The city of Hamilton in New Zealand’s Waikato region is in a fever of anticipation. Well, it’s that time of the year, when the city starts its countdown for the highly popular ‘Balloons over Waikato’ festival. This event has won several awards and every year many avid ballooning enthusiasts descend upon Hamilton to participate in the festivities and admire its beauty from dizzying heights. If you are in Hamilton in the last week of March, you can join the fun too. The five-day event will be held from 25th to 29th March at the University of Waikato and Innes Common.

Good to Know Information

  • Anyone over the age of eight can enjoy these flights.
  • The flights cost same for kids and adults.
  • Flights take off at 7:30 a.m. and you need to be at the venue i.e., Innes Common by 7:00 a.m. The timings are subject to weather conditions.
  • The highly inflammable propane gas is used in these balloons. Avoid smoking near the balloons or while flying.

Major Highlights

Balloon Inflation: The inflation of a balloon is an interesting sight and the entire process takes about 15 to 40 minutes. The real excitement kicks-in when a balloon is launched; it is advisable to stand clear of the balloon during this time.

Special Shapes: As the name suggests, some of the balloons have special shapes. In fact, every year, the balloons sport new shapes and the most talked about shape in 2015 is ‘The Resene Wild about Colour Ark.’ This 25-metre tall balloon is a recreation of Noah’s Ark. Brazil’s Peg Leg Pete the Pirate Parrot, and Simba the Lion King are among the other interesting shapes that are sure to catch your attention.

Zuru Nightglow: Visit the University of Waikato on 28th March for a fun-filled evening with your family. This is the venue for the Zuru Nightglow. The fun will start at 4:00 p.m. with power-packed performances by local high school bands. At 5:00 p.m., professional bands will hit the stage and make you dance to their tunes. The merriment will last for almost three hours and then it would be time to for the highlight of the event – The Glow! This is an impressive light and sound show dedicated to the balloons. It will be followed by The Fireworks, where you will be treated to a staggering display of pyrotechnics. The last 30 minutes will be dedicated to a show called Afterglow, where a popular band will play out hit anthems from the 80s.

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