CHANCES are you may never get to experience Antarctica, a continent occupying 14 million sq km but with a summer population peaking at just over 4000 people at a score of research stations
But you can get close in a virtual way at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, where a new documentary, The Antarctica Experience, brings you the frozen continent in glorious in 360-degree vision.
The film takes visitors on a virtual reality tour to walk among penguins, gaze at the brilliant colours of the Southern Lights, see frozen ice fields from the cockpit of a soaring helicopter and land on remote glaciers.
Equipped with headsets and thrilling to theatrical surround sound, visitors will experience life as a researcher and scientist, cruising icy waters on a tour of secluded bays, extracting frozen core samples from the ground, and have behind-the-scenes access to one of Australia’s permanent research stations in Antarctica.
The film is the creation of Perth-based explorer, producer, director and writer Briege Whitehead and BAFTA award winner Phil Harper.
Ms Whitehead, who told the Sydney Morning Herald every day in Antarctica was the “best day of her life”, wanted to bring people as close as possible to the beauty, power and importance of Antarctica.
“Without making the journey, there is no better way to experience Antarctica than through this new immersive documentary,” she said.
Museum director Mathew Trinca said he was excited to bring the experience to Canberra.
“Virtual reality provides a unique opportunity to explore remote regions of the Earth that are difficult to access for the average person,” Dr Trinca said.
The Antarctica Experience, National Museum of Australia, Circa Theatre, until June 22.
Tickets $20. Bookings essential at www.eventbrite.com.au (fees apply).
Note: The experience is not recommended for children under 13 and people with certain medical conditions; glasses can be worn under the headset, but the focus cannot be adjusted.
Details – nma.gov.au/antarctica