THERE is a side of Ipswich many residents are yet to witness.

Floating Images managing director Graeme Day.
Floating Images managing director Graeme Day. Emma Clarke

 

It's from 2500 feet above ground, with the day's first rays of sunshine streaming through the wicker basket keeping its guests safely secured and the crisp morning breeze interrupted only by the occasional blast of fire from over head.

The flight leaves the ground before sunrise.
The flight leaves the ground before sunrise. Emma Clarke

 

Hot air ballooning has been Graeme Day's passion for the last 25 years but it's not the thrill of floating through the sky suspended by a giant rainbow bubble that has him addicted.

"For me it's more personal, it's about sharing the experience of ballooning," he said from the air yesterday morning.

"I just love sharing it with people, sometimes it's a wedding, sometimes it's a birthday, sometimes it's a last wish for someone before they pass away.

"It's human moments and the celebration of life. Life is too short, you have to enjoy it and celebrate it but to share that experience with people in their lives is a privilege, that's why I love ballooning."

Mr Day was first introduced to hot air ballooning when travelling in France and said he brought his business, Floating Images Hot Air Ballooning Flights, to Ipswich 15 years ago to make the most of the region's picturesque scenery and inviting climate.

"For ballooning Ipswich is perfect, there is great scenery, great weather, it's got everything you need for ballooning," he said.

"You get to see the early morning sunrise, the dawn and the beautiful day coming up.

"Operating a balloon is a pretty unique experience, it doesn't have a motor so we have to work with mother nature and choosing the right spot to take off to see the best of the countryside safely."

Love birds on a high after proposal at 2500 feet

Larissa Takacs and Aaron Stranney became engaged 2500 feet above ground.
Larissa Takacs and Aaron Stranney became engaged 2500 feet above ground. Emma Clarke

 

THE sun had only just broken the horizon yesterday and already a young couple were busy ticking goals off their bucket list and making memories.

Aaron Stranney, 29, chose Ipswich as the backdrop as he got down on one knee in a hot air balloon basket and proposed to his new fiance Larissa Takacs, 24.

Ipswich Courthouse and hospital from the sky.
Ipswich Courthouse and hospital from the sky. Emma Clarke

 

"I met my now fiance in 2011 and we have two kids, our first child was born in 2013 and our second was born last June," Mr Stranney said.

"This moment we have ticked two things off Larissa's bucket list, one was to do a hot air balloon experience and the other was to go to a concert tonight. I'm over the moon."

The couple celebrated the happy news at the Guns n Roses concert before heading back to their two children in Wollongong.



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