Pumpkin Island

Virtual reality: how to experience Queensland from home

As we do our part to create social distance during the global COVID-19 pandemic, we’re encouraged to view this time as an act of love to protect not only ourselves, but those around us. It’s a big change to adjust to, but social distancing also brings plenty of positives we can enjoy and take advantage of – including the many virtual experiences on offer that allow you to explore Queensland from the comfort of your living room.

Always wanted to glide over the rainforest? Or how about watch little blue penguins eat their morning feast?

So, log out of your Netflix account and delve into Queensland’s spectacular scenery and cultural treasures — all without leaving home.

Below are 11 of our favourite virtual experiences around Queensland that you can explore using digital technology.

1. View ‘sneak peak’ live streams at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

There’s nothing more wholesome than watching happy, healthy koalas with your morning cup of coffee. Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary has a collection of permanent koala cams to keep you posted on what’s happening in the day-to-day lives of their wildlife, including koalas, dingo puppies and reptiles.

The sanctuary has also introduced a weekly series of ‘Sneak Peek’ live streams on their YouTube channel which provides you with the inside scoop on training sessions, feed times and commentary from the park’s friendly team members. We’ll see you there.

2. Browse online exhibitions at Queensland Museum

Queensland Museum virtual tour

Photo by @playfullens

Every member of the family can learn something new while you’re social distancing, starting with online exhibitions at Queensland Museum. Home to millions of specimens and artifacts, you (and the kids) can engage with Queensland’s history, anytime, anywhere.

Currently, you can follow scientist Ludwig Leichhardt’s discovery expeditions, or learn more about the Queensland Museum’s Torres Strait Island collection in their ‘Awakening: Stories from the Torres Strait’ exhibition. And, for those of you who want free reign of the museum, hop into a free virtual reality tour where you control where to go and what to see.

3. A taste of the Sunshine Coast

Spirit House | Virtual experiences Queensland

Photo by @creativepos

If you’d like some isolation cooking inspiration, the Sunshine Coast’s most awarded Asian/Thai restaurant and cooking school, Spirit House, is freely sharing their delicious recipes for you to make at home.

From their famous coconut soup with tea-smoked salmon, to braised pork with sweet soy, cinnamon, star anise and ginger, you can turn those hoarded goodies into something delicious.

4. Enjoy live feeds at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast aquarium

SEA LIFE Aquarium | virtual experiences Queensland

Photo by @experienceoz

While you break for lunch, share a bite with our friends at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium. Tune in to live feeding streams to meet the seals and get up close with little blue penguins. We especially love seeing what the dedicated keepers and aquarists are up to.

Follow the SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium Facebook page for upcoming live stream updates.

5. Take a virtual tour of Ipswich

For a breath of fresh air and to stretch your legs, why not join a virtual experience tour of Ipswich? Ipswich Trekker Project gives you the unique opportunity to experience great hiking tracks and amazing views from wherever is comfortable for you.

Check out Flinders Peak, White Rock and Nerima Gardens to name just a few locations, and bonus – you won’t bump into any other explorers.

6. Shop online at The Markets

When it’s time for a spot of shopping, wander over to The Village Markets for its innovative online Insta Market. From fashion and jewellery, to lifestyle products, art and homewares, this is a wonderful opportunity to treat yourself while supporting creative small businesses on the Gold Coast. They’ll even throw in tunes from popular local musicians as you shop. Follow The Village Markets Instagram page for details about upcoming Insta Markets.

The iconic Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets are also available online. Browse all of your favourite stallholders from home, with everything from scrumptious homemade desserts to hand-made fashion and accessories, personalised treasures and more. Whether you’re looking for a birthday present or just something to treat yourself, think local and check out what’s on offer. Shop here.

7. Relax in the Wet Tropics rainforest

Skyrail Rainforest Cableway | virtual experiences Queensland

If you’re looking for a moment of peace in your day, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway in Cairns is an iconic Queensland experience with stunning views that everyone can enjoy. While you may not be able to visit just yet, it’s easy to immerse yourself into a live stream of this idyllic world heritage area.

With three cams to choose from — Cairns & Coral Sea, Barron Falls and Barron Gorge — you can peacefully glide above the pristine rainforest canopy at your own pace.

8. Dive under the water on Orpheus Island

Orpheus Island

For those who prefer to submerge themselves in the underwater world, enjoy a live streaming of what’s going on down below Orpheus Island in North Queensland.

Live moving cameras are placed in Pioneer Bay and off Rocky Beach so you can catch glimpses of an array of marine life, including turtles and blacktip reef sharks.

9. Watch movies filmed in Queensland

Fools Gold | virtual experiences Queensland

Put the extra time at home to good use and see more of Queensland’s beautiful locations by watching some of the fantastic movies that have been filmed across the state. With so many alluring beaches and tropical hot spots, it’s easy to see why the Sunshine State is a Hollywood industry favourite.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: This fifth instalment of the fantasy series was filmed exclusively in Queensland, showcasing the Whitsunday Islands, the Gold Coast and North Stradbroke Island.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: While this timeless adventure movie is predominantly filmed at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, you’ll spot sweeping shots of Moreton Bay and the Gold Coast Seaway.
  • Australia: This historical drama is set in Darwin, but many scenes in this movie were filmed in the Tropical North Queensland town of Bowen.
  • Muriel’s Wedding: Queensland is proud to frequently pop up in this classic Australian movie, which uses Surfers Paradise, Sea World, Tugun and Coolangatta in the backdrop. Hamilton Island is also used when the girls go to ‘Hibiscus Island’.
  • Fool’s Gold: Adventure-romance and Queensland are the perfect duo which Fool’s Gold beautifully showcases. Filming took place along the coast of Queensland, including Port Douglas, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Hamilton Island, Lizard Island, Airlie Beach and Hervey Bay.

10. Dive on the Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough

Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Together with David Attenborough, explore one of the world’s great natural wonders from home. On this interactive journey, watch Attenborough dive on the Great Barrier Reef 60 years ago and explore five key locations across the reef aboard The Alucia — a state-of-the-art research and media vessel.

It’s a fun and educational activity for all ages so the whole family can get involved.

11. Explore the Capricorn Coast

Our virtual experiences of Queensland itinerary concludes with an escapism experience on the Capricorn Coast in Central Queensland. This area is an undiscovered paradise, and while Pumpkin Island is able to be rented privately in real life, anyone with an internet connection can have it to themselves virtually, too. Here, you can stroll along the beach, climb over rocks and enjoy the beautiful nature with minimal interaction.

While on your journey, stop off at the spectacular Capricorn Caves to learn more about early explorers, ancient geological history and special cave acoustics — we hope you make it through to the other side.

During this unpredictable time, embrace these virtual experiences around Queensland and when you’re able to travel again safely, our destinations and experiences are ready and waiting for you. If you have children playing along at home, have a go at using these virtual experiences as an educational opportunity. What can they find at Queensland Museum? What’s their favourite mountain view in Ipswich? How many types of coral can they find? The Sunshine State is their oyster.

If you can feel that wanderlust returning, visit our blog for plenty more Queensland travel inspiration – or keep up with more ways innovative Queensland folk are giving you a taste of the state here.