With the Canberra Balloon Spectacular 2020 less than two months away (7-15 March), I have updated the list of the best viewing spots around the lake. I have listed 13, with the locations numbered on the map and descriptions below.
Other than in a balloon, being out on the lake in a kayak, GoBoat or other water craft provides some of the best viewing in my humble opinion. However, if you’re restricted to land then the locations listed below are some excellent vantage points. Canberrans will be familiar with these suggestions but if you are from out of town they might be of assistance.
You can capture some great photos from any of the above locations, but bear in mind that hot-air balloon flights are highly weather dependent and balloons can only take off in slight winds. Weather conditions must be near perfect for a launch to occur. If there is any sign of a potentially non-safe flight, then the launch will be cancelled.
Hot-Air Balloons are a type of aircraft that rely on basic scientific principles to fly. Warm air rises over cooler air, thus the balloon is able to rise when the burner is lit. To help balloons rise, thermals need to be absent or at low activity. They are least active in the early morning, just after sunrise, and early in the evening. This is why launches are scheduled between 6:30AM - 8AM & between 7 PM - 8:30PM during the evening (although there are no evening flights scheduled during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular).
Prior to flight, a "Piball" (or “pilot balloon") will be released. This is a helium filled balloon that lets the pilots know the general direction of the wind. This is the way the pilot’s balloon will drift. Wind directions do change based on height from the ground (especially if a front is in the area) and pilots must rely on (and know the direction of) the winds aloft. A balloon must also be able to land once in the air so the decision for "Go" or "No Go" for launch must take both the take-off, flight, and a safe landing into consideration.
Here is some weather information on ballooning flights.
Having lived in Canberra for decades, I've only recently discovered the joys of kayaking. My craft of choice, the trusty Green Hornet (in fact a "Quest 10" manufactured by Canadian company, Riot) provides an ideal platform to photograph lake landscapes, the occasional event on the water and other items of interest.