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By Stephen Heard
February 28, 2020
By Stephen Heard
February 28, 2020

Before you splash out on airfares to watch hot air balloons glide across the picture-perfect honeycombed landscape of Cappadocia, maybe check out what's happening in your own backyard, or more specifically the ballooning mecca of New Zealand: Hamilton.

Balloons over Waikato is the country's premier hot air balloon festival and the region's annual breath air. It's been taking place for the past 20 years, with four days of balloon-related activities floating between Innes Common, Hamilton Lake and The University of Waikato.

It features balloonists from all over country, and in past years has attracted over 130,000 spectators to watch the spectacle of hyper-colour blimps ascending through the Waikato sky. The festival's most popular event is the Zuru Nightglow, an after-hours celebration where the balloons glow to orchestrated music and the sky is set alight with one of the country's biggest fireworks displays.

Start planning a road trip, it's all happening again next month from Tuesday, 17 to Saturday, 21 March. The festival will comprise sunrise inflations, balloon walk-throughs, family-friendly events and the free Nightglow evening on Saturday, 21 March. Held from 4–9pm on the grounds of The University of Waikato it will feature live music, amusement rides and a wide range of food vendors.

Balloons over Waikato 2020 takes place from March 17–21. For more information, visit the festival website.

Image: Balloons over Waikato, Matamata-Tirau Camera Club.

Published on February 28, 2020 by Stephen Heard


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