A trip to New Zealand could be first on our travel list

Kristine Tarbert
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

Some experts have predicted international travel could still be a while away yet, but there is hope in sight with Prime Minister Scott Morrison already hinting at domestic travel and even a ‘trans-Tasman bubble’ between Australia and New Zealand in the near future.

So we’ve put together some travel inspiration to get you excited for a trip across the ditch, or maybe even something further away once we’re able to take to the skies again for international travel.

Section of the foot trail leading to the base of Mount Cook the tallest mountain in New Zealand. Photo: Getty

New Zealand

With NZ being potentially the first international destination to open up to Aussies, Auckland’s official tourism organisation (ATEED) has released a video as a solid reminder of why a short break visit to Auckland and its beautiful surrounds should be to be on the top of traveller’s post-coronavirus to-do list.

The clip captures the beauty and stillness of Tāmaki Makaurau and New Zealand’s largest city during lockdown.

Experience Auckland’s urban adventures in a breathtaking setting all captured in a stunning 360 degree video.

Take a virtual trip down memory lane as you explore one of Auckland Museum’s online exhibition. Explore its ‘Crown Lynn Collection’ which holds over 2,000 pieces of New Zealand’s finest pottery from Crown Lynn, with highlights such as Swan Vases, Toby Jugs, animal models and household dinnerware in a myriad of designs. Or enjoy searching through Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum’s Collections Online, featuring over 800,000 records and 300,000 openly licensed images from our Natural Sciences, Documentary Heritage and Human History Collections.

If getting outdoors is more your thing right on the city of Auckland’s doorstep lies the sparkling waters and beautiful islands of the Hauraki Gulf. This area is usually easy explore with ferry rides from downtown offered to help you take in the sweeping views, but since a ferry ride is off the table for now why not take a virtual trip of the Hauraki Gulf instead.

A view of bay and beach on Rakino Island in the Hauraki Gulf. Photo: Getty

The team at Mountain Designs are also encouraging all wanderlust home-stayers to begin planning their post-COVID 19 adventure, with a couple of NZ destinations at the top of their list as well.

Mount Cook National Park - located in New Zealand’s South Island and is home to some of the country’s highest mountains and longest glaciers. Travellers who make the journey to Mount Cook National Park will have the pleasure of taking in snow-kissed mountain tops, star-studded skies and deep water canals where you could have the pleasure of canoeing through on a crisp afternoon.

Mount Taranaki - home to an active stratovolcano, based in New Zealand’s North Island. This volcano has not erupted since 1854 which has left many adventure-seekers determined to trek the volcano and its surrounds. While Mount Taranaki has been classified as “dormant”, it has also been described as one of New Zealand’s most climbed mountains, making it the perfect destination for any beginner adventure-seeker.

Milford Sound - has been described as the “eighth world wonder of the world”, by Rudyard Kipling. Milford Sound is located on the South Island of New Zealand, and is known for its picturesque sceneries. These sceneries include sky-high mountain peaks that emerge from pristine, glassy, blue waters. This beautiful region is best explored via a boat tour, where you can observe groups of fur-seal and penguin colonies living in their natural habitat.

Virtual travel experiences from around the world

But if you’re thinking of heading somewhere a little further away once we are finally able to do so and need some inspiration for your next travel destination, we’ve also rounded up some incredible virtual experiences on offer from around the globe to give you some ideas of where to head first.

South Africa

World-famous Robben Island Museum - the former prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated - is a must-see for those visiting South Africa and now, for the first time, is hosting virtual experiences where guests can wander at leisure through the World Heritage Site from the comfort of their sofa.

Famous South African chefs are also inspiring people to get creative in the kitchen and try new recipes. Cheyne Morrisby, hosts Facebook Live cooking demonstrations each night to support his team of staff.

Peter Goffe-Wood, esteemed MasterChef SA judge, is also currently hosting an Instagram live cooking series called ‘Recipes for Disaster’ which uses recipe suggestions from his audience based on what ingredients they have at home -including how to make fresh pasta and sauce.

But if you’ve always dreamed of doing a Safari, now is your chance to experience one virtually. Operators are offering viewers the chance to see the Big 5 via webcams scattered around reserves and live game drives.

