Balloons over Waikato is a premier hot air balloon event in the country that is held every March in Hamilton at Innes Common and the University of Waikato. This five-day fun festival attracts thousands of spectators from all over New Zealand and other countries. Being held since 1988, it has become an iconic festival for the local community.
Balloons over Waikato starts with Hamilton City Council Opening Fiesta that takes place at Hamilton Lake. It's marked with the first take-off of dozens of balloons in the sky that takes place at 7 am on the first day of the festival. The main attraction of the festival is Night Glow Waikato that creates a unique atmosphere and inspires all participants. Kids especially like the Walk Thru Balloon—a great experience of walking inside a hot air balloon and getting into a basket. The last two days are a culmination of the festivities. There is live music, carnival rides, and fireworks. Many prizes and fun competitions await the pilots and spectators.
Don't miss the Cash Grab Spectacular when balloon pilots try to get $1,000 cash from the top of a pole. The festival ends with another spectacular night glow and plenty of fun!