Tour the Studio Ghibli Museum in Japan From the Comfort of Your Home


In an effort to flatten the curve and reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in Australia, we’re being told to stay at home, avoid mass gatherings, and practice social distancing.

Unfortunately (yet completely understandably), this means international travel plans and aspirations need to take the back seat. But just because we’re not physically able to hop on a plane, doesn’t mean we can’t still see the world.

Below, we’re going to help you find out ways you can virtually travel from your position on the couch in self-isolation. When the climate looks different and we’re able to explore the globe again, you’ll be equipped with a comprehensive list of everywhere you’d like to go.

Tour the Studio Ghibli Museum in Japan

A visit to the Studio Ghibli Museum in Tokyo’s western suburbs is an experience before you even arrive. The staff there do not appreciate photos taken inside, and anyone hoping to visit will need to purchase tickets way in advanced (two months) and be prepared to wait their turn before entering the mansion.

While the doors to the museum are currently shut to visitors, the studio is offering up a very rare peek inside, with a series of videos on YouTube. The clips are short, but are packed with tiny easter eggs among memorabilia from the animated films. Check the YouTube page and spend an hour or so pausing on certain frames to live the magic of Ghibli from afar.

Visit Aukland via video before the real deal

Nothing’s certain yet, but New Zealand may potentially be the first international destination open to Aussies after travel bans lift amid the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s why we’re getting excited for some NZ travel, and planning our future itineraries with this stunning video that captures the landscapes, scenes, stillness and vibrant people of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, shot by the city’s official tourism organisation.

Narrated by indigenous singer/songwriter Moana Maniapoto’s young daughter, Manawanui Maniapoto Mills, the 2.30-minute clip serves as a calm reprieve amid the changing news landscape, and shows Aukland “renewing and replenishing, ready for your return”.

this video is a solid reminder of why a short break visit to Auckland and its beautiful surrounds should be to be on the top of traveller’s post-coronavirus hitlist.

Learn to make colourful pasta in Rome

Along with its accommodation offering, Airbnb also has Experiences available on the platform for visitors to undertake in each city. But bith travel bans in place, the company has taken its Experiences offering online.

Now, you can learn a range of new skills from those who usually hold workshops, classes and tours. Learn to make ricotta cheese in California, meditate alongside a Japanese Buddhist Monk, or discover new ways to make colourful pasta in Rome, from the comfort of your own home.

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In March, @AirbnbExperiences hosts all over the world had to stop doing what they love—sharing their interests and passions with others. Over the past few weeks, they’ve offered ideas for how to continue hosting even while we’re apart. They’ve adapted recipes based on what’s in their pantries, turned living rooms into yoga studios, and choreographed dances for families at home. Today we’re excited to announce that Airbnb Experiences are now online. You can take a flamenco class with Lidón in Madrid, participate in a tarot card reading with Mak in Austin, or visit a colony of penguins in Cape Town—all from home. True to Airbnb Experiences in real life, Online Experiences are hosted by remarkable people and set in small groups. Alongside making a new dish, maybe you’ll make a new friend, too. Thank you to our incredible hosts around the world. We’ll see you online soon —> link in bio.

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Visit South Australia from the sofa

A visit to South Australia may be on the cards for many Australians, as soon as the domestic travel bans are lifted. The state undoubtedly felt the impacts of the summer bushfire season at the beginning of 2020, but is already looking forward to welcoming guests back to its beautiful terrain.

Now, the state wants to help you plan your impending trip with the launch of South Australia TV (SATV), a virtual online hub that teases the best of the destination and its culinary delights, natural surrounds and more.

Learn how to assemble the perfect cheese platter, go diving with sharks, learn about winemaking, tune into live music performances and cook alongside one of Adelaide’s best chefs, Africola’s Duncan Welgemoed, as he tackles everyday pantry ingredients to make a restaurant quality dish.

Stay up to date by subscribing to the SATV channel and checking in regularly on the South Australia Instagram page.

