The ultimate adventure in Queensland’s hidden gem

On the trike!
On the trike!

For anyone who knows me, “before dawn” is not my natural habitat, although there was a time when arriving home at dawn was … but that is another story for another time! For the non-believers, here is a picture of me outside the hotel in the dark.

Karen out the front of the hotel, ready to go!

We were off on our next adventure thanks to Floating Images, who have been floating people through the skies above Ipswich and the greater Brisbane area in hot air balloons for 15 years. Floating Images picked us up from our hotel and we piled into the back of a 4WD with our fellow balloonists.

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There were 10 of us on this flight and hubby and yours truly weren’t the oldest passengers. Contrary to popular belief this is not an adventure governed by age.

Mind you, pictures of me getting into and out of the basket thankfully do not exist so my version is: “I managed to both with total grace!” No one can dispute this statement and if grace is not a word that others would use, who cares?

I floated over parts of Ipswich in a hot air balloon and that is worth a little loss of dignity. Once we arrived in Rosewood the fascinating procedure inflating the balloon began – see, John is helping.

John helping with the balloon

As we started to rise, I felt a rush of emotion and happy tears sprang into my eyes – this was just so wonderful. Anyone who has been in a hot air balloon will understand when I say how quiet it is with the burner off and you are floating above the land below. Your hearing tunes into the sounds of life often overlooked in your busy lives.

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I heard a calf calling to its mum, dogs barking their annoyance that their day was being interrupted by this colourful thing overhead and numerous bird calls. We had a calm day so there was little sound of wind or air and sounds just carried up and away. This was nature’s soundscape – I could hear the trees whispering to each other; natures conversation.

Sun reflected onto the dam.

All too soon, we were descending into a paddock near a small side road – the residents of a house nearby could not believe this early morning visit and came out in their pyjamas to take their own photos of our landing. Before we took the flight, we were shown take-off and landing positions to assume, but our landing was so gentle I could not believe we were back on terra firma.

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Everything packed up again, we piled back into our transport and talked all the way back to the Metro International where, as part of the Floating Images tour, we sat down to share a buffet breakfast.

Looking into the balloon

But the adrenaline rush was not yet over.

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Do your children and grandchildren consider you a bit over the hill? It is true that as we age, we become more aware of staying safe and avoiding potential “accidents”. Mind you I remember thinking my parents were old and I’m now older than both when they died – youth never see themselves becoming older.

Well I have a perfect antidote to lacking an adventurous spirit — take a ride on a trike!

All ready to ride!

A trike is a three-seater motorbike! It is an awesome ride and the way to gain some street cred! One niece wrote “OMG Aunty Karen and Uncle John, too cool for school… love it” and another 20-year-old-ish friend commented, “Coolest over-60s in the world!!!” Now, that is street cred for you!

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Having been driven around South Bank on a rickshaw-style pushbike, when I first heard about this trip, I thought it was something similar. Oh boy, did I get it wrong!
A pushbike ride over flat ground is great fun, but nothing compared to riding on the back of a motor bike travelling at 100kph!

On the trike!
On the trike!

Wow, that gets the blood pumping! 

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Everything is provided and Steve from Ipswich Trike Tours gives you a briefing about the ride, shows you how to use the camera on your helmet and speak to each other throughout the ride. Then you are off on a scenic ride around Ipswich. But it is when you leave the suburban streets that the adrenaline really pumps.

Be prepared, the people you pass will wave, whistle and call out things you can’t hear through your helmet – we just waved back, while laughing with pure exhilaration.
We arrived at our destination for Saturday night, Spicer’s Hidden Vale, on a massive high.

What a day!

Have you ever done something like this before? Perhaps you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie yourself? Let us know in the comments below. 

The writer was invited to experience this tour by Discover Ipswich, but all opinions are her own. 

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