An often requested activity by honeymooners for us is hot air ballooning. Whilst being a fantastic experience thats romantic and offers stunning views, there are a few aspects to consider when planning this activity into your itinerary. If you are not an early riser you’re in serious trouble! The ballooning process starts early, as in before the suns rises, especially in Queenstown which has a southerly latitude of around 45°, making the daylight hours longer in summer. If you are staying in central Queenstown you can expect to set your alarm for around 0430 – 0500 depending on the time of year, then phone for a weather check some time between 0430 – 0500. If the best part of the day for you is when the suns rising, then this is potentially an activity that will really appeal.

Weather is the key factor and will decide if and where you fly. Once you’ve been given the go ahead you’ll be picked up by your pilot and driven to the staging area for balloon preparation and flight. Flight time is usually around an hour, followed by a champagne breakfast where you land or at a designated cafe. You should allow 3-4 hours in total for this activity. At the time of writing New Zealand offers hot air ballooning in or near Christchurch, Hamilton and Queenstown. The current cost for hot air ballooning in New Zealand varies from around NZ$500 – NZ$545.

– An early morning activity that if you enjoy early mornings is going to be appeal. It also leaves the rest of day free for your next adventure.
– Spectacular views with virtually no noise (other than when firing balloon). What a way to begin the day!
– You’ll have unobstructed views of the sun rising.
– A romantic activity for honeymooners or enjoyable for anyone wanting to experience this unique form of flight.
– Often flights will conclude with a champagne breakfast upon landing.
– Element of serenity and adventure.

– On the flip side of being an early riser the non morning person wont appreciate the 0430 – 0500 start, even though its worth it once you’re airborne!
– Ballooning is extremely weather dependent, meaning you’ll need excellent visibility (kind of helps seeing the scenery anyway) and very little wind. Essentially calm settled conditions that are usually associated with high pressure systems are ideal, but not always present. Which is why this activity can be temperamental and prone to cancelling.
– Balloon flights usually aren’t private unless you want to pay for the additional spaces. Often people think it’s just yourselves and the pilot.

Luxury Adventures – Tailoring luxury travel in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific Islands since 1999.

Tony Townley

Tony Townley is a luxury lifestyle specialist and owner of Luxury Adventures based in Auckland, New Zealand. With over 20 years of experience in the luxury travel industry I have an excellent understanding of the accommodations, experiences and destinations on offer. When not working or spending time with my family I can be found indulging in my love of the outdoors, food, wine and travel - mountain biking, skiing, fishing, diving and hiking.

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