See Australia’s Natural Beauty Like Never Before (Without Leaving Your Home)

While it certainly isn’t the same as being Down Under in person, virtual experiences are a great way to “visit” before your next vacation.

≈ beauty must be seen in person to be appreciated. But a 360-degree virtual tour isn’t bad either.Shutterstock

For many travelers, Australia is a vacation-of-a-lifetime destination that requires months, maybe even years, of saving and planning, because this is a trip that simply cannot go wrong. And then, once you’ve taken that vacation and experienced the incredible beauty of this nation and generosity of its people, you realize that it is also a destination that cannot be covered in just one trip, and you hope to make it the vacations-of-a-lifetime.

Until the day comes for your first, second or ninth trip to Australia, Tourism Australia has reintroduced an incredible appetizer (I will not make a Bloomin’ Onion joke) with a series of virtual experiences and 360-degree videos that might not make you feel like you’re kayaking through Katherine Gorge or diving with sea lions in Boston Bay, but they will make you wish you were in those locations. And, right now, wishful thinking is more important than ever.

If anything, these videos are an excellent reminder of how rich Australia is, both culturally and in natural beauty, as you can set down in Sydney Harbour and stand outside the iconic Sydney Opera House, or enjoy a bird’s eye view of the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road. One of the coolest, most awe-inspiring tours takes you to the Great Barrier Reef for an up-close look at this majestic natural landmark.

Or head to Fortescue Bay in the Tasman National Park, where you can swim alongside dolphins.

Again, these tours aren’t the same as being there in person, but they are delightful sources of inspiration. At the very least I am more motivated than ever to visit the quokkas of Rottnest Island. That travel goal should be on everyone’s list now.