Virtual Australia, Tourism Australia
Credit: Virtual Australia, Tourism Australia


Yesterday evening Air New Zealand and Tourism Australia transported members of the Vancouver media to Australia. Arriving first in Sydney, we flew over the harbour, sweeping past the sails of the Opera House and past the iconic bridge. In a matter of mere moments we plunged beneath the azure waters of Port Lincoln’s Boston Bay to swim with friendly resident sea lions. A few minutes later we were ascending waterfalls and diving into the refreshing pools of Biddlecombe Cascade. And I’d be remiss not to mention our visit to idyllic Whitehaven Beach on Australia’s alluring Whitsunday Island.

Now wouldn’t it be curious to tell you we did this all without leaving downtown Vancouver?


Australia: the virtual experience

eventJennifer Larsen

In a stroke of travel marketing brilliance Air New Zealand and Tourism Australia have collaborated on what they’re describing as a ‘virtual reality exhibit’. 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. 

virtual australiaJennifer Larsen

The headsets are loaded with 17 videos which allow users a fully immersive experience where gorgeous footage is experienced in 360° panorama. “We know Australia’s most significant attraction is its natural beauty, so it’s important for people to experience that,” says Chris Allison, Sales and Marketing Manager Canada, Air New Zealand. Marrying tech with marketing Australia is a natural fit "because Australia isn’t just a place you see, it’s a place you feel."


Why a Vancouver event?

Virtual Australia skycouch air new zealand
Credit: Jennifer Larsen

Chris Allison, Manager, Sales & Market Development for Air New Zealand and Kristen Malaby, Marketing Communications Manager, Americas for Tourism Australia seated comfortably on Skycouch™ with flight attendant Andrew. 

The Vancouver Virtual Australia pop-up is among the only tourism partners we’ve seen using virtual reality tech to promote a destination. When asked why Vancouver was selected to host the event Chris explained, “From an Air New Zealand perspective, Vancouver is our gateway from Canada; it’s where we fly from. We’ve seen tremendous growth from Western Canada in particular. So we felt it was important to bring this event to our home market for Canada and really promote Australia to the Vancouver population.” And maybe you’re wondering why Air New Zealand is promoting Australia? “We are Air New Zealand obviously, so people are very aware we fly to New Zealand. The other key part for us is educating the customer on the fact that we don’t just fly to New Zealand.”


Agent Takeaway: what you need to know

eventJennifer Larsen

  • Clients booking before the end of March enjoy a $1,375 round-trip fare from Vancouver to seven gateways (Cairns, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne & Adelaide). See link above for more details. 
  • Airfares permit a free stopover in the exotic Cook Islands (when travelling via Los Angeles to or from Australia) or combine it with a stop in Auckland for just an additional $100.
  • What can clients expect on an Air New Zealand long haul flight? Generous leg room, complimentry food and wine, in-flight on-demand entertainment gate to gate (8.4" high resolution personal screens) and new ergonomically designed seats. 
  • Skycouch™  - a row of three economy seats which together create a flexible space for whatever you want it to be. Stretch out and relax or as a play area for the kids.
  • Chris Allison wants to agents to know: "Take advantage of the offer we have on the market right now. Available in the GDS published labels or if you want to go to a wholesaler or consolidator they have access to that special offer as well."
  • Want to learn more about Australian destinations? Find a free education program with sales tools, itineraries, high-res images and more at


Experience Virtual Australia yourself

Virtual Australia, Tourism AustraliaJennifer Larsen

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:

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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