A new hot air ballooning tour over parts of the North East's fluorescent yellow canola crops this spring has been credited with elevating the mood of regional Victorian's after the state's many lockdowns.
Milawa based Goldrush Ballooning has this season launched the first of its 'Canola Flights', which departs from the Benalla airport and tours north west over the expansive flowering golden canola crops towards Dookie.
Director of flight operations Paul Gibbs said flying above the fields of undulated bright yellow as the sun rose on the horizon literally and metaphorically lifted people.
Mr Gibbs said on the flights so far, people had reacted with total relief.
"You can just about see the air or the life getting back into peoples daily routines," he said.
"Because it really takes them away from what they've had to endure over the last 18 months.
"It takes them out of their brain fog and gives them a great perspective on their life and the beautiful north eastern Victoria.
"So we kind of bring back normality I guess or put them in touch with the real life that they had before the pandemic hit.
"I guess it's a moment for reflection and getting away from what has been a difficult period."
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Mr Gibbs said it wasn't just the people riding in the balloon who enjoyed the flight.
"We get great reactions," he said.
"In fact [Tuesday] morning we flew over a couple of farm houses and there were people out waving saying a beautiful morning for a flight, we were telling them their crop was looking fantastic and they appreciated that.
"We had a couple of farmers who were out in their ute who stopped to take photos along the way, they would wave at us, we'd wave back at them.
"I think overall people are just glad to see somebody outside enjoying the beautiful spring weather.
"People are just pleased to see us."
Mr Gibbs said his business, like many other tourism operations across the state and country, had been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions.
"I guess we're lucky in that we're small and we're able to pivot and we're kind of flexible," he said.
"We do all the things that all typical small operators are able to do so we have definitely survived, but we're looking forward to getting through the pandemic, there's no two ways about it."
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