There are many ways to get a bird’s-eye view of Canberra — a leisurely drive through the mountains or a trip up Telstra Tower perhaps? But for those who like a bit of pulse-raising action adventure with their sightseeing there are plenty of options.
Royal Australian Airforce-trained pilot Ian Eccles, who flies commercial aircraft for Qantas, will leave you thrilled to the gills with a flight aboard a Russian-made warplane high over the city.
His Yakovlev model 52 aircraft is known as a “pilot maker” because it was designed for aerobatic training, and Eccles is not averse to putting it through its paces with an eager passenger on board.
His Capital Warbirds business offers a number of aeronautical experiences for the adventurous. “Most people opt for the ‘Top Gun’ experience, 45 minutes of aerobatics and sightseeing,’’ Eccles says. “I tailor each flight to the individual to ensure maximum enjoyment. I am also involved in low-level aerobatic displays at airshows, corporate and local events and weddings.’’
Eccles flies passengers aged from 12 to 75, the only restrictions being a basic level of fitness, the ability to fit into the harness, and a bodyweight of less than 130kg.
“When a client books a flight we arrange a mutually agreeable time with acceptable weather. This could be the next day or in six months as there are no time restrictions on bookings,” he says.
If you’d rather jump out of a plane than cruise around in one, Skydive Oz is five minutes from Parliament House on the Deakin sports oval. Skydive’s Terry ‘Tezza’ Riddle says the idea of jumping out of a plane both fascinated and scared him to death for the first few times as he learned to skydive.
“It’s all so much easier now. The sport has come a long way since February 1979 when I did my first jump,’’ he says. He has now completed more than 12,000 jumps.
“There’s a lot that’s great about skydiving… the visuals, the friends, the challenges, and therefore the reward,’’ he says.
Allow one hour for a Skydive Oz jump and wear comfortable clothes — only those older than 12 can jump.
For something more gentle, Balloon Aloft flies every day of the year, weather permitting, except Christmas day.
Take off with the sunrise and drift gently with the breeze, enjoying breathtaking views of the nation’s capital coming to life.
Views of Lake Burley Griffin, the parklands and the architectural icons in the Parliamentary Triangle are enchanting. In spring, the gardens come to life in a blaze of colour, so flights make a fabulous platform for photographers. You’ll be up in the air for about 45 minutes, but allow three to four hours for the full experience.
Canberra Helicopters offers another way to take in the glorious views and offers several experiences, beginning with a flight over Lake Burley Griffin and including a one-hour flight over the city and then Namadgi National Park.
Back on terra firma, action-packed Ford or Holden V8 driving experiences are provided at Wakefield Park Raceway, north east of Canberra. Like a race driver, you attend a driver’s briefing and then suit up in a race suit and helmet before going full throttle.
After an adrenaline-pumping experience in the skies or on the track, you’re going to want somewhere quiet and comfortable to rest your head, and that’s where we come in. Book a stay at one of our four conveniently located properties in Canberra here.
What’s more, we also proudly offer the complete Balloon Package. Feel the magic as your soar over a changing landscape at sunrise in a basket under our very own Abode Hotels hot air balloon! Prices for our Balloon Package start from $630 per night in a Premium Studio or $660 per night in an Executive Studio for two adults (Includes balloon flights). Call 1300 1 ABODE (22633) today to check availability and take the flight of your life.