to the designated starting point, the pilots were in constant contact. They had an eye on the temperature, the wind speed and direction. When we arrived, they meticulously checked the conditions again, before we started to fill up the balloons. It was still dark, the dawn was breaking, and it was quite a sight.
Total silence while we glide over the landscape
When we finally lifted off, we were absolutely flashed by the silence of the flight. The only thing you hear ist the loud sound of the flame, and the barking of the dogs on the ground. The dogs seemed to never get used to the balloons, our pilot told us, even though they flew over the town every morning.
I was baffled by the change of perspective. How interesting all the things look from above. Sheep and cows, the tracks they make. Houses and buildings, a cemetery, a prison.
A little less than an hour later, we arrived at our destination. Our vehicle already waited there. The pilots had kept the drivers constantly informed about where they were going to land.
The landing was soft (even though we were instructed beforehand about how to hold onto the basket while landing) and soon we had firm ground under our feet again. All together we helped pack the balloons and stowed them on the trailers.
Although in the balloon itself it does not get cold (no wind chill, as you are travelling with the wind, and also the flame), we were tired and exhausted from the many impressions. That’s why at the end of the tour the participants are treated to a breakfast in a restaurant in Northam.
There we were given our Certificate of Flight and we had the opportunity to get the photos and videos of the balloon camera and the flight tracker data. That was a really nice service – I’m quite sure a lot of other providers would charge extra for that.
Hot air ballooing in Western Australia? Absolutely!
That was one of the most impressive things we have done on our travels. And Windward was a really good company to do this tour with. So to everybody who thinks about going hot air ballooning in Western Australia: Go for it!