Wairarapa Balloon Festival

Wairarapa Balloon Festival
Photo: nzballoons.co.nz
The Wairarapa Balloon Festival, also known as Balloons over Wairarapa, is an annual hot air balloon festival held in Masterton, New Zealand. Named after the geographical region of Wairarapa, the festival has been held each year since 1999. It lasts for five days filled with competitions and sky high spectacles that are sure to please everyone.

Wairarapa is a geographical region of New Zealand occupying the south-eastern corner of the North Island. It is named after Lake Wairarapa whose name means “Glistening Waters”. The largest town in Wairarapa is Masterton. It hosts the annual hot air balloon festival which is one of the region’s major tourist attractions and most anticipated events.

The Wairarapa Balloon Festival features over 20 hot air balloons. Most balloons and pilots are from New Zealand but there are a few international participants as well. Of course, there are special shape balloons that make the festival even more exciting. Special shape balloons that have appeared over the years include Olwert Eyenstein, Flighthouse, Peg Leg Pete, Mike Pero Flying House, Pandy, Sunny Boy, Cadbury Creme Egg, Nightmare House, Begle Maximus, and many more.

Balloons take off early in the day so all mass ascensions, competitions and challenges begin at 7 a.m. Spectators are advised to arrive a bit in advance to watch balloons inflate. Keep in mind that ballooning is a weather-dependent activity. Balloons are in the air for about an hour on a good day, but this can be shorter or longer depending on the weather.

The program of the festival includes a variety of spectacular events such as WBS Mass Ascension, Property Brokers Park to Paddock Challenge, Tranzit Burner Parade, Resene Splash n’ Dash Competition, and more. The highlight of the Wairarapa Balloon Festival is the Night Glow. It’s a truly magical event featuring tethered balloons that light up the night sky to the sound of live music, food and craft stalls, aviation displays, and family entertainment for people of all ages.

The Wairarapa Balloon Festival is one of those hot air balloon festivals that offer balloon rides. They are the only paid activity in the festival program. For $350, you get a 1 hour flight over the beautiful landscape of Wairarapa and champagne to celebrate this amazing experience. Flights are offered daily during the festival, but you should keep in mind that they are subject to weather conditions.

Wairarapa Balloon Festival

Photo: Samara King




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