Balloons take to the air on a misty morning in Hamilton. © David Wall Photography

Balloons over Waikato: a showcase of splendour and colour


View the map

TAP FOR MORE INFO:

They get to the point, in this part of the world, but the simple factual accuracy of the name of this event does not do justice to its colour, glamour and excitement.

And you thought balloons were quiet! Bud, this is the Waikato; they know how to put the ‘festive’ in ‘festival’ down this way.

Festival this is, and Balloons Over Waikato has been running for over a decade now, a showcase of splendour and colour, in the form of these beautiful flying machines.

Getting close #ZURUnightglow #BalloonsOverWaikato #BOW2017

A post shared by Balloons over Waikato Festival (@balloonsoverwaikato) on Mar 25, 2017 at 12:00am PDT

For five glorious mornings, in invariably sunny March, they lift off at dawn and soar heavenwards, a sight that is truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

If that all sounds a bit serene, in the evening the event stages the Nightglow, where the balloons are illuminated to music. Whoever would’ve thought to choreograph a balloon? Well, these guys did.

Just in case you’re still hanging for more hot-air action, they finish that off each evening with a good round or two of fireworks, which set off the glowing orbs just so. Seriously, it’s crazy.

The balloons themselves are an excuse for some very creative people to send their creative skills to dazzling new heights (sorry). We’re not just talking the old teardrop shape with a basket at the bottom: there have been racing car-shaped entries, a flying royal carriage, Dumbo the Elephant and, we tell no lies, flying pigs.

While it’s all about the spectators – some 150,000 plus gather for this event – you can make arrangements to be a passenger, too. However you get into it, you’ll realise it’s not just a load of hot air...

Visit www.balloonsoverwaikato.co.nz for more information. 

Explore more...


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Natural attractions

Hamilton: what’s not to love?

New Zealand’s longest river charges through the Waikato for 425 kilometres and for 16 of those, it makes its way through Hamilton, our biggest inland city. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Natural attractions

South Waikato: bliss in the farmlands

Oxford was the name first given to the small South Waikato town of Tīrau, a place that peeps out from the strong arms of Kiwi farming country. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Activities

Northwest Waikato: surfing the endless wave

It’s part of the Raglan vibe that you can walk the main street and find visitors from all over the world who have come to check out the place with the longest left-hand surf breaks. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Activities

East Waikato: discovering Middle Earth

Driving down into the guts of The Mighty Waikato from the Kaimāī ranges you get a good look at the land as it flexes its muscles. Read the story . . . 

Where to stay in Waikato Region

From $100
Redwood Lodge Motel

11 spacious ground-floor units (all non-smoking). 3 studio, 2 x 1-bedroom, 6 x 2-bedroom units (sleep 1-6). Full cooking facilities in all units. Guest BBQ area. . . . More . . . 

From $100
4.1 /5
From $90
4.1 /5
Best Price Around
Ascot Lodge Motel Visit website

Ascot Lodge Motel consists of 11 comfortable, clean and spacious units. Range of 1, 2 and 3-bedroom. 2 and 3-bedroom units can sleep up to . . . More . . . 

From $90

Book now

Book now

4.2 /5
4.2 /5
Best Price Around
Asure Barclay Motel Visit website

Located in the heart of Hamilton, Barclay Motel offers a unique 21-unit motel which has been completely renovated in 2010. Self-contained studio, 1, 2 and . . . More . . . 

Book now

Book now

Essex Arms Motel

Established in the early 1900s, the Essex Arms is located on State Highway 1 that runs directly between Auckland (45 minutes to Auckland Airport) and . . . More . . .