Cairns Classic Hot Air Balloon ride

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Full details

Australia's MOST popular balloon ride

Enjoy the serene and uplifting experience of hot air ballooning as dawn breaks over the spectacular Australian bush. Rise up and float over the scenic Atherton tablelands with its rainforest fringed mountains and tranquil country landscapes.

Our guide to Cairns Classic Hot Air Balloon ride

Experience the fun and unique sensation of being in a Hot Air Balloon, flying gently high above the Atherton Tablelands, Australia.

The balloon takes off from Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands. Enjoy the picturesque landscape at dawn, floating in your Hot Air Balloon, time to really breathe in the wide-open spaces!

Experience Australia's largest fleet of Hot Air Balloons and a fun and highly trained crew to maximise the enjoyment of your balloon flight. It's just like a balloon festival, every day.

Itinerary (subject to change without notice)

  • Pre-dawn pick up: Pick-up at all Cairns accommodations & hotels by a Hot Air Cairns coach for your Hot Air Balloon ride.  There is a one-hour transfer.  Pickup times are confirmed on booking.
  • 6.30am: Discover the exhilaration of a hot air balloon adventure above the stunning Atherton Tablelands in Australia. Embrace the breathtaking scenery as the day unfolds before your eyes. Inhale the refreshing expanse of open skies! With the country's most extensive collection of balloons and a lively, expert crew, we're here to elevate your morning into an unforgettable experience of pure delight.
  • 7.50am: Return and land. After touching down, you're cordially invited to join us for a post-flight continental breakfast. Indulge in a medley of fresh fruits, invigorating muesli bars, mouthwatering muffins, and an exquisite assortment of savoury pastries and quiches. Complement your culinary experience with our thoughtfully chosen sparkling wine or a revitalizing glass of orange juice as you engage in conversations, forge connections with fellow adventurers, and connect with our skilled pilot and support crew.
  • 9.00-9.30am: The tour finish time varies with the seasons (summer, winter and the time of sunrise) and you will return to Cairns.


Daily, year-round except 25th December and 1st January.

Start times

This tour picks up from centrally located Cairns accommodation.


Around 5.5 hours.

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for Cairns Classic Hot Air Balloon ride

  • All pick-up and drop drop-offs are approximate and seasonal and will be confirmed upon booking.
  • Children 0 to 2 years inclusive are not eligible to fly. Proof of age is required for children aged 3 to 5 years inclusive.
  • Wear casual outdoor layered clothing suitable for a bush environment (white clothing not recommended).
  • Enclosed footwear is compulsory.
  • Please bring a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a bottle of water and a camera.
  • In the event of inclement weather, the flight will be cancelled but can be re-booked for another day. If unable to travel on an alternative day, a full refund applies.
  • It is a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and company requirement that Passengers flying with the Operator must be able to climb INTO the basket unaided.
  • All times are an INDICATION only. Please note that times do change summer/winter/spring, exact start times given on receipt of your full booking details.
  • Pregnant persons beyond 3 months (13 weeks) of pregnancy are not permitted to fly.
  • *Cancellation policy: No refunds for bookings cancelled 72 hours or less prior to travel or in the event of a no show. Free cancellations for bookings cancelled before this time. 


Frequently Asked Questions for Cairns Classic Hot Air Balloon ride

  • Are the balloon flights at sunrise? Will I see the Sunrise?
    Hot Air Balloon flights in Australia are at dawn because this is the time of day that provides the optimum weather conditions for launching balloons. Depending on many operational factors, which vary each day, passengers may be on the ground during inflation or in the balloon when the sun is actually coming over the horizon or rising. Viewing of "Sunrise" is therefore not guaranteed, as different people have a different perception of what this is likely to be. Although, either way, the Australian sky during the first hour of light is always amazing and you will see an amazing dawn.
  • Does it fly over the Great Barrier Reef? Can you see the Great Barrier Reef from the balloon?
    The balloon flies over Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands, not over the Great Barrier Reef. Mareeba is a perfect place for hot air ballooning, just over one hour drive from Cairns.
  • What happens if tour is cancelled due to bad weather?
    If your Cairns Sunrise Balloon Adventure is cancelled due to bad weather, you will be given the option to rebook for another day locally, or to receive a full refund. There's a very high take-off rate and Cairns is one of the best locations in the world for reliability & hot air ballooning.
  • Is there a weight limit? What is the weight limit?
    There's no weight limit for the Cairns Sunrise Balloon Adventure. However, it is a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and company requirement that Passengers flying with the Operator must be able to climb INTO the basket unaided, so that in the event of an emergency passengers are also able to climb out of the basket unaided. The side of the basket is approx. 1.2 metres high with two footholds for Passengers to use like a ladder when climbing into the basket. The Operator’s staff will be in attendance to supervise Passengers climbing into the basket but are not allowed to actively assist Passengers into the basket. The Pilot in command will make the final decision on whether a passenger is able to climb into the basket unaided and therefore travel on the balloon flight.
  • How can a small child see in the balloon? Is there a height limit?
    There is no height limit for flying. The basket is approximately 120cm high, there are a couple of footholds on a side of basket and small children can have views through those holes. The minimum age for a child to fly is 3 years.
  • Do I have to wear shoes on the Hot Air Balloon?
    Yes, shoes are required for the safety of all our passengers and staff. We recommend wearing flat enclosed shoes for your balloon ride.
  • What do I bring on a morning, hot air balloon adventure?
    Dress as for a casual walk in the bush, sensible sturdy shoes are recommended. We suggest you bring sunglasses, a hat/cap and dress in layered clothing. During the morning as the sun comes up, the day will become warmer. Remember there is so much to see from an entirely new perspective, you will want to record it all to relive later, your own camera or video camera are welcomed on board. Don’t forget your cash or credit card (M, V) for that extra special souvenir of your fantastic hot air balloon experience.
  • What about Vertigo - I hate heights?
    A Hot Air Balloon flight is very gentle and stable and because you start from the ground and gently lift up, rather than looking off the edge of a building. We recommend you try it – so many of our passengers attest to how surprised at how comfortable and safe they felt flying with Hot Air.