When you step into hall four of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, a fine mist of spray is the first indication that you’ve entered another world. There is a stillness, and then large screens on both sides light up with an owl that flies majestically towards the camera, intensifying that otherworldly feeling. But this is our world, and more specifically, our country.
Moving into the next room, the stillness is contrasted with an explosion of sound and colour, as 40 screens vie for attention, each showcasing Australia’s vast wilderness differently. Welcome to Australian Geographic’s Our Country in 360 degrees!
What is Australian Geographic: Our Country?
The creators promise a multi-sensory, immersive experience brought to life across 1200 square metres of sound and screen projections. It’s essentially a cinematic experience curated by multi-award-winning film producer Karina Holden. However, it’s not a documentary. There is no voice-over and very little information about what you see.
Instead, the idea is to sit back (there are limited seats and bean bags, or you can sit on the floor) and soak up the visual feast, admiring the grandeur and diversity of Australia’s wild places. Of course, with that many screens around you showing different images, it doesn’t make sense to stay in one spot the whole time.
You will want to move about the exhibition and watch from different angles. There is even a central, cylindrical screen, and mirrored pillars that reflect the images. Kids will also love the projections on the floor.
Is Australian Geographic’s Our Country 360 suitable for kids?
Yes, children are welcome and there is a discounted rate for families.
There is enough room to move a pram or wheelchair. There are wheelchair-accessible toilets with change facilities within the Brisbane Exhibition and Convention Centre, making this a fully accessible event.
Some scenes show electrical storms, snow blizzards and bushfires with natural sound effects, which could be a little overwhelming for some sensitive children. But mostly, kids will be awestruck by the sights and sounds of our endemic nature. Sweeping aerial footage showing the ocean cuts to a bird’s eye view of a desert sandstorm.
Macro imagery highlights the intricate detail of some of our smallest insects. Underwater camera work captures the playful nature of some of our beloved sea life, including seals and dolphins. Every ecosystem and every state and territory of Australia is showcased.
Given the breadth of flora and fauna covered, you may like to ask your kids to identify as many species of animals, birds, insects and marine life as they can. You could look these up later to learn more about the creatures (or landscapes) that piqued their interest.
What’s special about Australian Geographic’s Our Country?
It’s been well documented that spending time in nature positively affects mood and well-being. Indoor plants have also been shown to also health benefits, and even artificial plants can help reduce stress and anxiety. Given this, spending an hour or so immersed in natural sights and sounds, albeit through screens, can be mesmerisingly relaxing.
It’s also a great reminder about the importance of spending time in nature (in real life!) and may inspire you to organise a family bushwalk, picnic or camping trip. As Australian Geographic Society Chair, David Haslingden said:
“Australia is home to more than one million species, plants and animals, and more than 80 per cent of our plants and mammals are found nowhere else on earth. Our Country is an incredible opportunity for visitors to be swept away by Australia’s natural wonders and leave feeling inspired to explore their backyards right here in Queensland.”
How do I buy tickets for Australian Geographic’s Our Country?
Visit ourcountry360.com for further details, including how to purchase tickets. Tickets are available for $34.90 for adults, $24.90 for kids under 16 and $94.90 for families. Children aged three and under enter for free. Considering that the footage shown was collected over decades, after more than 100 000 hours in the field, it feels like good value.
The experience opens on Saturday 11 March 2023 and will be showing at the Brisbane Entertainment and Convention Centre until 7 May.