Armchair travel: Walk New Zealand’s Old Ghost Road

This week, we’re stoking the wanderlust for farther-flung places. Google Earth’s Voyager tool allows you to explore the world via a series of interactive experiences, quizzes and insights. You can take tours of Hemingway’s old hangouts, stroll New York City, or be guided through a wildlife park in Tanzania by Jane Goodall. National Treasures BBC Earth is a BBC project which highlights the beauty and science of jungle habitats around the world, from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia to Madagascar.

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Closer to home, there are New Zealand journeys to experience. The Endangered Parrot of the Night , for example, is a discovery trail for anyone interested in learning more about the kākāpō. Begin with an introduction from Sir David Attenborough, before learning about the bird’s history – once a prized source of feathers and food, now endangered and protected. The small remaining kākāpō populations were moved to New Zealand’s offshore islands in the 1970s, when surveys found just 18 in Fiordland (all male). A survey of Stewart Island found the population of 200 kākāpō (males and females) were being preyed on by the island’s feral cat population.

Closer to home, This is Home is an exploration of the meaning of “home” around the world. You can visit the grass and cow-dung huts of the Maasai in Kenya, the reed houses of the Uros Islands, floating in the world’s highest lake, Lake Titicaca in Peru, or step inside an igloo in Sanikiluaq, Canada. Next, swoop over the Earth to Aotearoa to visit Pahou marae in Manutuke, just outside of Gisborne. Walk through the waharoa (entranceway) and enter the wharenui, where you can explore the tukutuku (the flax-woven panels inside) and photographs that trace the iwi’s genealogy.

A recent addition is the Old Ghost Road in the northwest corner of the South Island. This long-forgotten gold miners’ road is a cycling and tramping trail, and is now available for those of us at home to explore virtually – all 85km of it. Search for Old Ghost Road New Zealand in Google Earth Voyager.

Excitingly, yesterday the long-forgotten gold miners’ road, Old Ghost Road in the northwest corner of the South Island launched on the site (captured pre-lockdown of course). For the first time, people can explore the stunning vistas and breath-taking scenery at home. Read more about it on the Google New Zealand blog and check out part of the trail here.

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