05.08.2010 Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Canberra

The best luxury travel is very often the kind that introduces a traveler to something they haven’t yet had a chance to try. After all, going on a vacation is an attempt to get away from the day-to-day and enter another world, if only for a short time. Just such a world comes out each autumn at the Canberra Balloon Festival, where the colors of the leaves on the ground are truly rivaled by those of the conveyances trailing along in the sky.

The balloons at this event are the iconic hot air balloons. Not as common as they once were, they can still be found at such events, and provide a wonderful sense of cultural delight. The view from them can be truly spectacular — not so high up as to lose the sense of things on the ground, but high enough that the sweep of the land beneath can still be appreciated as it stretches along the miles to the curving horizon.

For those who would prefer to appreciate the sight from the ground (and this is not in the least bit a poorer option), the view can be magnificent and the atmosphere is always congenial. The residents are friendly and hospitable, often providing entertaining stories of festivals long past as you share a meal at a local café and as the balloons rise into the sky in a cascade of colors and excitement.

Whether begun with a ride or a viewing of the rising balloons, the festival offers many other adventures besides. The delightful Australian wine vintages are readily accessible at such events, and the local cuisine is always out on display with its very best colors. Canberra boasts numerous galleries and museums, as well as gorgeous nature trails and city tours that all receive a certain vibrant newness in the mantle of the turning leaves and under the bobbing sights of the gorgeous balloons.

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