Visited Cities and towns during the trip: Blayney, Carcoar, Canowindra, Eugowra, Forbes, Parkes
The event is held annually in Canowindra, New South Wales, a township that had already earned the title of being the ‘Hot-air-ballooning capital of Australia’ and is 30 kilometres north of Cowra.
Canowindra became world-famous in 1955, when a 360-million-year-old fossil was found here. Today, you can see it among other fascinating exhibits at the amazing Age of Fishes Museum.
Yes, we’ve reached Canowidrra just to witness the competition ‘Canowidra International Balloon Challenge 2015’. We really were excited to watch how ballooning especially the launching is done and when the balloons are up in the air flying.
We stayed for two nights at the Blayney Holiday Park since the launching date will be held the following day, in the afternoon around 6.00pm.
We checked in early at the Holiday Park that day and because of that we were able to visit Blayney Wind Farm and the Carcoar Dam which are not that far. How the Wind Farm operates is fully illustrated on a board posted right infront of a viewing shed. The Carcoar Dam is relatively small with minor ungated concrete double parabolic arch dam but in spite of that it is still an attraction in this place.
Another attraction is the Carcoar Dam Free Camp, a medium sized camp ground on the banks of the Carcoar Dam. The location and surrounding are fantastic, it reflects the composite beauty of the river, the bank, and the dam.
The following day we drove to Canowindra. At first the weather was fine but in the afternoon heavy and dark clouds were progressing into where the event will take place. As we’re approaching the place, heavy rains poured down and we’re left with the choice to just stay inside our car after we parked on a side road. Spectators were taking refuge under the canopies of a Coffee Shop and some also inside their cars while others were strolling around with their umbrellas open.
It took more than half an hour for the rain to stop to a drizzling state and at that time launching was about to start. Cars that carried the balloon were already in position inside the vast field, and operators were just waiting for the rain to a complete stop. It did stop. The ground was already wet, some part was flooded, some muddy which makes more unbearable to some. It was already dark when the time came for the launching, people lined up forming a huge circle but far away from the launching positions.
I set up my tripod, and attached my camera unto it, I had a good view towards the launching position.
Moments later, we can hear the balloons being pumped up with hot air, and one by one the balloons started to become big, not long enough some already were standing up. I did have good photos up to this point. Then again, it started to drizzle, umbrellas started to open once more. I saw four balloons rising, the images I took were excellent as I kept my umbrella firmly shielding my camera from the rain. The show was awesome! The view, how the balloons grew when hot air were pumped up was stunning as the balloon crew were holding them down.
Half an hour later it rained again, now it was for real, heavy rain with strong winds. The balloon crews can’t help but to deflate all the balloons and that signaled the show was over! People were now walking out and seeking shelters from some buildings and into their cars. We can’t move out that fast as there were too many people walking through and out the gate or exit points of the field.
My camera bag was wet on the outside but I was able to pack my camera and lenses as my daughter kept an umbrella under me steadily. Our excitement became a sort of frustrations because the event was half finished! That day wasn’t really good for the event! Well, I had some few good shots taken, and I believe that was fine.
On our way we passed by Eugowra then to the town of Forbes.
Though another three hours more of driving, the excitement was worth it, we were satisfied at what we saw, very interesting field of science on display, another field of engineering, huge documentation, photography of the universe, and many more. The dish was huge 64 metres, really awesome, and we said to ourselves that we were lucky to have reach this place.
The Dish is indeed another feat of engineering, and Parkes is lucky that it hosts this attraction in their township. There were heaps of visitors that day, and some were still getting off from their cars when we left the observatory. It took us for a while to digest everything that are written as descriptions to all the display inside the museum.