Four breathtaking spots to watch the Canberra Balloon Spectacular | HerCanberra

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Four breathtaking spots to watch the Canberra Balloon Spectacular

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Spectacular by name, spectacular by nature—the Canberra Balloon Spectacular (from 12–20 March) sees the capital skyline fill with hot air balloons.

Over nine stunning autumn mornings, passengers can experience the thrill of hot air ballooning over Canberra at sunrise while spectators on the ground are treated to an experience of the senses.

Whether you’re a seasoned festival-goer or a first-time visitor, we’ve got the lowdown on the best places to take in the action.

At the inflation zone

Image: Supplied

Get up close to the action to watch as pilots inflate and launch their balloons at Patrick White Lawns. Enjoy hot drinks and breakfast served up by local food trucks in the inflation zone when gates open from 5.45 am each day.

The inflation zone is free for spectators to attend. Expect more than the usual balloon shapes at this iconic festival.

On the lake

Credit: Tim Bean.

Don a captain’s hat and sail a boat underneath the balloons. The view from a sustainable, electric GoBoat is almost too amazing to believe. Hire one of these eco-friendly boats and be sure to bring a picnic breakfast to fuel your morning adventure.

For those who like to start their day with a daily dose of exercise, Stand Up Paddleboarding is another popular way to experience the festival. Enjoy a guided sunrise paddle to race the pilots across the lake.

Around the shores of Lake Burley Griffin

Credit: Matt Witcombe.

Lake Burley Griffin is privy to some of the most spectacular 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.

Rond Terrace is a particularly stunning vantage spot to watch the balloons inflate and take to the sky. After a spectacular morning, head to a local café for a well-deserved brunch and cuppa.

From the basket of a hot air balloon

Canberra Balloon Spectacular. Credit: Martin Ollman.

For a truly immersive experience, take in the action from a hot air balloon. Balloon Aloft (02 6249 8660) and Dawn Drifters (02 6248 8200) offer daily flights, and there is no better time to experience a gentle flight over Canberra than during the festival.

No matter where you enjoy the festival from, there are two golden rules to follow—check with Enlighten Festival each morning to see if the balloons will fly and be a COVID-Safe festival fan.


Hot air ballooning is completely weather-dependent and flights may be delayed or cancelled.

Daily announcements regarding whether balloons will launch and fly are made at 6.15 am and published on Enlighten Festival’s website, as well as on Enlighten Festival’s Facebook and Instagram.

Remember, it is everyone’s responsibility to follow the health advice and do what we can to ensure we keep ourselves and the community safe.

All festival fans are asked to avoid large crowds, keep 1.5m apart whenever possible, maintain good hand and respiratory hygiene, stay home if unwell and get tested if any COVID-19 symptoms are experienced. 

Feature image: Matt Witcombe.

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