Hot-Air Balloon Flight or Helicopter Ride - What's the best experience in Melbourne

Hot-Air Balloon Flight or Helicopter Ride - What's the best experience in Melbourne

Hot-Air Balloon Flights Melbourne or a Sunrise Helicopter Ride - What's the best experience

A sunrise in Melbourne is the most beautiful and incredible time of the day. It’s also when Melbourne, the most liveable city in the world, is just waking up. It’s rare to see people up at sunrise, but there’s often a crazy few who are out of bed at the crack of dPawn for the promise of seeing something beautiful, like a Melbourne sunrise.

It’s one thing to wake up to a sunrise over Melbourne and it’s an entirely different thing to experience a Melbourne sunrise while flying through the air on a sunrise helicopter flight or hot air balloon ride in the early hours of the morning.

Sunrise is the absolute best time to take a hot air balloon ride or helicopter flight and this once-in-a-lifetime experience allows you to see Melbourne coming alive under the morning sun from 1,500 feet (or 500 metres) in the air. You’ll see Melbourne’s famous landmarks such as the Brighton Beach Boxes under the beautiful morning light and have spectacular views as far as the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula as you float through the air.

A hot air balloon flight package will take you over Melbourne’s suburbs, CBD and Yarra river on a relaxed flight under the amazing morning sun. A sunrise helicopter flight adventure lets you soar through the air with aerial views of the city, coast and Melbourne’s famous beaches as the sun begins to rise.

The only question that remains is, should you take a classic hot air balloon flight or choose the helicopter ride at sunrise?

Experience a Sunrise Helicopter Flight over Melbourne (Hot-Air Balloon Style)

A hot air balloon ride over Melbourne is one of the best things to do in Melbourne and an experience that hundreds of reviews highly recommend. But, did you know that there is also a helicopter flight with unforgettable views that can take your flying over Melbourne at sunrise? 

Rotor One recently launched a sunrise helicopter flight with inspiration from one of the most popular travel & lifestyle influencers in Melbourne, @whereiskapa

This 30 minute helicopter ride has quickly become one of the best sightseeing activities in the Melbourne region in 2022 and an unforgettable way to discover this special city in Victoria.

The Sunrise Helicopter Flight Experience in Melbourne - The Best Alternative to Hot Air Ballooning!

5:30am: Arrive at Essendon Airport

Sunrise Views from Essendon Airport

Your sunrise helicopter experience starts at the Rotor One hangar at Essendon Airport at 6:00 am. Relax in the guest lounge while your helicopter is prepared and your pilot walks you through a short safety briefing (this is essential, given the doors of the helicopter will be off for the entire flight!). They'll explain the flight path and answer any questions you may have.

After a short briefing with your pilot, take a walk out onto the tarmac to board your helicopter. Use this amazing opportunity to take a few unforgettable photos of your helicopter with the distant sunrise and view of the Melbourne city skyline in the background.

5:45am: Take-off on your sunrise helicopter ride

Sunrise Helicopter Flight over Melbourne CBD

Take off from Essendon Airport and float towards Melbourne on your doors-off helicopter ride as the sun begins to rise behind the Dandenong Ranges in the Yarra Valley.

Cruise in your open-air helicopter as the unforgettable aerial views of Melbourne start to come in to view.

5:50am: Fly over the Melbourne CBD

Sunrise view of Melbourne City from a helicopter

As you fly over Melbourne CBD in your helicopter, you'll have sun-soaked views of Melbourne's best landmarks including the Melbourne Star, Marvel Stadium and Eureka Tower and Port Phillip Bay looming in the distance.

When the weather is perfect, it's very likely you'll spot hot air balloon flights flying over Melbourne - One of the only major cities in the country that allows hot air ballooning over the city.

You'll have to pinch yourself and your partner as you realise you're on one of the most romantic adventures available in Melbourne (made even better if this was a surprise gift for your partner!)

5:55am: Fly over St Kilda & Luna Park

Sunrise Views of Luna Park from a helicopter

As your helicopter passes by Melbourne CBD, you'll have spectacular views of St Kilda and Luna Park as you descend to fly low and slow down Melbourne's golden coast.

As you look right, the sun will be rising on the horizon while you enjoy amazing views of the ships arriving to dock in Port Melbourne.

As you gaze to the left, you’ll see spectacular views of the south-east suburbs of Melbourne and the morning traffic beginning to filter on to major roads and highways.

6:00am: Fly over the amazing Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes

Brighton Beach Boxes at sunrise

Your sunrise helicopter tour will fly past one of Melbourne's most iconic beach locations - the Brighton Beach Boxes. Fly past this iconic landmark as the morning light casts shadows on the Beach Boxes over Port Phillip Bay.

There won't be a soul in sight as you as you float over Melbourne's beaches on your sunrise sightseeing adventure.

Your pilot will show you a little piece of history hidden at Sandringham Marina, a sunken Submarine from World War 1, before making a U-turn to fly back along the coast.

