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Canberra Balloon Spectacular: what you need to know

VisitCanberra and HerCanberra Team

Spectacular by name, spectacular by nature – look out Canberra skyline, the balloons are coming for you!

From Saturday 11 until Sunday 19 March, the Canberra Balloon Spectacular will take over the skies of the nation’s capital in a breathtaking celebration of colour and beauty.

Over nine stunning autumn mornings, pilots begin inflating their balloons on the lawns of Old Parliament House from 6.15am each day before ascending into the sky to create an exhilarating backdrop to our city’s most iconic national attractions.

The best places to see the balloons


Image: Martin Ollman


Whether you’re a seasoned festival-goer or a first time visitor – never fear! We’ve got the lowdown on the best places to take in the action.

The lawns of Old Parliament House

Get up close and personal and witness the hot air balloons come to life as they inflate and take off from the lush lawns of Old Parliament House. Afterwards, stick around for some breakfast or a well-deserved caffeine hit.

Around the shores of  Lake Burley Griffin

Lake Burley Griffin boasts some of the most amazing views to take in the Canberra Balloon Spectacular. Set up camp with a coffee or go for a stroll and watch as they float past some of our most renowned national attractions.

On the lake

Like to mix your spectating with a bit of fitness? Take to the lake! Stand Up Paddleboarding is a great way to take in the balloons – you might not even notice you’re getting your exercise in for the day!

National Arboretum Canberra

Given the right wind conditions, the National Arboretum is an amazing location to take in the beauty of the balloons as they float on by (Don’t worry if the balloons are being uncooperative – you’ll still get an amazing view of the city and lake!)

In a Hot Air Balloon!

For a truly immersive experience, take in the action from a balloon! Balloon Aloft (02 6285 1540) and Dawn Drifters (02 6285 4450) offer daily flights, and there is no better time to experience a gentle flight over Canberra than during the festival.

Stuff you need to know


Image: Martin Ollman

Hot air ballooning is completely weather dependent.

Events may be delayed or cancelled if the conditions are unsafe for flying. A decision to delay activities or cancel them will only be made from 6am each morning.

To find out if the balloons are flying, spectators can phone local radio stations, call Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or follow Events ACT on Twitter and Facebook during the Festival.

The best time to get there

Balloons take between 15-30mins to inflate, depending on their size. Inflation usually commences at 6.15am with the majority of the balloons launched prior to 7.00am. The early bird catches the worm.

Parking is in hot demand

Parking in the Parliamentary Zone is the best option for those driving to the event. Kings Edward Terrace will be closed from Parkes Place East to Parkes Place West from 5.45am to approximately 9.45am each day of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular.

Standard ACTION bus timetables apply for the event. Visit for timetables and routes.

Mr Papa will be there!

So exciting, it deserves its own sub-heading! Mr Papa will be making its breakfast debut, serving up Nutella Burrito (OMG…nutella, strawberries, banana with optional ice cream and corn flakes) and Chori Burrito (scrambled eggs, chorizo, spinach, beans).

Don’t forget

Your camera – to capture all the stunning balloons.

Cash – if you’d to purchase breakfast or a cuppa. As well as Mr Papa, the Belconnen Lions Club’s hot breakfast will be available for purchase at the event each morning, and hot beverages and Dutch pancakes will also be available. ATM facilities will be available at the balloon field on weekends and the Monday public holiday.

Warm clothing – the early mornings can be chilly!

For all the latest Canberra Balloon Spectacular action, be sure to be following Visit Canberra’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out the #visitcanberra hashtag.



At VisitCanberra, Canberra’s official tourism and destination marketing organisation, we are passionate about promoting the city as a travel destination and bringing visitors to our capital. When you take a trip to Canberra, prepare for one good thing after another. Because whether it’s world-class wining and dining, iconic national treasures or breathtaking natural beauty, everything you’re after is there and just moments away. Find us at or follow us on social media @visitcanberra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and on Pinterest @ CanberraTourism. More about the Author


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