Last evening Air New Zealand and Tourism Australia transported me to Australia. Arriving first in Sydney, I flew over the harbour, sweeping past the sails of the Opera House and past the iconic bridge. In a matter of mere moments I plunged beneath the azure waters of Port Lincoln’s Boston Bay to swim with friendly resident sea lions. A few minutes later I was ascending waterfalls and diving into the refreshing pools of Biddlecombe Cascade. And I’d be remiss not to mention my visit to idyllic Whitehaven Beach on Australia’s alluring Whitsunday Island.
Now wouldn’t it be curious to tell you I did this all without leaving downtown Vancouver?
Virtual Australia Pop Up Event
Air New Zealand and Tourism Australia have collaborated on what they’re describing as a ‘virtual reality exhibit’. Everyone is welcome to visit the free pop up event which is being held this weekend in downtown Vancouver.
So what exactly is it?
Virtual Australia travellers are first outfitted with a Gear VR Oculus headset, complete with headphones. They’re then transported headlong into Australia to explore her greatest aquatic and coastal treasures. If you've ever experienced FlyOver Canada, you can expect the same type of vertigo-inducing excitement (sans the mist in your face.)
The headsets are loaded with 17 videos which allow users a fully immersive experience where gorgeous footage is experienced in 360° panorama. Marrying tech with marketing Australia is a natural fit "because Australia isn’t just a place you see, it’s a place you feel."
The Virtual Australia experience kicks off tonight (for those 19 and older) and runs all day tomorrow. Why not drop by? Don the newest technology in wearable virtual reality gear and dive the Great Barrier Reef. Sip a caffeinated Aussie favourite - the flat white - made the proper way. Or sample the vines with vintages including Eden Valley Riesling and South Australian Shiraz Viognier.
Friday, March 18th
When: 5 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Who: Adults over 19+
What: Experience a virtual reality tour of Australia while enjoying a variety of Aussie-inspired food, local wine pairings and flat whites.
Saturday, March 19th
When: 11:00 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Who: Open to the general public
What: The exhibit will be accompanied by flat white service and Australian fare
Reservation recommended: A limited number of FREE event tickets to the public exhibit are available now at: airnewzealand.ca/australia.
Where: Makeshift Spaces: 89 Smithe Street, Vancouver V6B 1C3
Unable to make the event?
You can find all 17 videos here though you'll have to view them in 2D.
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