Watch the stage version of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag

See the hilarious and award-winning one-woman show that inspired the hit BBC series Fleabag in a limited-time online performance.

Available from April 10 on Soho Theatre’s on-demand streaming site for two weeks only, viewers will be able to see Waller-Bridge take the stage of London’s Wyndham’s Theatre and perform the play for £4 (AU $8).

All proceeds will be donated to charities that include the National Emergencies Trust, NHS Charities Together, Acting for Others, and the Fleabag Support Fund, which supports freelancers in the U.K. theatre industry affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Image: Soho Theatre on Demand

See the NYC skyline from the Empire State Building

Every year, the iconic Empire State Building welcomes millions to its 86th and 102nd-floor observatories, but this year, things are a little different. New York City may be in lockdown, but you can still virtually visit the skyline staple with a 24-hour live-stream of the building and views of downtown Manhattan.

In the COVID-19 pandemic, the skyscraper’s usual white lights have been replaced with vibrant red that flutters to replicate a heartbeat in an homage to the heroic emergency workers on the front line. Sunrise and sunsets look particularly special from the Empire State Building live cam, so be sure to check out when these occur and tune in.

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Showing our solidarity & support every night throughout the pandemic with a dynamic heartbeat lighting for the 1 million+ people in 180 countries affected by COVID-19. ❤️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ At the top of every hour, our tower will sparkle in the colors of first responders to pay respect to the heroic emergency workers on the front line of the fight. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Following our @aliciakeys Empire State of Mind music-to-light show at 9PM every night, our tower will go dark for five minutes to honor the memory of those who have lost their lives in the global pandemic and those who grieve for them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ?: @marcodegennarophotos #EmpireStateBuilding

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Boogie at virtual Coachella

Coachella for 2020 has been postponed, but those who were eagerly awaiting the festival or were longing to attend can now experience never-before-seen footage from the festival in a new documentary, Coachella: 20 Years In The Desert.

The documentary “opens the vault” on behind the scenes footage and features interviews with the world’s biggest artists including Billie Eilish, Kanye West, Travis Scott, Madonna, and Radiohead.

“The film gives a rare look at Coachella’s colourful beginning, presents exclusive, never-before-seen footage, interviews, and features key performances from some of the biggest names in music,” the documentary bio explains.

Coachella: 20 Years In The Desert will air on YouTube on April 11 at 5.00am AEST.

Explore an infinity room

Yayoi Kusama’s magical infinity rooms transport those who set foot inside to a whimsical new reality. Oftentimes scattered with lights that appear endlessly due to cleverly placed mirrors, the rooms almost always garner long queues at every gallery they sit in.

Closed to the public, much like every other museum and gallery in the world right now, The Broad in Los Angeles is streaming in internal view of the Japanese artist’s Infinity Mirrored Room — The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away. The 14-minute clip below is paired with “drone, electronic, ambient, and pop music”.

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Experience an immersive environment of light and sound in the spirit of Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away. Take an opportunity to delve into the spiritual aspects of Kusama's exploration of eternity—paired with aural selections chosen curated by The Broad, including drone, electronic, ambient, and pop music. Featuring deep cuts by celebrated musicians and sound artists from Los Angeles and beyond, the Infinite Drone series presents a new, contemplative way of experiencing The Broad’s most popular artwork. Today’s musical artist is: ?????? ????? The Oval Window (2018) Los Angeles-based artist and composer Geneva Skeen (@geneeves) is influenced by écriture féminine, alchemical metaphors, and a range of musical traditions ranging from holy mysticism to industrial. She works with recordings, digital presets, voice, and mixed instrumentation. Her performances, publications, and installations focus on the contrast between facing the finite resources of our physical landscapes and their infinite digital representations. She is a recipient of the Touch Mentorship program and a member of VOLUME, a curatorial collective focused on sound-based practices. “The Oval Window” is a stereo drone work composed strictly using recordings of voice and piano processed through digital and analog technologies. The sloping harmonics and peripheral speech affects highlighted in the composition were scraped from the original raw recordings, then reshaped in relation to each other’s line, pitch, and duration. ___ Written & performed by Geneva Skeen Published by Touch Music/Fairwood Music Ltd www.genevaskeen.com

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Take in a show

Marquee TV, an online streaming channel, has teamed up with arts organisations and extended its free trial period to 30 days to help people around the world experience performances from their living room.

