When we’re stuck inside, it can be difficult to soothe the itch to travel, knowing there are so many exciting things to do and see out there! Luckily, with the help of high resolution cameras, 360 degree technology and fast internet there are a range of trips you can take from the comfort of your home.
From watching grizzly bears fish for salmon to walking through some of the world’s most famous museums, there are virtual tours for every interest. In fact, there are enough places to visit online that you could choose a different trip every day for ten years! By that time, who knows how realistic and immersive the experience might be.
We’ve pulled together some of our favourite online adventures to help you ‘travel’ from home. While nothing beats seeing these places in person, these virtual tours come pretty close.
Museums and Galleries
One of the joys of visiting a new city is spending an afternoon wandering through the halls of local museums and galleries. Luckily, many cultural centres around the world have a way to explore them from your living room.
The Smithsonian in Washington DC is the most popular natural history museum in the world, with over 7 million visitors each year. On their website you can take virtual guided tours of their exhibitions or choose your own adventure as you view the impressive exhibits including a range of dinosaur skeletons.
Closer to home, the National Gallery of Victoria has a wonderful collection of self-guided virtual tours. You can walk through the different exhibitions, including a wide collection of work by Indigenous artists.
Google has curated tours of over 2,000 museums around the world, using a combination of high quality photography, video and Google Street View. You can ‘walk’ through some of the most famous and special exhibitions on earth. There’s so much to see on this platform alone, that it can be quite overwhelming. Here are some of our favourites:
This museum in London has over 8 millions works in it’s collection and documents human culture from the beginning to the present. There will be no shortage of stories to explore in their online exhibits.
This archeological museum in Greece houses over 3,000 artifacts unearthed from the surrounding slopes. Using the virtual tour you can view sculptures from the Greek Bronze Age to end of Antiquity
Regardless of the weather outside, you can escape to the ocean with this incredible celebration of Australia’s surfing history. The virtual tour is full of images and stories, with plenty of made-for-online exhibits to explore.
Animals and nature
While not quite the same as seeing them in person, the quality of these tours allows you to get up close and personal with flora and fauna around the world, regardless of the weather.
Taronga Zoo in Sydney and Western Plains in Dubbo have an online platform full of live streams and featured videos. Have a look behind the scenes with their Keeper Chats video series and see what goes on in their animal hospital.
Watch brown bears in Alaska as they catch salmon in the stream, to fatten up for the winter. In the middle of summer the sun barely sets and so there is something to see all day long.
It’s never been easier to explore Uluru in the heart of the red centre. You can virtually walk the 9.4km circumference of Uluru and hear the stories and history of this sacred land.
To showcase the world’s largest cave, Song Doon in Vietnam, National Geographic has developed a virtual tour of the jungle and tunnels. They hope that this will protect it from being ruined by overdevelopment and tourism, while still sharing it’s beauty with the world.
If you are looking for a more passive way to enjoy somewhere new, you might enjoy watching some ‘slow TV’ films. These are films which can be any length, and are filmed in real time. They are mesmerising and also relaxing. You’ll be surprised by how enjoyable it is to simply watch the world go by.
Some of the most famous examples of Slow TV are train rides, which wind through the countryside. This film follows the Berninabahn train as it goes from Switzerland to Italy, through the Alps.
Sit and watch dogs and their owners as they socialise on the sand while the waves gently roll onto shore. How many different breeds can you count?
Take a one hour walk through Ikebukuro in Tokyo. See shops, restaurants and residents going about their day in the city. It’s surprisingly captivating to be a fly on the wall as the camera moves through the streets.