The racing club was established in 1863 and is located on the perimeter of the Mortlock River. Race meetings are held from May to October. The Gold Northam Cup is held in October at the end of the season.
The Avon Valley is spectacular with just the smallest amount of mist clinging to the trees as the early morning sun rises. Ours was a particularly cold morning and the sudden bursts from the flame burner were a welcomed bit of warmth. Going higher certainly doesn’t mean getting colder as the temperature really doesn’t change.
Finally the balloon takes off in a gentle uplifting as it glides slowly up and over the fields and ponds, gently ascending into the mist and blue skies. If you had any worries about going up in a balloon, you soon forget as it is the most gentlest of rides. It is so quiet except for the odd burst from the propane burner.
Once inflated, its all aboard the wicker basket and that is no mean feat. There was no stool or chair to climb on, just mere cut outs in the side of the balloon to put your feet as you scrambled over the edge of the basket. There are various sizes in balloons and how many they hold. Ours held 8 – 4 either side in a fairly cramped area. Everything is carefully calculated depending on size and weight of passengers.
The balloon is unpacked/unwrapped and stretched out to its full length. Everyone is asked to participate in all the preparations in getting the balloon inflated. Large fans are used to force the hot air through the chanel of the balloon as it slowly inflates.
Ballooning starts early in the morning at 6.00am. at the Winward Office where hot drinks and biscuits are a welcomed sight. Depending on the wind conditions you either prepare to take off from the airfield or you are transported to a local farmers field. Be prepared to rug up very warmly. Wear waterproof shoes as well as the grass is heavy with dew
Boating is allowed on all parts of the river within the Northam township between March 1st and September 30th. The part of the river downstream from the Peel Terrace Bridge to the weir is available for permitted crafts all year round. Those allowed include kayaks, rafts, canoes and paddle craft. No power or sail boats allowed.
Winward Balloon Adventures operates out of North and is Western Australia's oldest and most experienced Commercial Balloon companies. The operate April to late November and offer Champagne Balloon flights daily. At other times of the year, the hot and windy conditions make it unsuitable for ballooning. The 45 min balloon rides take you over the picturesque Avon Valley.
Northam is the starting point for Australia's wildest white water classic. Held every year in August, the 2 day event is a gruelling 133km covers a route from North to Perth and involves canoes, kayaks, dinghies, small motor boats and surf skies. There are many vantage points along the way to view this event.