A couple of weeks ago it was my 24th birthday, and as a bit of a different birthday experience we decided to take a hot air balloon flight over our home city of Melbourne!
It’s something we had both been taking about for ages, but it has always just felt so expensive that we haven’t been able to justify it. Even though it’s still way too expensive for a birthday present, we decided to just bite the bullet and actually book in for a magical birthday morning.
And it was so worth it.
We booked in my flight for the actual morning of my birthday since it fell on a weekend. So at about 4am on my birthday morning we got up to drive into the city and meet the group of tour guides at the Sofitel Hotel on Collins.
Depending on the weather conditions and the wind situation on the day of your flight, there are actually a few different flight patterns that are used for hot air balloon rides. Unfortunately this means that you might not be flying directly over the city like you might have thought.
Due to the wind and weather on the day of our flight, we were actually driven about 20 minutes out of the city to Moorabbin, where we would take off for our flight.
In all honesty, I was very nervous about getting in a hot air balloon. I thought surely it wouldn’t feel secure and I would feel like I was about to drop out of the sky at any moment.
But I was pleasantly surprised, it wasn’t anywhere near as scary as I thought.
The basket was cushioned the whole way around, so it was very comfortable to lean on and made us feel so safe. It was also a bit taller than you would, which was very comforting.
The whole trip was amazing. The take-off was effortless and so light you couldn’t even feel that you were moving.
Due to the wind patterns that day we flew from Moorabbin to Yarra Bend, approaching the city the whole time. Unfortunately we didn’t get to fly directly over the city, but we still had amazing views. The sun was rising while we were flying, creating beautiful colours across the earth and I even had a whole basket of strangers sing happy birthday to me in the sky.
The balloon flew at many different altitudes throughout the flight, even rising above the clouds at one stage. Above the clouds I stuck my face over the edge of the basket and it was absolutely freezing, but within the walls of the basket the fire kept you so warm and cosy, it was just a beautiful experience.
After our balloon ride we had a champagne breakfast at the Sofitel on Collins. Probably the best breakfast of my whole entire life! The pictures of us inside the balloon were taken by a go-pro hanging off the side of the balloon. It cost an extra $20 for the pictures to be sent to you, but I am so glad I bought them, they are amazing and capture an angle that you would never get yourself!
Booking your hot air balloon ride
There are a few different companies that offer hot air balloon rides over the city of Melbourne. Check out Experience Oz to find the best deals for your dates.
Depending on when you want to fly, prices for a hot air balloon ride over Melbourne’s CBD start from $425 AUD per person. It’s pretty pricey, but a beautiful experience!
For a little bit of a cheaper experience you could also check out the deals for hot air balloons over the Yarra Valley.
Included in your hot air balloon ride ticket you will also get drinks and snacks, a shuttle ride out the the launch site of the balloon, and a beautiful buffet breakfast after the ride.