02 December 2008

Tour NZ free of charge: Google Street View launched in New Zealand

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The search for sublime scenery, preserved culture, and adrenaline-pumping adventures often brings travellers to the shores of New Zealand, and surveys such as Futurebrand's Country Brand Index (CBI) 2008 are constantly proving New Zealand more than meets tourists' high expectations.

For those travellers who find word of mouth is not enough to entice them on the long-haul trip Down Under, Google has launched a free online virtual tour of New Zealand.

The Google Street View allows people to tour the streets of selected cities around the world using the Internet.  Cars armed with cameras patrolled most city centres and suburban streets of New Zealand, the US, Australia, France, Italy, Britain, Spain, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Japan, Switzerland and Norway.  Users will see 360-degree street-level views around selected countries free of charge.  Google aims to cover an entire World Street View.

Not every street has been filmed in New Zealand as yet; however, Google says people worldwide would now be able to reach corners of New Zealand they never thought possible. 

Tourism New Zealand believes the application would serve as a great tool for international tourists to have a taste of what New Zealand has to offer.  Tourists will now be able to sample the sights of Wellington, arrange meeting points, or view beachside accommodation in remote coastal towns before setting foot into the country.  People considering to move to New Zealand would also be able to make better decisions about which city they choose to settle. 

Google Street View already launched in Australia earlier this year.  Tourism Australia handpicked a selection of images from the Google Street View, so that tourists can view the country’s most popular attractions and locations.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Tourism Australia Managing Director Geoff Buckley said, "Street View will offer [tourists] a whole new way to research Australia as a holiday destination and will help them plan their trips by taking in-depth virtual tours – not only of our cities but of many regional areas and places off the beaten track.  Street View is going to make Australia more accessible by giving people a glimpse of what we have to offer and it will be just the start of the journey of discovery."


The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.


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