You know that feeling where you're begrudgingly up before dawn only to have your heart warmed by a surprise sighting of a hot air balloon set against the sunrise? Well this one's for you — and if you haven't ever experienced such a dawn, this one is really for you. In April, the Canowindra International Balloon Challenge sees the skies above the historic central-west town come alive with the roar of burners and the kaleidoscope of colourful hot air balloons in the atmosphere.
The full event takes place over a whole week in April, with official balloon competitions happening throughout the week. The comp involves a number of difficult tasks, the most entertaining of which is the key grab — the aim is to fly your balloon in to try and pluck a large novelty key from the top of a flagpole, with the winner receiving some major dollar bills. There'll also be a campfire cookout and concert on Anzac Day evening (25th April).
The final Saturday night sees the Balloon Glow and Night Market, where balloon operators light up their burners in the dark and in time to music.