Can’t afford to visit NZ IRL? Virtual Wellington will get you there for free

Gamification in the tech industry is nothing new. Apps like Habitica have taken even the most mundane tasks like ticking items off a checklist and turned them into a role playing game in which you, personally, are the star. You might think that’s pretty full on, but hold on a sec because it gets way crazier. how about gamifying your holiday to another country before you’ve even boarded the plane? Virtual Wellington aims to do just that.

Wellington, the capital of New Zealand located at the south end of the North Island, is a city known for its booming tech industry. It makes sense then that Welly would put its best technological foot forward when looking to court potential tourism.

Virtual Wellington is a VR app, available on Steam and Oculus VR stores. The app is available for free download and is compatible with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR hardware. If you don’t own either of these headsets, don’t stress — there’s an iOS and Android version on the way too.

The app is divided into two separate parts. The first is a game called WellTown that walks the user through six different virtual reality experiences. These experiences are designed to give users a feel for what the city has to offer visitors, ranging from busking on Cuba Street to diving from a platform on the Welly waterfront.

The second part is called Explore More, a series of 360-degree video tours, taking users into an All Blacks rugby match and (in what is sure to be a big draw) a tour of Weta Workshop, the Oscar winning special effects house behind The Lord of the Rings, Mad Max: Fury Road and Blade Runner 2049.

Virtual Wellington is available now.

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David Smith

David Smith is the games and technology editor at The AU Review. He has previously worked as a freelance games journalist and critic, appearing on PC World Australia. He tweets at @RhunWords and plays the odd game at twitch.tv/RhunWords when the internet works.