With borders still closed international travel in 2020 is looking bleak but if there is one place Australians might be able to travel, it’s New Zealand. Both countries have shared similar success in their efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, prompting suggestions that tourism may be able to resume within a “trans-Tasman bubble.”
However, while it’s still unknown when, or if, this will happen, we’ve rounded up some of the best ways you can experience New Zealand right now, virtually. Hopefully, these virtual experiences will give you just enough inspiration to start planning your own trip once travel is deemed safe again.
It seems New Zealand was ahead of the ball game when it comes to virtual experiences, or at least its capital Wellington was; the city has its own virtual reality platform called ‘Virtual Wellington’. Anyone who owns a VR headset can partake in the WelltownVR game made up of six short interactive experiences that go to the heart of what being a Wellingtonian means. Those that don’t own a headset can explore Wellington through a number of 360 videos available on the WellTown Youtube channel which showcase some of the best things to do in the city.
Get a feel for the breath-taking scenery and snow conditions at New Zealand’s popular Remarkables ski field in the video below.
Exploring the glaciers is a popular activity in New Zealand. To give you a glimpse of what they are like, these webcams show real-time conditions at the Fox Glacier as shown from the lower icefall and from Mount Fox in South Island.
If you want to see more webcam live views of New Zealand’s scenery you can either check out Earth Cam or Take a Break, which has the webcams on time-lapse so you can admire the view from sunrise to sunset.
Christchurch tourism board are encouraging people to keep the wanderlust alive by using their new zoom backgrounds that show off the area’s incredible scenery. The campaign, ‘zoom from our place’ is all about bringing the great outdoors in and making your virtual meetings a little more exciting. Check out all the backgrounds you can download here.
New Zealand’s caves, grottos and native forests form the perfect home for glow worms, a type of insect that glows in the dark, and it is a very popular attraction for tourists. The Waitomo Caves, three hours’ drive from Auckland, offer one of the best glow worm experiences in the country. To get a taste of what it’s like to do one of these glow worm tours, check out the 360 video below.
Little Green Tours who operate personalised tours for couples and solo travellers in New Zealand have transformed their Facebook page into a virtual tour by posting about a new part of the country every day. However, you’ll need to scroll back to March 25 if you want to see day one of ‘Little Green Tours Virtual Tour 2020’. It’s a great way to pick out destinations for your own itinerary.
Videos to inspire:
In 2017 TourRadar released a video called New Zealand: The Ultimate Travel Guide and to this day it is still a fantastic resource for travellers wanting to know more about the nation of Kiwis. It covers the basic things to know, what activities you can do while you’re there, what to expect in each season and what local cuisines you should try.
This personal travel video by Balaji Ramakrishnan gives you a taste of all the adventure activities New Zealand is renowned for. It features everything from helicopter rides, jet boat rides, quad biking, indoor skydiving, to visits to major cities and attractions including Hobbiton movie set. Plus, a whole lot of spectacular scenery along the way.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) released a video that captures the beauty and stillness of Auckland during isolation with an inspiring message for travellers voiced by an 11-year-old local.
“Stop. Listen. Papatūānuku, the earth mother is breathing. Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is still,” the young girl says.
“Our land is renewing, replenishing, ready for your return… enjoy time with your families, your loved ones and soon we’ll unite again.
“We, our land, our waters, our people, we aren’t going anywhere. Dream, plan and when the time is right, we welcome you.”