Balloon Aloft launches new Wheelchair Accessible Flights
Local tourism operator, Balloon Aloft launched a new wheelchair accessible hot air balloon
over the Hunter Valley yesterday. The balloon is the first of its kind in New South Wales and
is a joint initiative between Balloon Aloft and Cessnock City Council.
The new balloon can fly between seven to ten passengers and will allow wheelchair users
and people with limited mobility the chance to experience the joy of a hot air balloon flight
over the Hunter Valley with family and friends.
Balloon Aloft has been operating in the Hunter Valley for over 43 years and Director,
Matthew Scaife said today was a profoundly important day for the Company with the launch
of the Hunter Valley Accessible Balloon Flights.
“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of a balloon flight
and our new accessible balloon will make that possible for more people than ever before,”
Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty said the balloon’s first official flight was a milestone
moment for local accessibility and inclusion, which are critical components for responsible
and sustainable tourism in the Hunter Valley.
“Planning and creating accessible tourism experiences like this one in the picturesque
Hunter Valley has removed the barriers that prevented locals, families or visitors from
enjoying the freedom of flight and will also help the local tourism industry become more
sustainable,” Ms Moriarty said.
The balloon basket used for the new accessible flights was made by Australian ballooning
manufacturer, Kavanagh Balloons and will allow people with limited mobility, including
wheelchair users, the chance to access the balloon basket, via a specially designed door.
The basket also offers customised seating for up to four passengers as well as two harnesses
for passengers with higher accessibility needs, to ensure that all passengers are safe and
secure during their flight. Wheelchair users will be able to transfer from the door of the
basket to the seating using a grab handle. For those that require more assistance, a carer or
helper may be required to join them during the flight to assistance help when transferring in
and out of the basket.
A wheelchair accessible shuttle bus with hoist access will also be available to transport
passengers to their accessible balloon flight to make sure the experience is inclusive at every
The project was made possible with support from the NSW Government.
According to Scaife, who was also the pilot for today’s flight, the new initiative will add to
the growing number of accessible tourism products available in the Cessnock LGA and
Hunter Valley area.
Balloon Aloft Hunter Valley Accessible Balloon Flights will be around 45 minutes to an hour
in duration and will be followed by a Celebration Breakfast at local winery, Peterson House.
Tickets for the accessible balloon will start from $265 per person.
For further information on the Hunter Valley Accessible Balloon Flights visit
www.balloonaloft.com/accessible or to book your flight call 1300 723 279.
Media: For images, footage or interview opportunities please contact Michelle Wills at
[email protected] or call 02 4990 9242.