Virtually on holiday

Virtually on holiday

We’ve all taken a tour of our own neighbourhoods on Google Maps – checking out what our chimney looks like and if the big house on the corner really does have a swimming pool in the garden. But now the search and mapping giant, who we recently reported had gone cross country to try and provide the perfect mapping service, has now gone one better – and gone underwater.

Google’s Street View service has been diving at some of the Great Barrier Reef’s most famous locations, and now it gives even non-swimmers the chance to tour the world’s largest coral reef system, which lies off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia.

The reefs coverd by Google include Heron Island, where you can walk from the Heron Island Resort, along the beach, and then take a dip in the waters by the reef, spotting turtles and tropical fish along the way. Also ready for some virtual exploration are Wilson Island and Lady Elliot Island, both at the southern end of the reef.

But global digital divers don’t have to stop at just the Great Barrier Reef. Also included in the new diving tours are Molokini, a crescent-shaped partially submerged volcanic crater in Hawaii, and the dives around the Apo Islands in the Philippines.

Google Maps are currently testing a new ‘GL’ version of the standard (above ground) service. It too looks set to make the useful mapping tool even better for travellers. By “morphing” images taken by the public around famous sites, it provides new 360-degree photo tours that give you views at every angle.

As visting Antarctica, the Kennedy Space Station, the Amazon River and many more once-hard-to-reach destinations is made accessible by Google, travelling could very soon become an armchair occupation…

Win a holiday to Queensland and see the Great Barrier Reef for real!

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