Hot Air Balloon Flight over Mareeba Valley, Atherton Tablelands
On the second day of my adrenaline-fuelled adventures in Queensland I took to the skies above the Atherton Tablelands in a hot air balloon. Fully Eco-certified, Raging Thunder pioneered hot air ballooning over the Mareeba Valley in the Atherton Tablelands in 1993. Due to the 300 hours of beautiful sunshine the area experiences every year they are one of the most reliable hot air balloon flight locations in Australia. The 4am pickup outside my accommodation in Cairns (they also do transfers from Port Douglas, Northern Beaches and Palm Cove) was worth the early start. Although I was a little nervous and apprehensive, the experience of rising into the skies inside a giant wicker basket was breath-taking!
As the balloon ascended, I realised how calm and peaceful the experience was and my initial nerves and apprehension melted away as I chilled and relaxed and marvelled at the views of the Tablelands. Apart from the burner and the quiet chatter of the other fifteen passengers it was very peaceful and quiet. The next 30 minutes literally flew by and before I knew it, we were beginning to descend. Although the balloon bounced on top of a hedge as it was coming into land the landing was relatively smooth. I wished I could do it all again! I expected the experience to be over then.
After a few people (including myself) started to walk away we were herded back as we had to help the crew pack the balloon away! This was completely unexpected but a lot of fun as each of us began wrestling with the balloon! We stood in a long line with each person taking it in turns to squeeze the air out of the balloon and begin folding the balloon up. It was more difficult for those at the beginning of the line! Eventually, the balloon was packed away so it could be driven back by the crew to the launch flight location. Calm, chilled, relaxing I’d definitely like to take to the skies in a hot air balloon over the Atherton Tablelands again! Afterwards, I was pleased to receive my certificate confirming my successful completion of the balloon flight!
As I was hovering over the Atherton Tablelands in a giant wicker basket, I was wondering how a hot air balloon could ever get off the ground never mind fly! I was very interested in the science behind this and I’m sure children will find this interesting too! I have created a fascinating series of English lessons which are based on the explanation text ‘How does a Hot Air Balloon fly?’ These lessons are fully linked to The National Curriculum English and science objectives and fully support writing across the curriculum and are pitched at Upper Key stage 2. Check it out below!
Teaching resources available for primary teachers: