The Tablelands

Something to give you a taste… 

The most fantastic experience, a magical dawn balloon flight over the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland. Once in the air, you quickly forget the 3.30am start to get up there in time to catch the dawn thermals… I’ve done this a few times now, but the Husband did it for the first time on our honeymoon. If you ever get the chance, seize it!

Mareeba Dawn

In the cool, dry, dark pre-dawn
A dragon roars quietly,
Flame bursting orange-gold,
Illuminating a yellow crysalis.
Slowly on the high plateau
A gorgeous globe arises,
Glowing, majestic,
Attended by racing satellites.

Tethered below, we wait
As the red-stained sky
Blushes warmly on
The Tableland’s rich red soil.
Silently, we drift upwards,
The land turns its waking face
Up to be kissed by the sun
Throwing aside its misty veils.

Awake in all its variety,
It is stitched, knotted, woven and ribbed
With vegetable richness
On its warm and fertile canvas.
And now the sun shouts triumphantly,
And in our fragile golden bubble
We salute her, a small tribute
Floating, like her, in the cobalt sky.

And for a more visual experience, see below! 

Firing up

Firing up


Interior view

Interior view

Tablelands landscape at dawn

Tablelands landscape at dawn

Dawn flight

Dawn flight


10 thoughts on “The Tablelands

  1. wombatquilts says:

    OMG this looks amazing.

    • katechiconi says:

      Is. Fabulous. You think it’s going to be loud and cold up there, but it’s actually mostly silent and rather warm, due to the burner, which runs all the time on low flame until they need a burst to get the balloon up again, and then it’s really loud. If you ever get a chance, try it.

      • wombatquilts says:

        I had several chances and declined all of them…I am scared of heights. When I lived in Bristol, UK I went to the balloon festival several times. Sunrise with 100s of balloons taking off is spectacular. I am so jealous of your experience but not enough to try it.

      • katechiconi says:

        Me too, but so long as you don’t look directly down I find it’s not too distressing. And the basket comes up to my chest, so I don’t get the “I’m falling over the edge” sensation. It’s just a fabulous, exhilarating experience.

  2. I am very envious. I have dropped ‘balloon flight’ as a not-so-subtle hint for birthdays etc. in the past. No luck yet.

  3. Hi there, I’ve just posted on my blog about our balloon ride in Mareeba, and I recognise the balloons in your photo! It must have been the same company. Wasn’t it amazing? Your photos are beautiful – I especially love the one looking down on the Tablelands. It was fairly overcast the morning that we went, so many of my photos came out quite dark, and ultimately disappointing. But that’s the only slightly sour note in an otherwise incredible experience!

    • katechiconi says:

      A really memorable experience, isn’t it? I couldn’t get over how silent the whole thing was, apart from the blasts of flame to get us climbing. I’ve done it several times now, and it never fails to thrill me!

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