6:10am: Fly over Port Phillip Bay en-route to Melbourne

Helicopter Flight over Port Phillip Bay at Sunrise

On your way back, your helicopter flight path takes you over Melbourne’s Sports Precinct which includes aerial views of the Yarra River, AAMI Park, Rod Laver Arena and the MCG. 

If the weather is right, you'll once again be spoilt with amazing views of hot air balloon rides taking place over the city. Your helicopter will fly right by the hot air balloon flights as they slowly float over Melbourne on the way to their landing location.

When you arrive back at Essendon Airport, the sun will be shining bright in the sky and the airport will be bustling with planes and helicopters. Before you leave, be sure to grab a few photos in front of the helicopter with the city skyline in the background and the amazing smile on both your faces.

How much does a sunrise flight cost in Melbourne in 2022?

A sunrise flight in Melbourne starts at $399 per person in a helicopter or $499 per person in a hot air balloon. Rotor One is the only company in Melbourne to offer sunrise helicopter rides.

Hot-Air Ballooning Flights in Melbourne

Hot-air balloons over Melbourne CBD

Hot air ballooning flights are a classic way to experience sunrise and the perfect birthday or anniversary gift for a partner.

A hot air balloon flight is typically a 4 hours experience involving you arriving to a nominated hotel or departure location very early in the morning, usually an hour or more before your balloon flight is scheduled to depart.

Your hot air ballooning team will conduct a safety briefing before you're transported to the hot air balloon launch site, which take place at different locations across Melbourne.

When you arrive you'll help set up the hot air balloon with the team and have some time to capture photos with the hot air balloon in the background. Your hot air ballooning adventure now begins as you float with the wind for just under an hour enjoying a 360 degree views from your hot-air balloon.

Hot air balloon flights start from Melbourne and the Yarra Valley and also include optional services and packages including gift vouchers, picture and video packages and a champagne breakfast on-site or at a hotel.

What is the best location for balloon rides in Australia?

Melbourne is the only city in Australia that allows hot-air balloons to fly directly over the city. The second amazing location would be a hot-air balloon ride over the Yarra Valley.

The most professional Hot-Air Ballooning teams in Melbourne:

Hot air balloon flights Melbourne start at $495 per person. The prices range based on tour operator, location and optional packages including breakfast, wine, photos and gift vouchers. We'd recommend this highly-rated  Hot Air Balloon experience in Melbourne which you can book on Viator.

Another stunning location you should include on your list is a hot-air balloon ride in the Yarra Valley.

Should you choose a hot air ballooning experience or a helicopter ride at sunrise?

Hot air ballooning and helicopter rides at sunrise are both experiences you remember for a lifetime. Hot air balloon flights and sunset helicopter rides are amazing gifts that your partner would be excited to receive for a birthday or anniversary celebration. Whether you choose a hot air balloon flight or a sunrise helicopter ride comes down to your personal preference.

A hot air balloon flight in Melbourne is a slightly longer experience, requiring you to be at the departure site in the very early hours of the morning. Hot air ballooning is also a more calming experience for those who like to take things slow and discover Melbourne at a relaxing pace

A sunrise helicopter ride on the other hand is exactly what adventure-seeking people are looking for. You only have to arrive 15 minutes before your flight and the helicopter allows you to travel around the city and down the coast, a route that wouldn't be achievable on a hot air balloon ride.

Watch the full video of the experience here:

If we had to choose, we'd recommend the sunrise helicopter ride given it's a more adventurous flying experience, allows you to discover more of Melbourne from the air, and is more private experience with a maximum of 3 passengers per helicopter.

Learn more about the sunrise helicopter ride by Rotor One.

Alternatively, if you're set on flying in a hot air ballon instead, book a Hot Air Balloon ride over Melbourne or a Hot Air Balloon ride over the Yarra Valley.

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About The Author

Edward Taylor - Owner & Commercial Pilot at Rotor One

Edward Taylor is a Helicopter Pilot based in Melbourne, Australia. He holds a Commercial Pilot's License (CPL-H) from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and is the Owner and a Commercial Pilot at Rotor One (Australia). Edward is a local expert in helicopter tours across Australia and has had the pleasure of flying helicopters in England, Italy, Switzerland, the USA and Israel. Edward also loves flying with his Golden Retriever, Leo.

✉️ Send Edward an Email

About Us

Rotor One - Melbourne Helicopter Rides 🚁

We're proud to be Melbourne's #1 rated helicopter company with an exclusive selection of helicopter rides, wine tours and charter destinations in Melbourne.

Experience Melbourne's iconic sights on a spectacular flight over Melbourne CBD, indulge in one of Yarra Valley's famed vineyards, or witness the breathtaking 12 Apostles from the sky.

Mark your anniversary with our Couples Only Experience, or surprise your children with our Kid's Co-Pilot Experience — the best birthday gift they'll ever receive.

We believe a helicopter ride is more than a flight — it's a breathtaking adventure that you'll remember for a lifetime.

Have a question?

📞 Call us on (03) 7065 1888