Hot air ballooning: Up, up and away with Floating Images - Visit Brisbane


Hot air ballooning: Up, up and away with Floating Images

There are very few things worth rising before the sun for – and the experience of floating through the air in a balloon is one of them. Moving with the breeze, our bulbous yellow and blue chariot carried us up, up and away, with the heat from giant flames blaring above us, pushing the Floating Images balloon higher and higher. 

Early birds gets the worm

Floating Images Hot Air Ballooning

Sleep in your clothes and set three alarms because this pre-dawn adventure is worth getting up early in the morning for. It may be an early start, but you’ll be wide awake as you soar out of a paddock and over the heritage city of Ipswich towards the lush green farmland and surrounding countryside. 

We embarked on this early morning adventure with bleary eyes as the van carried us to a nearby field to set up. With the sun slowly rising behind us and the ginormous balloon blowing up in front, thoughts of sleep disappear fast while marveling at the sheer size of the inflating canvas and tiny size of the basket.

Time to tick this item off the bucket list!

Here we go

Afraid of heights? Or more importantly, afraid of dangling in a small wicker basket being held up by hot air? Well, happy to report there is little to worry about. Taking off is a soft and gentle liftoff – no stomach drops, no shaking hands, just calm and peaceful floating upward. Leaving Ipswich CBD, we floated towards the area of Fernvale in Somerset, going as fast as the gentle breeze would take us, to the backdrop of a perfect bright orange sunrise. 

Floating Images Hot Air Ballooning

Take in all the serenity (you know Darryl Kerrigan would) as you watch the farmers wake up below. Try and spot the Brisbane River, Amberley Airbase or Flinders Peak. Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights pilot and owner Graeme has over 26 years ballooning experience and will point out landmarks along the way. The flight lasts about an hour and takes you from Ipswich and over the Scenic Rim and Somerset countryside (depending upon the wind’s direction).

Golden hour = selfie hour

Floating Images

You know what they say about golden hour? It’s the best time to take photos. Clear the memory card and charge that battery the night before as you’ll want to capture that perfectly filtered light on the day. Graeme has a sweet camera rig set up and also takes awesome shots as you go. Just smile!

If you’re using a selfie stick, make sure it’s secure as you don’t want to be the second person to watch their phone drop to the countryside below, Graeme warns.

Floating Images Hot Air Ballooning

Breakfast time

By the end, a grumbling stomach will let you know it’s time for breakfast. Pop into Fourthchild to try their hearty food made from locally sourced ingredients from the Lockyer Valley, or grab some freshly made croissants and brownies from Rafter and Rose.

Discover Ipswich

The perk about an early morning hot air balloon ride: you get to spend the rest of the day exploring Ipswich.

The kids (yes, kidults too) will love The Workshops Rail Museum with its huge steam locomotives and massive industrial machinery. Nearby, the Ipswich Art Gallery is open too, where you’re welcomed with a dynamic and ever-changing exhibition program of visual arts.

Ipswich Nature Centre

Want a bit of nature for a change? Stop at one of the oldest parks in Queensland - Queens Park, check out the free mini zoo and its many residents - wombats, wallabies, emus, quolls, snakes and bilbies plus farm animals and a bird aviary. Still have time to kill? Discover a massive range of collectable furniture, pottery, clothing, jewellery and more at Ipswich Antique Centre

What’s for dinner? Head to Indian Mehfil or Memories of India for excellent curries and more, Bakehouse Steakhouse for a juicy piece of meat, Casa Mia for authentic Italian, Heisenberg Haus for German food, and Homage for fine dining modern Australian.

Don’t want to go home? Treat yourself to a luxurious stay at Spicers Hidden Vale.

More about Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights

Having operated in the area for over 16 years, Floating Images was South East Queensland’s first hot air balloon operator and is the only balloon operator servicing the area of Ipswich, Scenic Rim and Somerset. With just one flight a day and a maximum of 10 passengers, the boutique ballooning experience is one you won’t forget. 

While in the air, keep on the lookout for possible viewings of the heritage city Ipswich and its classic Queenslanders, heritage buildings and homes, the Great Dividing Range, Flinders Peak, Mount Walker, Mount Coot-tha, Tamborine Mountain, Moreton Bay, the skyline of Brisbane City, Wivenhoe Dam, Fassifern and Lockyer valleys and the Brisbane and Bremer Rivers.

By Daniela Sunde-Brown and Camilla Coaldrake 

These two tall brunettes love nothing more than experiencing new and exciting adventures around Brisbane, and recording and writing about the best ones to share with Visit Brisbane readers. On weekends find Daniela winning trivia with her encyclopedic knowledge of the city, and Camilla on the hunt for the best dumplings in Brisbane. Both can be easily bribed with cheese, wine and adrenaline-filled activities. 

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