There is no doubt that physical travel is currently restricted, but you can still enjoy the luxuries of life while in quarantine – including virtual wine tastings over Skype, live-streamed zoo visits and a classical-music concert.
Have you seen that meme about travel ideas during lockdown that’s just a random house floor plan? I LOL’d when I saw that the first time – and the 20th. And while we laugh because that’s our somewhat sad reality for the next few months at least, ‘famed philosopher’ Theodor Geisel teaches us that travel is indeed still possible.
Geisel is better known as the doctor of fun, Dr Seuss, and while perhaps not a philosopher in the traditional sense, his books impart many wise philosophies we can get behind. Like this one from I Can Read With My Eyes Shut: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
And this has never been more relevant advice than it is today when for the first time ever, we cannot travel beyond our suburb, never mind around the world.
But wait! As Dr Seuss suggests, reading can transport you to amazing places. So as you travel between your bedroom, dining room, kitchen and lounge room over the next few months, read, research and explore the resources at your fingertips – whether travel books or websites – to take you around the world and give you inspiration for what you want to do when the travel bans are lifted.
If your dream trip is to explore your own backyard, Australia’s own attractions, artists and artisans are rising to the occasion and offering up stunning online experiences to fuel your wanderlust. The best part is most of them are free, so you can save up as you scout your next holiday.
So get out your bucket list as we round up some of our top picks…
Travel from your lounge room
For immersive videos that’ll make you feel like you’re part of the scenery – and spectacular scenery at that – check out the 360° videos on Tourism Australia’s YouTube channel. From Ningaloo Marine Park in WA to Tassie’s Fortescue Bay all the way to Biddlecombe Cascade in the NT via the Sydney harbour, watch these on a big screen and turn up the sound to get the full experience.
Another experience that’s better on the big screen is a virtual run, walk or bike ride through some of Australia’s most beautiful spots. Hop on your treadmill or stationary bike, load up Run Down Under’s YouTube channel on your TV and explore another town as you work up a sweat.
Travel from your kitchen
One of my favourite things to do when I travel is going out to eat – and drink. And you can still get an elegant experience and expert advice at home. So set up your computer or tablet on the kitchen counter and try out one of these online experiences…
Sitting in Melbourne dreaming of that delicious meal you had at Golden Gully the last time you were in Sydney? Well, how about a one-on-one with chef Emma Evans in your very own home Emma is giving one-hour cooking lessons over video chat where you’ll have her undivided attention as you make a meal worthy of an Instagram post. And why not make it an all-round experience by mixing up an awesome cocktail to go with it. The Gully’s bartending dream team Dan and Rach will also beam on to your screen to help you turn your booze cabinet’s leftovers into something delish.
And are you bummed you had to cancel your trip to the Barossa? Don’t whine about it, just wine about it with the Hunter’s Ben Ean winery offering virtual tastings over Skype. So head to the cellar door, order yourself a few bottles, then call in as one of the experienced staffers takes you through your tasting.
Travel from your garden
If your wi-fi extends outdoors, you can take your device outside to give your kids a more authentic trip to a virtual zoo. Take your kids inside the habitats of their favourite animals with live-streaming cameras set up at zoos around the country – at Melbourne’s Werribee and Melbourne zoos, Queensland’s CaPTA Group Wildlife Parks and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, or Sydney’s Olympic Park Eagles.
They can also tune into wildlife talks during live streamed feeding and cuddle times, like at SEA LIFE Sydney and WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, or connect with keepers and ask questions over on The Australian Reptile Park page.
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Travel from your bedroom
Turn any room into the arts and culture hub of your home as you tour some of Australia’s most fascinating museums, galleries and theatres – you can even take in a show or two.
Now I’m not a museum person myself, but I spent a good half hour playing on the National Gallery of Victoria’s new channel taking tours of its exhibitions, and then another half hour ‘walking through’ the Melbourne Museum.
You can also settle yourself down with a glass of wine and take in a classical-music concert being live streamed right into your home from the Melbourne, West Australian and Sydney Symphony Orchestras.
And of course as global celebs offer us peeks into their living rooms with free concerts, Aussie artists are doing the same. We’re lucky that they’ve all jumped on the ‘we’re all in this together’ bandwagon and there’s plenty to choose from, just get clicking.
So, open your eyes to the virtual world afforded to us by modern technology and oh, the places you will go!