Unless you happen to live there, New Zealand is a freakin’ long way away from just about everywhere, its distant geographical location for many a barrier to visiting the land of the long white cloud.
Although Street View has offered couch-based travelers a good chunk of the nation’s jaw-dropping scenery for some time now, most of the content has been limited to the view from New Zealand’s roads having been gathered mainly by Google’s camera-equipped cars.
The good news is that from today you can go well and truly off-road to explore some of the country’s famous “Great Walks,” popular trails lauded for their stunning natural beauty.
“New Zealand’s Great Walks have long been on the bucket list of keen outdoors people from all around the world,” Street View’s Cynthia Wei said in a blog post announcing the new 360-degree imagery. “We hope by bringing the Milford, Kepler, Abel Tasman, Lake Waikaremoana, Heaphy, Routeburn and Rakiura/Stewart Island tracks to Street View, these images will not only help people who are about to trek them prepare, but give anyone who wants to virtually roam the beauty of the Great Walks an opportunity to do so.”
The content comes courtesy of Google’s Street View Trekker gear, a camera-laden backpack the Mountain View company uses for locations only accessible on foot. First used by the team in 2012 to photograph the Grand Canyon, the camera features 15 lenses and snaps an image every 2.5 seconds.
This latest imagery was collected over the last four years thanks to help from New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, with the multi-day treks described by Wei as “a favorite destination for hikers around the world.”