It's been seven years between sightings, but for Canberrans anxious to see its return, the wait was worth it.
Skywhale, the symbol of Canberra's centenary, returned to the capital on Monday for Canberra Day celebrations with spectators able to make brand new memories of the famous hot-air balloon.
While the multi-breasted whale did not take flight, Skywhale was inflated in all her glory on the lawns of Old Parliament House to the delight of thousands.
Being such an unconventional shape, getting Skywhale to rise proved to be more difficult than first thought.
One side of the whale seemed to inflate more quickly than the other, which needed several attempts to be filled with hot air before it ascended.
Skywhale's pilot Craig Farrell said the inflation was only half the challenge.
"The other half is to get it down, and we're here to entertain the crowd," Mr Farrell said.
"It's not just the size of Skywhale that's challenging, it's the asymmetry. Everything else in the balloon that isn't a traditional teardrop shape is dead weight.
"Once you introduce asymmetry into the mix, it's very difficult aerodynamically to hold it up, and landing is even more difficult."
Skywhale's burners were given a workout throughout the morning, making sure the balloon stayed inflated to entertain the crowd.
The balloon remained tethered throughout the morning, partially due to the large amount of space required to land Skywhale should it take off.
"We couldn't land it in a confined space, we need a football oval to land it carefully and we need other options to land it," Mr Farrell said.
Skywhale was joined by the 38-metre high T-Rex balloon next to it, as the lawns of Old Parliament House began to look like the start of a Japanese monster movie with two large inflatable creatures standing side by side.
Weather conditions were perfect for hot-air balloon flying, as dozens of more traditional-shaped balloons took the skies.
Mr Farrell said in the years Skywhale was absent from Canberra, it had taken on a life and a legend of its own.
"Everyone has a view of Skywhale, so many people love it, others have different views," he said.
"One person said to me 'Skywhale has a true soul', and it's not just a shape. Skywhale is a soul. A wonderful true soul."
Skywhale was commissioned for Canberra's centenary celebrations in 2013 at a cost of more than $300,000.
Designed by artist Patricia Piccinini, the hot-air balloon received controversial and mixed reactions upon its unveiling, but has since become a Canberra icon
A male version of the hot-air balloon, Skywhalepapa, will be unveiled in May by the National Gallery of Australia, also designed by Piccinini.
The enthusiasm for Skywhale wasn't just limited to the hot-air balloon pilots, as Canberrans turned out in droves just to catch a glimpse.
ABC Canberra presenter Paula Kruger's enthusiasm extended to dressing up her Labrador Otis in balloons to resemble Skywhale. A Skydog, if you will.
Hughes resident Toni Bushby was out on the lawns early to see Skywhale along with her family.
She said she had a hard time trying to explain the concept of the Skywhale to the family's German au pair.
"The confused look just said it all when I tried to describe it," Ms Bushby said.
"I saw it originally when Skywhale was first here, and it's a bit iconic now."
After a many year absence from seeing the Canberra Balloon Spectacular, the Skywhale was enough to bring Gordon resident Sally Stratton back out.
"It's all been very exciting. I can't get over the crowds that have come this time. Last time there was hardly any one here," she said.
For those who missed seeing Skywhale in her natural habitat, she will make another appearance on Monday night as part of the Enlighten Festival, being inflated from 8pm for a "glow up".
The Canberra Balloon Spectacular runs until March 15.