Getting carried away for us was rising before 6am on a Friday morning to hook up the caravan and head to Carterton. We were keen to see hot air balloons lift off at 7am as part of the Wairarapa Balloon Festival*. The ballonists got carried away on a beautiful March morning. It’s definitely a sport for early risers, we won’t be taking it up any time soon.
The big attraction at the 2014 event was ‘Patriot’ – a replica space shuttle. The balloon is close to 54 metres high, has a wingspan of 35 metres and weighs 449 kilograms. On occasion we’ve had trouble packing our four person tent back into its bag, packing and inflating Patriot is a job for at least 15 crew. It was the American owners first trip to New Zealand, and the balloon’s maiden voyage down under. Fortunately weather conditions were perfect for take off.
We saw the neat leather helmet (below) at the hot air balloon meet at Queen Elizabeth Park in Masterton. Coincidentally I’d just read about Trevor Lamb, the creator, in Wairarapa Lifestyle magazine. His work has appeared in The Hobbit and King Kong. Recently Trevor was commissioned to make a leather flying helmet for visiting royalty – cute little Prince George.
The balloons returned to Martinborough in 2014 and took off from the Town Square at 7am. We were staying at Martinborough Top 10 Holiday Park, a top spot to view balloons in pajamas.
We were surprised by how close a couple of balloons came to the ground. We thought they were landing in the field but they were just dropping down to say hi before firing up the gas and continuing on their way.