Canowindra’s magnificent flying machines

If you’ve driven anywhere near or have taken a trip to Canowindra in the last couple of days, you probably would have spotted a number of coloured dots in the sky. 

Every year in April, Canowindra puts on a show as it hosts the Canowindra International Balloon Challenge and if you haven’t been to see it yet – why not? Up until last year, I had never made the trip over to see these magnificent flying machines and I definitely regret not doing so earlier. 

What made the trip in the very early hours of the morning to see the hot air balloons so worth it was the fact that I had the opportunity to actually go up in one. And what made that experience even more amazing, is the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of heights. 

On that cool, foggy April morning I was a basket case (pun intended). I was excited and nervous all at the same time on the inside, while trying to remain as cool and as calm as possible on the outside. 

You see, balloons are weather dependent – they can only fly under certain weather conditions, so our takeoff was under threat of not happening at all. 

In the hours we spent waiting for the fog to lift, my nerves calmed considerably, and I believe it was because I was taken back by the sheer beauty and size of the balloons. I even took the chance to kick my shoes off and run inside an inflating balloon in the shape of a Blue Whale with all of the kids who woke up early to check out the action. 

Hours later, the weather was clear and the pilots were given the all clear and that familiar nervous shaking in my legs returned – but it was now or never.

I stepped into the basket with two other journos and before you knew it – we were thousands of feet in the air, despite the fact it felt like we hadn’t left the ground. It was the most serene, majestic, gentle experience I’ve ever had and I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

That being said, not everyone gets the chance to fly (you can book flights) however seeing the Challenge from a car or on foot and the night of the Balloon Glow are events you should definitely not miss out on. 

The Glow is a photographer’s dream and the kids absolutely love seeing them light up the Canowindra Sports Oval every single colour of the rainbow, especially this year with the Hummingbird balloon. 

There’s plenty to see and do over the next few days in the little township to the north, so why not make the trip over?

Kelsey Sutor