Meet your ballooning team

Meet your Hunter Valley hot air balloon team.


Chief Pilot and Owner, Daren Pallett has been flying hot air balloons commercially in the Hunter Valley for over 10 years.  He is without doubt the most experienced full-time balloon pilot in the Hunter ensuring you the highest level of safety and enjoyment for your morning’s adventure.  Before starting Wine Country Ballooning, Daren was the General Manager and Senior Pilot of one of Australia’s biggest balloon companies.  Moving forward with Wine Country Ballooning, Daren enjoys the intimacy and personal service he is able to offer his passengers by flying small groups in comfortable hot air balloons.Daren is a certified Commercial Pilot with a Commercial Hot air balloon Pilot’s Licence from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority allowing him to conduct balloon flights in any size balloon and has held a hot air balloon licence since the 1990′s without incident.  Daren also holds a Maintenance Authority issued by CASA certifying his competency in the up-keep of the aircraft.When not hot air ballooning, Daren is a passionate member of the NSW Fire Brigade and is keen to keep the ballooning separate from the fire fighting!! Daren-Pilot-cropped

Office Staff – the whole team consists of Daren’s wife, Yvette who has 10 years experience successfully managing hot air balloon companies, and a BA (Tourism Management) degree from the University of Technology, Sydney.  It is normally her voice you will hear on the phone and you are guaranteed a friendly and cheerful reception – as long as you don’t call before 8am!!

jed-on-the-phone Safety OfficersWe have two of them waiting at home.  We can think of no better reason to ensure your hot air balloon flight is conducted in a safe and professional manner. saftey-officer

Ground Crew – a small team of dedicated professionals make up our ground crew. All crew are certified in their competency in retrieval driving, hot air balloon construction and champagne pouring. Our crew play an integral role in the safety and enjoyment of your hot air balloon experience.  All crew are regularly trained and assessed in excess of the CASA standard.  This ensures they are of the highest possible level.