While we were in Hunter Valley, I thought it might be neat to go hot air ballooning. I’ve been twice before, both times in Cairns, but I thought Jeff would really dig the experience. Lol when we mentioned that we were going to friends though, they were dubious. One even went as far as declaring he would rather try skydiving first before getting into a basket.
It’s such a peaceful ride though. Apart from the noise of the gas cylinders occasionally blasting hot air into the balloon, we enjoyed a serene dawn float. I particularly loved the fact that we took off in the middle of a vineyard (De Batoli), and our captain expertly handled the balloon to float just above the vines that were ripe and heavy with shiraz grapes.
And then the uniquely Australian experience: we saw dozens of kangaroos playing in between the rows of vines, some hopping off into the bushes as the shadow of our balloon passed over them.
Although it was a little too cloudy to see a pastel colored sunrise, mid way through our hour float across Hunter Valley, the sun broke through the clouds, casting glorious golden rays onto the lush green valleys below. And it is unusually lush this year, our pilot told us, given the unseasonable rainfall they’ve had. We can only hope the reds will still be good!