Melbourne Hot Air Balloon Rides
By Viator, August 2010
If you're not a morning person, the thought of getting up at 3:45am to jump into a wicker basket and take off into the air might be the stuff of nightmares. But if you steel yourself for the early start and pump yourself full of Melbourne's famous coffee, you'll be oh so glad you did.
This is a fascinating way to sightsee in Melbourne – it's contemplative and exhilarating at the same time and gives you a neat vision of the city's layout – its sculpted metropolis studded with succulent chunks of greenery and a snaking river that gives way to endless suburbs fringed by coast or gentle mountains.
So, are you tempted? A Melbourne balloon flight at sunrise is a glorious way to see the city as it slowly wakes up and starts rolling in to action. Against a pink sky slowly turning blue (and with an optional champagne in hand), you'll glide above the CBD, over labyrinthine inner-city suburbs and weaving train lines, Albert Park lake, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and out towards the broad and leafy suburbs.
For a truly decadent option, you can take a sunrise balloon flight over the Yarra Valley, one of Victoria's premier wine regions. Less than an hour from Melbourne but a visual world away, here you'll float above luscious valleys and mountains, gliding above the hypnotic geometry of almost 90 vineyards and 35 wineries. The breathtaking scenery will certainly give your camera a workout and once you've come in for a landing, a glass of fine Victorian sparkling is the perfect cherry on top.
A couple of tips from those in the know: Ballooning is not as quiet as you'd think. The gas jets are loud – and hot. So wear a hat.