Watch the Norweigan National Ballet perform Swan Lake, the Royal Opera sing Verdi’s La Traviata, or the Classic Spring Theatre Company take on Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance.

Appreciate some orchestral music

The Seattle Symphony will be airing recorded performances of its orchestra in a scheduled broadcast program over the coming days. Check in here for the timetable, and be sure to tune up before you tune in.

“As our community comes together in this time of crisis, the Seattle Symphony will continue sharing performances that provide strength, comfort and joy. The musicians of the Seattle Symphony have generously volunteered to share free broadcasts with everyone during this time of uncertainty.”

View the Northern Lights

We dream of seeing the elusive Aurora Borealis in the flesh, but in the meantime, anyone interested has the chance to spot the Northern Lights via this live webcam positioned in Manitoba, Canada. Feeling impatient waiting for a flash of green? You can spot screenshots from viewers in the same feed.

Visit the zoo

Around the world, zoos are setting up live streams of their sweetest and most exotic aminals while patrons are unable to visit in person. Right now, Zoos Victoria is streaming the giraffes, lions, penguins and snow leopard cubs from Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo.

Check out the Zoos Victoria site here to find your live streams.

snow leopard cub
While writing this story, this cub had a mid-snooze stretch.

Explore a world-class museum

Google Arts & Culture is working with over 2,500 museums and galleries around the globe to provide virtual tours and exhibits. It’s not quite the same as wandering the expansive halls and taking in the art from your own perspective, but the digitised collections are a resource we’re thankful for in these unprecedented times.

Not sure where to start? Why not peruse the collections from the Metropolitan Museum of Art after breakfast, then head to the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain. After lunch, check out the Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, before ending the day of culture with a tour of The Hall of Mirrors and sculpted gardens at Versailles.

Head over the Google Arts & Culture hub here to start exploring.

Wander through National Parks

In addition to muesums and cultural centres, Google Arts & Culture has also teamed up with National Parks around the US to help viewers “follow rangers on a journey to places most people never go”.

From your comfy position on the couch, you can virtually fly over an active volcano in Hawaii, kayak through icebergs in the Alaskan Kenai Fjords, and dive a shipwreck in Florida’s Dry Tortugas National Park. You can follow along on guided videos or interact with the scenes around you.

Until we get to explore these places for ourselves, these digital tours are truly the next best thing. Check it out here.

Pop in on the world’s wonders and landmarks

Google Earth had a moment back in the early 2000s when all anyone could do was look up their house using the technology. But while you forgot all about it, the app developers have spent a good chunk of time improving the interface and quality exponentially.

Now, you can visit any landmark in the whole world and be met with a bank of facts and information when you arrive. And with Voyager, you can take a guided tour around the globe with some of the world’s leading storytellers, scientists, and nonprofits.

While in isolation, spend an afternoon or five mapping out your next holiday and virtually popping in on some of the great wonders.

Visit the aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California is running live streams of some of its more beloved sea creatures while the physical location is closed in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Through the aquarium’s site, you can tune in right now to the coral reef cam, jellyfish cam, penguin cam, shark cam or our fave, the seat otter cam. All streams are backed by calming music, making them ideal for background watching while you work from home.

Search on Google or Facebook to find out whether your local aquarium is taking part in live streams right now.

Slideshow your previous holidays

You snapped all of those photos and then probably never perused them again. Well, now that you have all this time on your hands, why not set up a slideshow of that trip you took to Europe after high school?

You’ll be surprised and delighted at the memories you’d thought you had lost, but in fact, can recall as if the snaps were taken yesterday.

The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

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