Hot Air Balloon Ride – A Great Way To See Queenstown

One of things on our life list was to go on a hot air balloon ride.  I asked out travel agent if she could try to squeeze this into our itinerary and she was able to find Sunrise Balloons in Queenstown that fit the bill.  The one thing that we didn’t know is they only launch about 3 times per week due to weather.  The winds have to be absolutely perfect for them to launch so even if you don’t see a breath of wind outside your hotel there may be to much wind at elevation.  We only had two mornings we could go on the ride so it was a gamble.

We called the night before we were supposed to depart and the balloon pilot said the weather looks good but please call back in the morning to confirm.  The departure  time is about 6am so its an early start.  So, the next morning we called and to our disappointment he said we couldn’t go because of high winds.  Bummer.  Not a big deal because we went on a jet boat ride, bungy jumping and went on the gondola ride instead.

We had one last chance to go up.  The morning before our plan left to fly back to Tokyo.  So, we went through the same routine.  Called the night before.  He said it looks good but call back in the am.  We did AND it was a go.  We ate a quick breakfast the overnight porter at Blanket Bay delivered to our room at 5am and then took off to the departure point.

Check out the video slide show of our flight.  Surprisingly, this was pretty scary.  No straps, harnesses, bungy cords, parachutes or anything to hold you in or protect you if you fall.  Just a handmade wicker basket that doesn’t feel very sturdy.  It would have sucked to do all the adventurous stuff we did on this vacation and then bit the dust on what was supposed to be a tame hot air balloon ride.  Fortunately the pilot was very experienced and he got us back to land safely.


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