A pink hot air balloon ride on the Gold Coast was not on my list when I first arrived. After a couple of days biking my way around Mermaid Waters and Broadbeach, I realised that the city of Gold Coast is much bigger and different than what I expected.
The Gold Coast of Australia is not only high rises, shopping malls, and the bustling life at Surfers Paradise is much more than that. The whole area encompasses over 45 km of land and waterways stretching from Southport down south to Coolangatta along a varied landscape with sandy beaches, national parks with headlands, creek mouths, lakes, inlets and a myriad of little islands.
Why go on a Gold Coast Hot Air balloon ride
There are undoubtedly many ways to explore the great outdoors of the Gold Coast from the ground, like surfing, swimming, walking and biking, and more, but it gives you a different perspective of place when you see it from the air and adds that extra thrill that is hard to match. Like me, if you don’t fancy extreme adventures and are not into skydiving, then a Gold Coast hot air balloon ride is the right thing for you.
If you have been following me for a while, you know that I experienced a hot air balloon ride in Melbourne last year and loved every minute of it.
While I am house sitting on the Gold Coast, I got hooked on a photo someone posted on Instagram, and within seconds I knew that was the adventure for me. A few days later, I was booked into a Go Ballooning Gold Coast ride.
The Pink Hot Air Balloon thrill – what’s all about
Hot air balloon rides on the Gold Coast are indeed a thrilling experience. Despite the early rise in the middle night (alarm clock set at 3.50 am), it is worthwhile. When you are floating over the city, waking to a new day from the air is such a rewarding feeling that pays off.
The company behind this tour started operating on the Gold Coast in October 2015 using the largest, ever manufactured, pink hot air balloon. Since then, they have flown over the Gold Coast 120 times. The balloon’s pink colour is not a chance; the reason behind it is that they are raising funds and supporting the McGrath Foundation, a Breast Cancer Care Nurses foundation that helps Australian women in their battle against breast cancer as increasing cancer awareness among young Australians women.
My experience with Go Ballooning Gold Coast
Go Ballooning Gold Coast is very much like a surprise adventure. In fact, till the last minute, you don’t know where you will be flying, what you will be seeing and where you will be landing, as wind weather conditions decide the direction and the height.
The pink hot air balloon is enormous. It stands at over 13 stories tall and has a basket that is nearly 5.5 meters long. I had not been on a big one like this before. With a maximum lifting capacity of almost 4 tonnes and equipped with 4 x 5000 horsepower burners, this giant hot air pink balloon can easily lift to 25 people. We were 19 on our air balloon flight, and I was amazed at how quickly it got inflated with hot air.
Around 6.00 am, we were all set and ready to take off from Pizzey Park in Miami. We gently floated over Mermaid Waters, Broadbeach, along Surfers Paradise at about 1000 feet to reach over to Southport and Runaway Bay at a maximum height of 2500 feet.
What to expect from a hot air balloon ride of the Gold Coast
To experience the Gold Coast from the air is impressive. The scenery looks pretty much like a huge lagoon with a myriad of canals and quirky shaped-islets. Ballooning the Gold Coast made me realise that the place where I am staying is surrounded by water.
Our one-hour hot air balloon flight took us slightly inland towards Lake Coombabah, from where we could enjoy a magnificent view of the bay with Seaworld, the Spit, the Gold Coast high rises in the background and lake Coombabah just below us. Indeed a pretty picture of the city of Gold Coast.
As we flew past the Boat Show premises and the Gold Coast City Marina, we are “right on our target” for a safe, slightly bumping landing at William Guise Foxwell Park.
A few words about Go Ballooning
Murray, director of the tour and our pilot, with over 1500 flights in 15 years, is the youngest pilot in Australia to hold the Chief Pilot Authority – Australia’s highest form of commercial licence – so now you know you will be in good hands when flying over the Gold Coast with Go Ballooning.
Here is a photo collage of my Hot Air Balloon ride on the Gold Coast – for you to pin it on Pinterest.
But there is one more thrilling event coming up next year in June. The Pink Apollo event, when Geoff Wilson and his team will put everything on the line to break the world altitude record by hot air balloon.
The team will attempt to break the 40,000 ft mark in a standard non-pressured balloon. This event will include two world records where three wing-suiters will exit the aircraft when passing through 38,000 ft to break the world distance record by wingsuit.
My experience was very positive, and I had fun with Murray’s super-efficient team, who very kindly offered a lift to bring me and my bike on time to a bike ride adventure on the same morning.
The company Go Ballooning hosted me in exchange for my product review.
All opinions on this article are my own.
If you plan to visit the Gold Coast, read about my Gold Coast Hinterland solo road trip.
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First published in 2018, last updated in Jan 2021
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