This private tour company is bringing the best of Victoria to you.

By Keira Alexander
April 13, 2020
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Wanderlust is strong in the age of social distancing, but luckily, opportunities to explore the world online continue to emerge. Localing, a private tour company based in Melbourne, Australia, recently launched Virtual Victoria, where couch-travelers can join 360-degree tours showcasing popular tourist attractions around the state and its capital.

"The idea is, if you can't come to Melbourne and Victoria, we will just have to bring the best of it to you,” Localing co-founder, Dean Hampel, told Travel + Leisure.

The Localing team was able to film for the free initiative in March, before extensive restrictions came into place in Victoria, Hampel explained.

Credit: Courtesy of Visit Victoria

The Mornington Peninsula tour, now online, features the region’s stunning coastline and rugged basalt formations — source material for Melbourne’s famous bluestone lanes and buildings. Point Leo Estate, a winery and sculpture park, is also on the itinerary, along with a stop in the seaside town of Flinders and a walkthrough of Moonlit Sanctuary in Pearcedale, home to koalas, wallabies, and other native animals.

Credit: Courtesy of Visit Victoria

The company has also made a Melbourne city tour and plans to release a Great Ocean Road tour soon. “We know this will blow over at one point, and until then, we want to keep doing what we love, which is entertaining, educating, and supporting the community," said Hampel.

While many cultural institutions in Melbourne shut their doors due to COVID-19 in mid-March, these can now be explored online as well.

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) — Australia’s oldest art gallery — has created virtual tours of its current exhibitions, including "Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines" and "KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness." About 90 percent of NGV’s collection of approximately 75,000 works is available to view online, including iconic paintings depicting the region, such as John Brack’s "Collins St., 5p.m."

Melbourne Museum is another city highlight. The cultural and natural history museum has arranged an extravaganza of web-based activities as part of the Museum at Home initiative developed by Museums Victoria across its social channels, such as hands-on YouTube home projects and curator Q&As.

With this treasure trove of experiences now at your fingertips, you’ll be as knowledgeable as a local when you visit in real life.