GONDWANA VR: The Exhibition & Virtual Reality Experience | Review

GONDWANA VR: The Exhibition & Virtual Reality Experience

Take a journey into the heart of the ancient Daintree Rainforest, one of earth’s most fascinating, beautiful and vital ecosystems. GONDWANA VR: The Exhibition is on at the South Australian Museum until 17 March 2024. Watch the rainforest evolve on a big screen, see rainforest creatures on display and wander into the rainforest via a virtual reality headset. 

GONDWANA VR is an amazing cinematic and virtual reality installation built from real data projections looking at the potential effects of climate change on the rainforest eco system. You can explore the exhibition, view the evolving rainforest on a large cinematic screen and add the option of the VR headset experience (additional cost).

The exhibition area is not full of buttons to press or lengthy information to read, this is a contemplative exhibition but one that is vitally important for kids (and adults) to see. In fact, before you even set foot in this exhibition, it’s really worth appreciating the value of the research, time and talent that has gone into creating this installation. Artist duo Ben Joseph and Emma Roberts spent five months living off-grid in the Daintree rainforest and four years working to create the exhibition and show just how unique, precious and amazing the Daintree Rainforest is. 

If you’ve ever visited the Daintree Rainforest, you’ll know that not only is it home to an amazing array of birdlife, animals and plant life, it’s a place unlike any other and the smells, sights, sounds and feel of the forest stick with you forever.  The screening and VR experience will take you right back to the rainforest minus the danger of heart shaped plants and menacing crocodiles! Although, there is a large crocodile parked right in front of the screen which we think kids will really enjoy. Some of the museum’s rainforest animal and birds are also on display within the exhibition.

The cinematic experience is great for all ages and it is designed to be quite sensory. The space is dimly lit, calm and filled with rainforest sights, sounds and even rainforest smells which are distributed in the morning and linger faintly throughout the day. There are chairs, beanbags and comfy areas to encourage visitors to relax and to really absorb this journey through the rainforest.

The screening runs for 24 hours and represents 100 years of climate data, poured into one day. You will see the enticing lush rainforest foliage and animals and if you look closely, you may also witness the extinction of plant life and wildlife. To think that over time, the Daintree Rainforest could lose more birds, animals and plants to extinction, is horrifying and this is the point of the exhibition – to firstly make viewers appreciate just how precious the Daintree Rainforest is and to make them aware of the devastating impacts of climate change.

The additional 15 minute VR experience is located in a little side room which accommodates 6 people at a time. Booking is essential and an additional cost on top of entry to the exhibition. It is suitable for ages 5 and up and children aged 5 – 12 must be accompanied by an adult. 

We really recommend the additional VR experience. While we visited, there were some very young children taking part in the VR headset experience and guided through it by an extremely helpful assistant. The young kids seemed to really enjoy it. The VR experience is also perfect for teenagers.

When you enter the VR space, you will be directed to a chair, fitted with a VR headset and shown how to use the controllers to enable you to virtually wander through the 350sqm rainforest. You can walk up to a cliff which overlooks the ocean or wander through the ferns and palm trees until you reach the beach. And no, it won’t allow you to virtually fall off a cliff or go into the water but you can walk through trees! If you see a collection of swirling gold dots, you can interact with them and you may see the weather change, or an animal. If you have trouble using the controllers, simply ask for help.

While in the rainforest, you can hear the quiet of the rainforest, interspersed with birds, rain and the sound of waves upon the sand. It is easy to navigate and use the controllers and the chair; you can swivel the chair around to change the direction of your path.

Random events, animal interactions and weather have been programmed into the system and every person who enters the VR rainforest will have a different experience! 

What we liked:

  • It’s an immersive exhibition – the space allows you to sit and take everything in – the sights, the sounds and even the slight hint of rainforest smell. 
  • We loved the VR experience – having visited the Daintree Rainforest in real life, it was great to “set foot in it” again.
  • We love that the creators of this exhibition are so passionate about educating people about the importance of the rainforest by helping people actually experience it through VR.
  • The exhibition is largely accessible – there is a ramp leading into the exhibition and there is plenty of space to accomodate mobility aids. CLICK HERE for more information about ACCESSIBILITY at the South Australian Museum.
  • Young kids will also like the large crocodile in front of the screen and finding all the animals around the exhibition.

Things to think about:

  • The exhibition space is suitable for all ages.
  • The VR experience is for ages 5 and up only.
  • It’s important to be aware that some people may experience side effects from VR and it’s really a decision for parents to decide whether the VR experience is appropriate for their own children. You can read all about VR safety here and decide whether it’s suitable for you and your children.
  • Little children may be mesmerised by the exhibition screening or they may become restless and want to wander. You know your own child best so we’ll leave that up to you.


General admission:

  • VR headset and exhibition: $15 (online presale), $17 (at the door)
  • Exhibition: $5 (online presale), $7 (at the door)

Museum Members:

  • VR headset and exhibition: $10
  • Exhibition: FREE

Concession/Student/Child 5-12 years:

  • VR headset and exhibition: $13 (online presale), $15 (at the door)
  • Exhibition only: $3 (online presale), $5 (at the door)

Children under 5 FREE (exhibition only – VR headsets only suitable for ages 5+)


Adelaide Festival:

Stay tuned on the SA Museum website for details of an epic 48-hour continuous cycle of GONDWANA VR from 8-10 of March 2023 as part of Adelaide Festival 2024. This will see the Museum open for 24-hours a day alongside a full weekend of public programming to be announced in 2024.


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For more information and all enquiries please visit the SA Museum website

What: GONDWANA VR: The Exhibition

When:  9 December 2023 – 17 March 2024 | 10am-5pm daily

Where  SA Museum | North Terrace, Adelaide

Who:   VR only for ages 5+, exhibition for all ages

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

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