Google Street View today launched the first online 360-degree view of a New Zealand river.
The Google Street Trekker travelled the length of New Zealand’s longest river, the Waikato, using 15 cameras taking photos every two-and-a-half seconds.
It then used the imagery to create a 360-degree virtual tour of the 425km river from Port Waikato to Lake Taupō.
Google said film was taken by drone over the eight hydro dams on the river and three sets of rapids.
The filming was done in collaboration with Waikato-Tainui, boat owners, Waikato Regional Council staff and Taupō Coast Guard.
The project took three months and used five different boats with the Trekker systems weighing about 18kg.
In the past the Google Street View Trekker has travelled down the Venetian Canals, the Colorado River and London’s River Thames but this is the first time a New Zealand river has featured.
The Waikato River Festival helped in the project.
Festival director Craig Muntz said it required a real collaborative effort from various community stakeholders along the length of the river.
“We are extremely thankful for the community support received, which has in turn resulted in the production of a community resource that also offers a great platform for sharing the story of the river and our region, with nearly every bend on the river having a rich story to tell.”
Mr Muntz said it would also be a useful tool for kaumātua and kuia, who might not be able to travel on the river anymore so they could stay connected to the awa.