Practice Day at Northam National Ballooning Championships

My first weekend in Australia, and we had decided to attend the Northam National Ballooning Championships.

 

From 2 to 9 September 2017, hot air balloon pilots from across Australia and around the world will descend on the Avon Valley over five days, testing their skills at varying winds and altitudes. Approximately 30 balloons will be in flight during the course of the event.

The event concludes with the ‘key grab’ competition where pilots race from point to point, collecting foam ‘keys’ from the end of 10m poles at several locations. The keys represent a key to a prize.

Northam is a fair drive in the middle of the day, but at 4 in the morning, it seems a lot farther away. However if we wanted to be there at 6 am, we decided that we should leave the house about 4. Seemed easy enough as I haven’t quite got on schedule in Australia yet, and can be up at that time.

The morning started bitter cold, frosty, even.

Last star

As we parked the car on the side of the road, I noticed the last star in the sky before the sun was to come up.

cars parked

We were not alone, many other people showed up to watch the early morning launch.

fired up

It didn’t take long before they were firing up and inflating the balloons.

A line of balloons

Soon most were inflated.

full basket ballooning

Some balloons held a lot of people.

Ballooning

The first one takes off.

balloons over Northam

The next ones were off and away. The pasture below shows the ‘frostiness’ of the morning.

Balloons over Northam

Soon they were all off, decorating Northam’s countryside.

Balloon over canola field

How fun to ride along and see one above a canola field!

balloons over Northam Countryside

I suppose the most breathtaking view was this one…

Sole  Balloon

At one stop along the way…

The balloonist was close enough to give us a friendly hello.

Lady bug balloon

As far as we could tell, this was the last balloon to land at the airport.

This has been a dream of mine as a photographer, to capture ballooning in a country setting. What a perfect day.

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