A new opportunity to step inside Sir Edmund Hillary’s Antarctic hut will be launching soon. Antarctic Heritage Trust, in partnership with Auckland University of Technology are delighted that their unique virtual reality experience of Sir Ed’s expedition base in Antarctica is ready to launch.
Donning a headset, people will be invited to step inside Hillary’s (TAE/IGY) Hut and to explore the first building at what is now New Zealand’s Scott Base. A fully immersive experience, which includes a guided tour through the hut, it celebrates New Zealand’s first leadership presence in Antarctica as part of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition and International Geophysical Year.
The 1955-58 Trans-Antarctic Expedition was a huge success. Sir Ed led the first overland journey to reach the South Pole since Captain Scott in 1912, and laid supply depots to support the efforts of the British component of the expedition. British explorer Vivian Fuchs led the party that completed the first overland crossing of the Antarctic continent.
Both parties gathered useful scientific information, and completed important mapping work.
The Trust is delighted to be giving people a glimpse into what life was like for Hillary and the 23 men of his expedition on the Ice.
Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson says, “This fully immersive experience will be the closest thing possible to exploring the expedition’s base hut without actually going to the hut itself.
It’s exciting to see how cutting-edge technology, such as VR, can bring important heritage sites and their stories alive for the public.”
It is a ground-breaking project in terms of its scale and approach. Professor Barbara Bollard from AUT, who helped collect the data to build the virtual reality says: “This opportunity is unique in that it allows you to experience this special place without leaving a footprint. It opens up a long and rich history of Antarctic exploration to a wide audience who may never have the opportunity to visit in person.”
The experience will be free and available nationwide through select public exhibitors, as well as globally online.
The Trust would like to acknowledge project partner Auckland University of Technology, principal sponsor Ryman Healthcare, Antarctica New Zealand (logistics), and Staples VR (technical) for making this project possible.