Hot Air-xpertise

When you think of Canberra, what springs to mind? Apparently, one of the most common answers is hot air balloons. Now that I’ve said it, you can’t unthink it, can you? You’re welcome. Enjoy forever associating Canberra with hot air balloons – hey, it beats politics, right?

But balloons aren’t the only kind of hot air the nation’s capital is associated with, and I’m not talking about the goings on at Parliament House, although I suppose that qualifies as well. Research suggests that the city has quite the reputation in the domestic climate control arena, being one of the country’s most reliable spots for contracting a heating repair technician. Canberra, it seems, cares about staying warm – hey, you would too if you lived out here in the middle of winter. Think you know cold, Melbournians? 

The thing about Canberra is that outsiders don’t seem to realise how freaking cold it gets here. I mean, I’ve had friends come to visit in July and not bring a coat. It’s like, mate, we’re hardly in the tropics out here; did you expect it to be balmy? On the flip-side, it gets pretty darned hot in the warmer months, and visitors seem to miss the memo about that as well – I regularly witness academics turning up for summer conferences fully suited, looking extremely uncomfortable. 

Why these misunderstandings? I think it’s because the ACT not somewhere people typically pass through en route to anywhere – it’s quite a significant deviation from the highway. Nor is it generally a first choice as a holiday destination, unless you’re an art nerd and there’s something good on at the national gallery (which, on a side note, demonstrates the excellence in air conditioning service and maintenance Canberra is apparently known for).

Maybe that’s why the hot air balloons are so popular – they enable visitors to suss out where the bleeding heck they actually are, in landscape terms. It’s not that easy to describe to your average Joe from Sydney or Melbourne.