2022 Newsfeed

Up, up and away: the Canberra Balloon Spectacular from the water

Arriving when it’s dark, capturing the balloons as they float above Lake Burley Griffin and even found a cute little friend on my morning paddle. (Image: Maddi Green)

That 5 A.M. alarm clock is often not welcomed year round, but when it’s March in Canberra, the misty mornings transform into the most perfect orange sunrise with hot air balloons filling the sky.

The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is a unique annual experience in the Nation’s Capital. Inaugurated in 1986, balloons of all shapes and sizes rise from the lawns of Old Parliament House and glide over the cityscape, carrying passengers above iconic landmarks.

The 2022 event kicked off on March 12th and saw thousands of Canberrans flock to view the balloons transform from blobs of material on the Patrick White Lawns to spectacular take-offs, as they voyaged over Lake Burley Griffin witnessed by spectators floating and paddling on the misty waters of Lake Burley Griffin.

GoBoats, SUPs, Kayaks and Dragon Boaters in convoy made their way to prime location between Yarralumla and Kings Ave Bridge, where before they knew it, the sun rose to show the sky filled with balloons of all varieties. A particularly special moment for these enthusiasts was when one of the balloons came down to kiss the top of the water, navigated by an incredible pilot.

Founder of GoBoat Australia, Nick Tyrrell, said, “Canberra is the only place in the world you can experience the vista of dozens of hot air balloons from the vantage point of an electric picnic boat! It’s such a uniquely Canberran experience and we’re proud to be a part of it.”

Craig Farrell, now in his 38th year of flying hot air balloons, flew the featured balloon in 2022, Tico the Sloth. Farrell loves seeing all the watercraft below as he drifts over Lake Burley Griffin. He said, “there are so many balloons and watercrafts in one place, it’s just a perfect match and when you add the perfect sunrise you have a perfect recipe”.

“Canberra is a scenic city and it’s unusual to have a large balloon event in a capital city, so this event is one of the best”

Canberra based travel blogger @travel_ling said, “There are so many great vantage points to watch the Balloon Spectacular, but when you are on the water, not only can you watch the balloons float right over you and beside you at water level, you can have a picnic with friends while doing so. The bonuses are the unobstructed views and great shooting angles, plus an enjoyable morning on the lake, long after the balloons have floated away”.

The 2022 Canberra Balloon Spectacular floated away so quickly that Canberrans will have to wait until March 2023 to see what the event will have to offer then. Will we welcome back Tico the Sloth or will we see a new friend flying over the Nation’s Capital? And what better way to do that than positioned on Lake Burley Griffin.