One thing I really enjoy doing while looking at Contiki tours is looking at the activities that that tour has on offer.
For me (and like most people) a holiday is meant to be enjoyed and something to remember for a lifetime. So last year I took a trip through my own country – Australia , one activity that really caught my eye was the hot air balloon ride in Alice Springs. My dream of doing one in America came to a complete halt, thanks to mother nature so I took it upon myself to make sure I do this one (mother nature of course was still in control of this outcome).
It was a beautiful morning in Alice Spring, the sun hadn’t even said good morning and I knew it was going to be a great day.
Our morning started with an early wake up call, not unusual with Contiki, to get ready for our hot air balloon ride. There were only 4 of us; my friends Kurt, Logan and Elizabeth. I was really excited and I could tell the others were too. We waited outside our accommodation for the bus to pick us up. We didn’t wait long and soon enough we were on our way.
We toured the Northern Territory in the month of September. Still cool enough to actually need a jumper and long pants to keep you warm in the early hours of the morning. We drove until we hit the outskirts of Alice Springs and made our way into the middle of a paddock to get to our hot air balloon.
There were a few times I went back on the bus to keep myself warm while they were getting the balloon ready but it was a sight to see – the pilot and crew bringing the balloon out and inflating it with the hot air produced from the burner. The wind was steady and perfect enough for us to go on our adventure.
Getting into the basket wasn’t easy. Note to all you people out there who have plans to do a hot air balloon ride for the first time – wear comfortable pants that will allow you to get into the basket easy.
Once we were all in, we were ready for lift off. Being scared of heights I wasn’t sure how high we would get but as we kept rising higher I felt more at ease. It was beautiful. Seeing wide plains filled with red dirt, wild horses, long windy roads and scrub, it was a fantastic way to see the outback.
We witnessed a beautiful sunrise and this was the perfect moment to just stare out into the horizon and take it all in. Soon after we were told we were making our decent back to the ground. We prepared ourselves for the landing in which we had to crouch down in the basket and hold on to the strapped attached to the basket.
Once we were all out of the basket – with great difficulty – we helped the balloon crew help pack up balloon. Not an easy task and it also left us quite dirty but we were greeted with some nibbles and some champagne. We stood around in a circle mingling with the other people who were in the basket with us and soon enough we were back in the bus and heading back to our accommodation.
This was the perfect way to end our 11 day Contiki tour and I would happily do another Hot Air Balloon ride again.