Were you the type of kid who fought tooth and nail for the coveted window seat on a short haul plane ride? Yeah, us too. There’s just nothing quite like watching the world disappear below you as you soar off into the clouds above. That is unless you get stuck on the bad side of the plane—you know, the one that always looks out over the ocean, with no land in sight.
Well window-seat lovers, we’ve got good news. Hot air ballooning near Brisbane is the perfect chance to up your flight game, and score 360 degree views of Australia’s lush, sprawling landscape. Treat yourself to a boutique ballooning experience and watch the sunrise over the horizon from a whole new vantage point high in the sky.
Here are our top picks for where to get high near Brisbane—in a hot air balloon, of course. Keep your mind out of the gutter!
Breeze Over Greater Brisbane
Take in a whole new view of Queensland’s River City with this magical flight over Greater Brisbane. At just over 30 minutes from the CBD, your meeting point is just far enough for you to pop on a podcast and finish a cuppa before heading out to meet your flight crew. Once you arrive, lend a hand to help the balloon inflate and receive a briefing on your upcoming adventure. Calm those nervous jitters, then climb in the basket and let the ballooning begin. Enjoy breathtaking views over Ipswich, Somerset, and the Scenic Rim alongside detailed in-flight commentary from your personal pilot. See if you can spot the heritage homes dotting Ipswich city, or the point that defines Flinders Peak. Follow the twists and turns of the Brisbane River, and the peaks and troughs of the Great Dividing Range. Clocking in at an hour’s flight time, you’ll soak in all the sights Greater Brisbane has to offer, before gently landing and heading back to Ipswich for a luxurious restaurant breakfast.
Gaze Down On The Gold Coast Hinterland
Prefer to fly a little further from home? Treat yourself to a magical morning ride over the Gold Coast Hinterland. At just over 40 minutes flight time, you’ll be treated to a stunning sunrise high in the sky as the world wakes up far below. Don’t forget to snap a pic as you pass over the Hinterland’s towering mountain peaks (plus a selfie for good measure). Watch your fellow ballooners sail through the clouds in colourful rides much like your own, before setting back down to enjoy a full champagne breakfast at O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Vineyards. Gorge on a tasty spread of eggs, bacon, pastries, cereal, fresh juice, and fruit, washed down with a glass of celebratory bubbles. After a ride like that, you’ve certainly earned it!
Float Through The Sky On A Coastal Cruise
Departs: Gold Coast
For a breathtaking ballooning experience that doesn’t break the bank, treat yourself to a short and snappy coastal cruise. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, there’s just enough time to contrast the green forested mountains with Queensland’s golden beaches, and take in the incredible diversity of the southeast. Watch the sun cast its shine over the rolling hills of the Gold Coast Hinterland and its shimmering waterways as you’re swept along by gentle gusts of wind. The hot air ballooning flight will be over before you know it, so be sure to commemorate your journey by picking up a personalised flight certificate—plus plenty of pics for your Insta feed. Since we can’t go hot air ballooning over Brisbane, this is about the closest you’ll get to catching a city skyline from your floating basket.
Looking for more luxe local adventures? Here are 15 of the best spots to go glamping in Brisbane.
Image credit: Jesse Lindemann/Tourism & Events Queensland