News - 26 March 2020
Take a virtual tour of our National Parks
It's becoming increasingly difficult to get out to our favourite wild spaces. Some National Parks are still recovering from the catastrophic bushfires and remain closed, or partially so. Now we have become a danger to ourselves if too many people convene in the same place, which could help spread COVID-19 between visitors to wilderness areas and also risk infecting the often isolated communities that live there.
It's something that has forced Parks Australia to close the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Booderee, Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks.
With Australia headed for a period of severely restricted movement to curb the spread of COVID-19, most of us are all but housebound. But to stave off some of that isolation-induced boredom, and to glean just a little of that boost to mental wellbeing that being in nature brings, we've compiled a list of the best virtual tours of Australia's National Parks for you to take a (digital) wander in.
This virtual tour along what is perhaps our most famous stretch of coast allows you to see the Twelve Apostles from interesting new angles, showing off the massive scale of the limestone buttresses.
NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service went all out with virtual tours and now has over 50 of its parks mapped in Google Street View. It means you can explore the likes of The Royal National Park (below) from your sofa with a phone, tablet or laptop; or go for full immersion if you have a VR headset.
Kakadu National Park has been closed due to the threat COVID-19 poses to visitors and the remote Indigenous communities that call this wilderness home. Thankfully, there are a number of Google-powered virtual tours of the park's icons to bide the time before the biggest National Park in the country reopens. Here, Jim Jim Falls.
Perhaps our most iconic National Park has also been shut down completely to stem the risk of COVID-19. Fortunately, Parks Australia collaborated with Google to bring you immersive Story Spheres of its most important sites, with audio explaining the importance of Uluru to the Traditional Owners, the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people. There are also some great Google Photo Spheres, like the one below at the Kapi Mutitjulu waterhole.
While it's only a 45-minute drive from Albany, being situated in the south of Western Australia means Porongurup National Park is hard to reach for most Australians, regardless of any travel restrictions. Take this virtual tour to admire the views from the Granite Skywalk that curls around the 670-metre-high granite domes of Castle Rock. You can also download a virtual reality app to tour more of WA's parks on your home computer or compatible VR headset.