Windward Balloon Adventures

Northam - Heart of the Avon Valley and home to ballooning in Western Australia

Located in the picturesque Avon Valley, only 100 kilometres east of Perth, the historic town of Northam is the host to the oldest and purest form of flight, ballooning.

Northam's sheltered valley environs provide the ideal conditions to experience the unique joys of hot air ballooning, in the experienced hands of the team from Windward Balloon Adventures.

Please visit our FLIGHTS PAGE for more information on our flights.

Ballooning - The Early Days in Northam

Balloons first started flying in Northam in the early 1970's after a group of balloon pilots from Hong Kong came to Western Australia looking for somewhere to fly their balloons and to make some ballooning world record attempts. They were looking for somewhere that was away from the controlled airspace over Perth, with plenty of open spaces for ballooning (unlike Hong Kong!). They discovered Northam and the Avon Valley as well as a keen group of balloon enthusiasts at the Northam Aeroclub. These balloon pilots from Hong Kong were also flight crew with Cathay Pacific which meant that they could ship their balloons to Northam and then make sure they got a day or two off when they flew into Perth so they could do some ballooning. They were also able to train some of the local balloon enthusiasts who also became balloon pilots.

Western Australia, and in particular Northam, is an ideal place for world record attempts in balloons given that it is on the western side of a continent that has a jet stream that flows from west to east. Distance, duration, and altitude records in balloons can be achieved knowing that the flight path of the balloon will always be heading further east and inland away from the coast. Many balloon records have been set in Western Australia since the early 1970's and Northam has developed a reputation as a ballooning "Mecca" for world record attempts.

World records in balloons set from Western Australia still stand in the following categories:

  • World Distance Record 2,391.47 kms - Pressurised Balloons, Classes AS-06 through AS-15, Julian Nott, 20th November 1984, Pearce (WA) - Broken Hill, (NSW)
  • World Distance Record 2,366.10 kms - Hot Air Balloons, Class AX-10 through AX-14, Michio Kanda, 23rd June 1994, Mullewa (WA) - Frome Downs, (SA)
  • World Absolute Record - Shortest Time Around the World 320 hrs 33 min, Steve Fossett, 3rd July 2002, Northam (WA) - Northam (WA).

Northam was also host to two Australian National Hot Air Balloon Championships during the early 1980's.

Steve Fossett launches from Northam

Please follow this link to read more about Steve Fossetts world record set from Northam

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