Hot Air in the Hunter

4 05 2008

This weekend, we went with Adri’s family up to the Hunter Valley to celebrate Adri’s mum’s (x)0th birthday. (Actual number withheld)

On Saturday morning we went hot air ballooning. It was fantastic!

It was our first time up in a balloon and I really had no idea of what to expect. The ride itself was very smooth. The pilot varied our altitude between about 100 and 3000 feet and steered us over the Hunter Valley by using the different winds at different altitudes.

We got a spectacular view of the wineries and buildings around the valley. Below is Tower Winery – one of the more la-di-da places.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. At one point the skirt of the balloon caught fire and the pilot had to put it out with a fire extinguisher! I’m glad he was calm about it – I thought we were gawn! (see charred balloon below.

The landing was a little bit rough too. The winds were up, so we were coming in pretty fast. The pilot also managed to bring us in exactly in line with one of the other balloons so he had to dump us nice and quick to avoid running into them. We hit the ground quite hard and were dragged in the basket for about 20-30metres. Great fun!

After the ride we helped pack up the balloon (It all folds down into about the size of a washing machine) and we enjoyed a glass of champagne (as per tradition). The rest of the day was spent checking out some of the wineries. Fantastic!

Highly recommended should you get the chance.

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4 05 2008

It’s the inside of a hot air balloon.

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