Canberra Balloon Spectacular 2016

  • Written by Joni Wanless

The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is considered to be one of the best and longest running hot air ballooning events in the world.

Held over nine days, visitors will be treated to an experience of the senses with a flurry of colour, sound and movement from 12-20 March. 

The 2016 Canberra Balloon Spectacular will also include some special shape balloons from across the globe adding a sense of novelty to the stunning setting each day.

Here are some facts you might not know about this year's Canberra Balloon Spectacular:

  • This year marks a milestone for the popular Canberra event; the festival is now in its 30th year.
  • Pilots begin inflating their balloons on the lawns of Old Parliament House from 6.15am each day before taking to the sky and creating an exhilarating back drop to our national attractions.
  • Balloons take between 15-30 minutes to inflate, depending on their size. The majority of the balloons launch before 7am, so remember, the early bird catches the worm.
  • In 2016, two special shapes will take flight in the Canberra skies; Owlbert Eyenstein, a larger than life owl, and the Disney movie inspired UP hot air balloon.
  • Once fully inflated, Owlbert stands a mega 30.5 metres tall. Owlbert was built in Brazil and is migrating to Australia all the way from his home in Arizona, USA. The Canberra Balloon Spectacular will be Owlbert's first appearance in Australian skies.
  • The UP hot air balloon features a giant cluster of brilliantly coloured balloons floating gracefully through the sky. It took six months to build and features 540 individually sewn balloons onto the base fabric.
  • The special shapes will be among more than 40 giant hot air balloons that will add to the colour and beauty of this year's spectacle.
  • Some balloons will travel from as far away as Belgium and the United States to participate in the Balloon Spectacular.
  • Ballooning is completely weather dependent and the decision to fly is made each day at 6am.
  • More than 30,000 spectators are expected to attend the nine-day festival, with crowds swelling to about 5,000 on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
  • The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is free for spectators.
  • This fantastic event is a wonderful community celebration that offers plenty of excitement on the ground and in the air.

For more information, visit 


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