The clear skies of New Zealand offer some of the most stunning and clear views of the stars in their constellations, shooting stars and meteors. Star gazing enthusiasts from various parts of the world meet at various destinations across New Zealand laden with their professional telescopes and other equipment in the hope of gratifying their visual senses. New Zealand’s South Island has also earned the recognition of being the largest International Dark Sky Reserve in the world.
Probably the best star gazing site in the world, Tekapo has attained worldwide fame due to the sheer number of visitors it attracts throughout the year. Located in the heart of Dark Sky Reserve, it offers scintillating views of the Southern Lights from atop Mt John. Head to the observatory situated high up in the mountain, for the perfect star viewing experience.
Mt Cook, Canterbury
The sky above Mt Cook is one of the least polluted and provides brilliant views of stars and different heavenly bodies. You can opt for a guided tour from the Hillary Deck and explore the vastness of the southern sky or choose to go solo. A nearby planetarium with 3D theatre and seating capacity of 126 people, ensures a fulfilling virtual tour of the Southern sky.
The experience of watching the starry night sky illuminated by stars comes truly alive at Twizel in the Mackenzie region of South Island. The sky above is believed to be one of the darkest in the world, thus making the entire exercise all the more overwhelming. Astronomy grade laser pointers and other modern scientific discovery tools are used by various tour operators to highlight special features in the night sky.
The clear sky of Queenstown offers majestic views of various heavenly bodies and constellations of stars. Opt for Skyline stargazing that takes visitors high up aboard a Gondola and view the distant stars with the aid of a telescope. The latest telescopes elevate the pleasure of peeping into space. You can join one of the stargazing tours for a more fulfilling experience.
Stonehenge Aotearoa occupies an important place in the hearts and minds of the scientific community and has earned repute as a ‘window into the past’. It was designed with the intent of demonstrating the astronomical understanding of ancient dwellers. A 5-metre high Obelisk situated at the centre of the Henge allows you to identify the location of the South Celestial Pole. A far enthralling experience would be resorting to a guided tour, complete with insightful commentary on the solstices, equinoxes and signs of the zodiac.