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One of the longest running hot air balloon events in the world, the Canberra Balloon Spectacular is a family-friendly event full of colour and movement on a grand scale.

By Allie Metz

For nine days the national monuments of Canberra are framed by a colourful array of hot air balloons in flight. Get there early to witness their ascent to the skies or join the fun and take a sunrise flight in one of these spectacular vessels. 


  • Where: Canberra
  • When: 10 - 18 March 2018
  • Price: $ - $$$ Being a spectator is free, balloon rides during the event cost approximately AUD$400pp

Canberra Balloon Spectacular Highlights


Head to the launch site

Grab a warm drink and some breakfast as you watch the pilots inflate their balloons every morning from 6.15am. The lawns of the Old Parliament House are always buzzing with excitement and entertainment as spectators get set to see this year’s balloons take to the skies. Live music adds to the fun, with a different performance each day of the festival.

Get a unique perspective

Set up camp on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin or, if you’re feeling active, jump on a kayak or on a stand up paddle board to get a view of the balloons from the water as they begin their ascent over the city. When the wind is right, the National Arboretum offers an incredible view of the balloons as they hover over the city landscape.

Discover the newcomers

Every year the spectacular show features new balloons from all over the world that are sure to delight spectators both young and old. Previous years have featured well-known film and cartoon characters such as Yoda, Angry Birds and Smurfs. Keep the kids entertained by guessing which of their favourites might make an appearance this year.

Get social

As the event is weather dependent, it’s highly recommended to follow the action on TwitterInstagram or Facebook for updates on launch delays and cancellations. You can also tag #visitcanberra to share your snaps with the world.


For a chance to be a part of the action, book a flight with one of Canberra’s best hot air balloon companies. Balloons Aloft and Dawn Drifters both offer visitors the chance to float above the city for a breathtaking and exhilarating sunrise experience.


Canberra has an international airport with daily services from most major Australian cities. Alternatively, it’s just over a 3 hour drive south of Sydney.