Travelling via laptop is the closest many of us are going to get to the great outdoors during a lockdown. But, even though health authorities recommend that we all avoid non-essential travel, these virtual tours of natural sites can be a joyful distraction, or even worth bookmarking for a future trip. 

Virtual reality vacations have really taken off in recent times, especially since so many of us are stuck inside. It’s the perfect way to escape from reality while you also explore the world. There are lots of natural places you can tour virtually; all you need is a screen and an internet connection. 

15 Virtual Tours Of Natural Sites You Can Take From Your Home

1Marvel At The Stunning Waterfalls At Yosemite National Park, USA

Yosemite Valley Landscape and River, California

Google Earth has just launched virtual tours of over 30 national parks throughout the United States. These virtual tours of natural sites will keep you occupied until you can travel again. Why not check out Yosemite National Park? It’s most famous for its gorgeous waterfalls, unique granite rock formations, and beautiful pine forests.

2Get Up Close And Personal With The Himalayas At The Everest Base Camp, Nepal

Best Treks

If you want to stand at the base of the world’s highest mountain, you might have to wait. But, you can still see what it’s all about — without even having to put on your shoes. Set at a height of 5,545m (18,193ft), this totally immersive experience will give you spectacular close-up views of the Himalayas. 

3Watch An Incredible Display Of The Northern Lights, Canada

Canada’s Churchill hosts one of the best northern lights viewing spots; its northern latitude and almost zero light pollution are perfect for viewing the Aurora Borealis. Even if you can’t get there at the moment, a live cam has been set up so that everyone can take a virtual tour of this natural site and enjoy this dazzling show of lights from the comfort of their own homes.

4See The Stunning Views From The Top Of Uluru, Australia

uluru in australia

Discover the serene beauty of one of Australia’s most unique landscapes at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. While you may not be able to climb the mountain (even after the lockdown), you can enjoy these amazing surroundings using 360-degree story spheres — audio and visuals included — it’ll feel like you’re actually there!

5Explore The Diverse Landscapes On The Slopes Of Mt Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

If you’re still looking for virtual tours of natural sites, the snow-capped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro are a sight to behold. You can conquer this mountain from your couch, without even breaking a sweat, on this virtual tour. See the mountain rising from farmland, its slopes dotted with rainforests, alpine meadows, and finally a barren lunar-like landscape. 

6Feel As If You’re Next To The Stunning Lakes At Glacier National Park, USA

If you had your heart set on exploring turquoise glacial lakes and rugged mountaintops this summer, Google Earth has you covered. Glacier National Park in Montana is known for its stunning lakes and three mountain ranges spread over a million acres, all available on this virtual vacation you can take from your home. 

7Walk Along The Waters At Hancock Gorge, Australia

Tucked away in Western Australia’s Karijini National Park, this gorgeous place can be visited virtually from anywhere in the world. You can walk along the edges of this popular swimming hole (and maybe even dip your feet in a cold bucket of water to set the scene) and see its calm waters for yourself. 

8“Trek” Along The Iconic Inca Trail, Peru

The 43-km long trek to Peru’s iconic Machu Picchu along the Andes Mountains is one of the most travelled routes in the world. It can now be condensed into one hour with this virtual journey. It ends with a magnificent view of the Sun Gate at the ancient city of Machu Picchu. 

9Float Along The Flowing Colorado River, USA

Float down the rapids of this majestic river, like Alexander Supertramp from ‘Into The Wild’ on this virtual tour. You won’t even need a boat; all you require on this virtual tour of a natural site is an internet connection and a high-def screen, and you’re good to go.

10Explore The Many Stunning Caves At Carlsbad Caverns, USA

Carlsbad Caverns National Park has over 119 caves which will be all yours to explore on this virtual tour. Don’t miss The Big Room, which is the largest single cave chamber in North America. Now you can travel here from the comfort of your couch on this virtual tour. 

11Visit The Umoona Opal Mine & Museum, Australia

Plunge deep underground and walk around this stunning opal mine in the heart of Coober Pedy, South Australia. In a rustic underground dugout, you’ll find rooms full of artefacts and historic equipment. The only thing you won’t be able to get for yourself on this virtual tour is a souvenir.

12Check Out The Spectacularly Steep-Sided Grand Canyon, USA

Horseshoe Bend Grand Canyon USA

Carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular places to visit in the world. So, if you want to go on virtual tours of natural sites, there’s no better place to choose. You can check out this spectacular steep-sided canyon virtually from as little as a Google Earth search, right from your own home.

13View The Snowy Top Of Mt Elbrus, Russia

Mt. Elbrus Highest Mountains in Eastern Europe

Mt Elbrus along the Caucasus range in Russia is actually the highest peak in Europe. See the mountain’s double-cone volcano, patches of snow, and peer out over the valleys of snow-capped mountains, all while you’re tucked in at home, with this virtual tour

14See The Magnificent Tropical Oasis That Is Fortescue Falls, Australia

This gorgeous waterfall is located in Western Australia’s Karijini National Park. The park’s only permanent waterfall, it is a tropical oasis in the middle of the remote and unforgiving desert-like Pilbara Region. Place yourself in the breathtaking scenery that is the virtual tour of these pristine falls.

15Enjoy The Splendid And Colourful Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef Australia, Virtual Australia Experience

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the largest and perhaps the most famous coral reef in the world. Whether you’re an avid diver, or just enjoy seeing this beautiful natural wonder, this virtual tour with David Attenborough will cure any deep-sea wanderlust.

Which Of These Virtual Tours Are For You?

So maybe you can’t go out and experience the great outdoors right now, but virtual nature sure comes a close second. There are tons of virtual tours of natural sites that you can take while you’re stuck indoors. These tours instantly place you into a realistic world of far-flung, exotic locales, allowing you to intimately explore the minute details of destinations that are otherwise off-limits. So, which one are you going to choose?

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