VIRTUAL TRAVEL OF MELBOURNE AND BEYOND
Craving some Australia travel whilst in lockdown? I can help you get your travel fix with these five exciting online tours of Victoria, including Melbourne and beyond. You can virtually enjoy iconic landmarks and popular tourist locations from the comfort of home, for free, during these times when you are unable to travel.
I recommend taking advantage of the following online sites, which are some of my favourite things to see and do in the marvellous city of Melbourne and around the state of Victoria.
1. National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria has two locations, one at St Kilda Road and the other at Federation Square. The former is Australia‘s oldest art gallery dating from 1861. It has the largest stained glass ceiling in the world and water features at the entrance. Here you will find a magnificent collection of art pieces from around the world. There are over 75,000 International and Australian works of art housed at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Under the current closures, you are able to tour the gallery online from the safety of your own home. View some of the many art collections and different exhibitions, whilst relaxing in comfort. Just jump on the National Gallery of Victoria website, and browse the halls on a virtual tour. It is free for your enjoyment at any time.
2. Melbourne Zoos
Melbourne has 3 Zoos that are very popular with animal lovers. I have visited all of these over the years – Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo. Melbourne Zoo is the oldest zoo in Australia.
Unfortunately, at the moment they are all closed to visitors under the current pandemic restrictions. But if you need some quality time with animals, don ‘t despair. You can see some of them online and find out what they’re up to, even though you can’t visit them in person. A few live cams have been installed in some of the quarters of the zoo residents.
Bear in mind (ha!) that the animals may not be visible on camera all the time, so keep looking regularly to see if you can catch a glimpse of them in action. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they even come right up to the camera.
My favourite is Penguin Cam and watching the penguins at feeding time. So cute.
3. Parliament Building of Victoria
One of the oldest and grandest buildings in Melbourne is the Parliament building. The classic architecture of the mid-nineteenth century represents the wealth of the city during times of the gold rush era, when Melbourne was one of the richest cities in the world. The building commenced in 1856 and was built in 6 stages. Many of the features are taken from the Westminster parliament in London.
You can now visit this important landmark online and tour the stately halls and chambers of parliament. Browse around at your leisure and admire some of the historical furniture, chandeliers, mosaics, gold trimmings, sculptures and so much more of this beautiful architectural building.
4. Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
We all love a bit of music during lockdown. It’s one of the best ways to cope with isolation. Music takes us on a journey and gives us a huge amount of comfort. For your listening pleasure at home you can watch the delightful Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
MSO has existed since 1906, and regularly plays at the Art’s Centre in Melbourne. I had the pleasure of seeing the MSO in person, playing the Star Wars repertoire of The Empire Strikes Back and it was brilliant.
Thankfully, they continue performing classical music and other favourites for us to enjoy. You can watch their performances online by tuning in to their Concert Series on the MSO YouTube channel, and enjoy the marvellous orchestral delights any time, without having to buy a ticket. Brilliant!
5. Port Phillip Bay
A short distance from Melbourne is the beautiful Port Phillip Bay, a very popular part of Victoria for water recreation and a fabulous holiday destination. The Bay is an important and spectacular seascape of marine species. Since we are unable to visit in person and go snorkelling or scuba diving, we can view the wonderful underwater world through our screens.
Reef Cam underwater live feed, set up by The Nature Conservancy Australia, gives you an underwater view of marine animals and plants via a camera installed at the bottom of the Bay. It is fascinating to watch and exciting to try and spot creatures you know, like groper fish, dolphin, and sea sponges. But many of the marine life here are unique to the Bay and don’t exist anywhere else in the world.
See if you can find the Bay’s Weedy Sea Dragon and other unique sea life that you may not have seen before.
If you can’t see much action at a particular time, make sure to check back again later.
This is one of my favourite virtual experiences and a great educational experience for kids too.
Have fun with these online tours of Victoria, until we can all get back out there and visit these wonderful places in person.