Balloon Aloft Camden Valley
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See the sunrise from a hot air balloon
Start the day drifting 300m above farmyards, mansions and pretty country towns. The longstanding Camden-based company Balloon Aloft were the first people to offer commercial balloon flights in Australia, over 35 years ago.
Their pick-up point is the Rydges Hotel in Campbelltown and exact times vary for the dawn departure depending on the weather conditions. You might want to book a room at the hotel for the night before you fly.
The experienced team know how to balance good humour and safety; there tends to be a briefing at the hotel before boarding a minibus to a frosty field where it’ll take around 20 minutes to set up and take off. Our driver, Travis, knew all the dad jokes in the world to warm us up for an entertaining flight.
They can take up to 24 people on board the padded and very comfortable basket that’s divided into four passenger sections. On chillier days it pays to stand close to the middle for a blast of heat every time they open the burner.
Everyone gets a spectacular view of the sun rising in the east and the pink tones and long shadows hitting the countryside below. On our flight, we travelled 22km in a northeasterly direction from Picton over the steep hills of the Razorback Ranges to the pretty church steeples of Camden. You can just make out the city skyline on the horizon – and the blue eucalyptus haze of the Blue Mountains in the other direction.
It’s incredibly peaceful, with a smooth take-off and landing. Our pilot Clayton Rix talked through the sights, but he also gave us time just to listen to the birds and the horses below. It’s around a three-hour experience including a Champagne brekky at Otis Bar and Grill at Rydges Campbelltown.