Soaring over Ipswich: Why a balloon flight is the best way to see the region

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23 Apr 2021
Katie Dundas, Freelance travel writer

Looking for a truly out of this world experience in the Ipswich region? One that will take you to new heights—literally? There’s no better way to experience the gorgeous countryside of Ipswich than seeing it from above via a hot air balloon.

Hot air balloons are an adventure unlike any other, both serene and exciting at the same time. For many, they’re a once-in-a-lifetime chance to step out of your comfort zone and see the world in a new way. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, a flight with local business Floating Images may be just what you need.

Katie Dundas on a Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flight

Floating Images is a locally owned business headed by Graeme and Ruth Day, a couple with a passion for ballooning. Every flight is led by Chief Pilot Graeme, with over 29 years of flying experience. After first learning to fly in the Alsace region of France, Graeme later decided that Ipswich is the perfect corner of the world for ballooning.

Taking a selfie in the basket with the Go Pro

Graeme explains, “Ipswich, the Scenic Rim, and Somerset region’s geography and climate are ideal for ballooning – they provide a fantastic situation where passengers can enjoy superb and glorious views”.

“This diverse and beautiful region is set against the spectacular natural backdrop of the Great Dividing Range. A world of tranquility, gentle streams, lovely lakes, picturesque forests, plains, valleys, World Heritage-listed national parks and historical country towns.

“Floating Images provides passengers with a unique opportunity to explore this vast and beautiful region from the air.”

View from the basket, Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights

Your hot air balloon adventure begins before sunrise as you head out to your launch site for take-off. It may be an early start, but the excitement of the flight is sure to have you leaping out of bed before your alarm.

The exact location of your departure may vary due to wind speeds and direction, but is always just a short drive from the city centre. It’s then all hands on deck as you help the crew prepare the balloon’s envelope for flight.

View from the basket, Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights

Helping Graeme and the team unfold the balloon and watching it inflate and rise into the air are all part of the fun, and it’s a fascinating way to learn more about the mechanics of ballooning.

Once the balloon is ready, it’s time to climb in and prepare for departure. As the balloon begins to rise above the earth, the van and parklands below become smaller and smaller and you begin to feel like you’re floating among the clouds.

 

Balloon shadow, Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights

It’s both surreal and exciting, the balloon quietly sailing through the sky, giving you the best possible views of the countryside.

Graeme explains, “One of the greatest joys I give as well as receive from my passengers is the experience of a hot air balloon flight. When your passengers come up to you after the flight or breakfast and sincerely thank you for taking them on a lifetime dream or wish, is something that cannot be measured, but in your heart and mind can certainly be felt.”

View from the basket, Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights

Passengers fly for at least an hour, watching the golden sunrise climb into the sky and encompass the region in light. You’ll fly over grids of suburban homes, waterways, historic homes, working farms, and mountainous national parks. As you fly, Graeme points out places of interest and provides commentary on the history of the region.

Every minute a new view comes into focus, making it a dream for photographers. While there’s plenty of photos to be taken, it’s nice to also simply savour the moment and treasure the special opportunity you’re living. The time goes by fast, so make the most of the morning.

Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights

Wrapping up after a stunning hour or so of flying, it’s sadly time to return to land. With Floating Images, safety is always the number one priority, and Chief Pilot Graeme will use his decades of experiences to find the safest possible landing spot.

After your smooth return, everyone chips in to help prepare the balloon to be packed up, removing air from the envelope and folding it down.

Taking a selfie in the basket with the Go Pro

However, your first flight isn’t over—it’s now time to join Graeme and your fellow passengers for breakfast at one of the cafes in Ipswich. Share photos and stories over delicious eggs Benedict or French toast. Toast one another with a glass of bubbles to celebrate an amazing flight and then make the most of the rest of your day by exploring more of Ipswich.

Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights

If you’re thinking of taking off with Floating Images, flights are available daily at sunrise, weather-dependent. As a small, boutique company, you’ll only ever be flying in small groups, giving every passenger uninterrupted access to the views of plenty of time to chat with Graeme or ask questions. Or, balloon flights can be chartered to celebrate a special occasion.

Katie Dundas Freelance travel writer
Katie Dundas is an American freelance travel writer and blogger based in Sydney. She loves hiking, swimming, and exploring the outdoors. Learn more about her adventures on The Accidental Australian or @theaccidentalaustralian.

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