Hosted safari game drive. Photo: Supplied/South Africa Tourism

Bordering Kruger National Park, Ngala Private Game Reserve and Djuma Private game reserve (whose name means roar of the lion) are not to be missed. The live sunrise safari from 2.00pm AEST will take safari-seekers on an interactive game drive, with guides answering questions from the virtual audience. Recent highlights have included viewers witnessing a pride of lions, leopards, hyenas and elephants.

Safari-seekers can now experience the vast beauty and diversity of South Africa’s National Parks (SANParks) through the Webcams that are located in Addo Elephant National Park and Kruger National Park – offering viewers the chance for a close encounter with the Big 5. 

Over at Singita in Sabi Sands, renowned for its high concentration of big game and frequent leopard sightings, a local photographer and safari guide takes viewers on a live safari through 45,000 hectares tracking lions, leopards, elephants and more along the way.

Memphis, US

The city of Memphis continues to open (virtual) doors for (armchair) travellers around the world, bringing the best of one of the globe’s hottest destination to those currently unable to travel.

One of the city’s most famous landmarks, Graceland, is giving people a live look at Elvis’ former home via a live cam. Whilst closed to the public, the mansion will be lit in red, white, and blue as a sign of solidarity. Graceland is also rolling out special content across their social media platforms including videos, contests and games, BTS looks, and even a newly created Elvis Karaoke channel on Facebook.

You can check out Graceland in Memphis via live cam. Photo: Getty

For music lovers, the Blues Foundation will be creating virtual events to replace the Blues Music Awards and Blues Hall of Fame Inductions and the opening of Stax Museum’s digital archives is also likely to be music to the ears of those looking for musical relief at home.

Mammoth Lakes, California

Surround yourself with the unbelievable in Mammoth Lakes with this video that allows you to move around and explore 360 degrees. Majestic in scale and awesome in its natural beauty, the year-round adventureland of Mammoth Lakes is host to huge mountains, expansive valleys, an incredible number of crystal clear mountain lakes and endless opportunities for adventure. Start your unreal virtual journey by exploring these immersive 360-degree videos.

Looking down the road California State Route 203 in Mammoth Lakes, with the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the distance. Photo: Getty

Japan

Kinosaki Onsen - Japan’s best Hot Spring Resort Town - is letting travellers relive this year’s cherry blossom season with a virtual sakura experience.

Kinosaki captured every moment of the breathtaking cherry blossom season, which peaked a few weeks ago, through their Instagram account, @visitkinosaki, with a newly created ‘virtual travel’ section found on its Instagram account highlights. Viewers can stroll along Kinosaki’s sakura-lined streets along its riverside, passing the town’s famous bath houses, to admire the blossoms in all their magical splendour.  

Kinosaki Onsen village with spring cherry blossoms in Hyogo, Japan. Photo: Getty

Kyoto also invites you for a virtual authentic tea ceremony at Camellia Garden. Take off your shoes and virtually step inside this authentic Kyoto teahouse for a step-by-step cherry blossom themed tea ceremony brought to you by the kind and thoughtful Atsuko-san from the tranquility of Kyoto's ‘Camellia Garden’ teahouse.

Expedia launches ‘Travel from Home’ virtual tour series

Step back in time and retrace the moments and monuments of history, from ancient Rome’s gladiatorial glory to the tragedy of Pompeii; the architectural wonders of classical Greece to the pomp of the Palace of Versailles and majesty of the Papal City.

Culture vultures can immerse themselves in a worldly wealth of arts and architecture, with online virtual visits to the world’s architectural marvels and appreciate art-historian guided tours around many of the world-acclaimed international galleries

Aspiring cooks will discover a veritable menu of culinary experiences to tantalize the senses, as both seasoned chefs and local home-cooks inspire and encourage you to embrace their own distinct culinary culture. Learn the secrets of pasta like ‘mama’ used to make, perfect the original Italian Tiramisu, or transport yourself to the streets of Barcelona and meet Natalia and her family as they teach you the secret to delicious Spanish tapas.

Whether young or old, enjoy being educated and entertained with a virtual world of cultural experiences for the whole family to do. Enthuse the kids with new adventures with immersive storytelling from the heart of Paris, or buckle in as a family and take a virtual drive through the streets of Berlin. Turn it up a notch and test your musical knowledge with a live concert and music quiz or dance through the home with interactive dance lessons from Greece.

And if you need even more ideas, we’ve rounded up some of the best movies and TV shows to help you 'travel the world'.

Got a story tip or just want to get in touch? Email us at lifestyle.tips@verizonmedia.com.