Finally, I have got the chance to explore Hot Air Ballooning in Yarra Valley outside Melbourne today, along Srikanth, Sriram, and Krishna. I have been planning for this for about 2 years now, though it was not really in my formal bucket list. Often slots are booked for weeks in advance for HAB events, and are far away from the places I get to stay during my business stints. Stars were aligned this time, and I could get a slot for balloon flight within a 24 hour notice.
Below snaps and 3 minute video summaries gist of our experience. Experience is way cooler and calmer than skydiving and was meditative. We had to get up at 3:30AM to be picked up at our hotel around 4:15AM, and get dropped at Rochford Winery at 5AM. Entire team and crew spent an hour helping unload the monster size balloon (which was quite fun), open it up, get propane gas pumped in, hopped on into balloon basket at 8AM (which takes an effort if you have a big personality).
Our ride was more than an hour, up above the clouds with some cool views of vistas, awesome view of horizon of sun, view of other companion balloons, and ended with a smooth landing around 9:30AM. Again, we had to help pack it up, which was quite a process and required lot more physical work than we had imagined. Later entire team was fed with customised pre-ordered vegan breakfast and a champagne toast.