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Balloon Spectacular delights CBR families

Alexandra Tolmie

Nothing heralds the start of autumn in Canberra for me like the sight of hot air balloons drifting gracefully across Lake Burley Griffin in the crisp morning air. I have extremely fond memories of my Mum bundling three sleepy kids into the car before dawn, all rugged up in beanies and gloves to see the Canberra Balloon Spectacular.

The must-see Canberra event is almost as old as I am, this year celebrating its 29th year of playing a critical part in our cultural landscape. Held over nine days, pilots begin to spread out and inflate their balloons on the lawns of Old Parliament House from 6.15 am each day before ascending into the sky. It is indeed spectacular to watch the balloons inflate and take flight, creating a moving artwork against the backdrop of our beautiful city.

I dutifully carried on the family tradition, bundling my own sleepy toddlers in their pyjamas and beanies into the car to go and see the balloons. Upon arrival their excitement was palpable and they couldn’t wait to jump out and watch the balloons inflate. Unfortunately, the weather was ‘too calm’ so the balloons were unable to take off into the sky (in case they ended up stranded over the lake). A few particularly keen enthusiasts bundled up their balloons and headed off to a different embarkation point, but most of them inflated and stayed tethered to entertain the crowds.

My kids loved the Angry Birds balloon and the Yoda balloon, but interestingly it was the whole experience they seemed to soak up the most—from people watching to puppy spotting. They also enjoyed being able to just chill out in the stroller munching on their breakfast and watching the world go by.

I highly recommend this as a fun activity for families. Even if the balloons don’t take off it’s such a fun morning out. But you’ve only one more chance to catch these amazing and colourful balloons in flight before they leave us for another year. Rug up for a crisp Canberra morning, pack snacks for your little ones and a thermos for yourself because the queues for food and coffee are pretty epic.

Get there early so you can watch the balloons from go to whoa!

The essentials
What: Canberra Balloon Spectacular
When: Every morning from 6.15am Until 15 March
Where: Laws of Old Parliament House — King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Web: balloonspectacular.com.au


Alex Tolmie

Alex is the founder and co-chair of the Department of Education and Training Women's Network and a mum of two gorgeous little girls. She has overcome big challenges as a new mother and now loves to help others become confident, joyful mamas themselves. She blogs about her experience at draxela.com More about the Author

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