Dark, clear skies, unique celestial features and otherworldly landscapes make stargazing in New Zealand a breathtakingly magical experience. See constellations and shooting stars in glittering dark skies; much of New Zealand has no light pollution and is home to some of the most accessible observatories in the world.
Whether you wish to waltz under the stars, soak in hot pools and gaze at the night sky or just glamp under shooting stars, New Zealand has something for all star chasers. We bring to you 5 special and unique stargazing experiences for an unforgettable night:
Good Heavens, Great Barrier Island
As one of only five Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world, and the first island sanctuary in the world, Great Barrier Island is one of the best places to stargaze on earth. In comfortable, aptly named moon chairs, listen to the waves lap against the shore while gazing up and learning about the dazzlingly bright constellations. If you’re a foodie, grab some friends and pick the package ‘Dining with the Stars’ for a delicious meal beneath the galaxy.
Stonehenge Aotearoa, Wairarapa
The Wairarapa region is on track to become New Zealand’s largest Dark Sky Reserve and has one of the darkest and most pristine skies in the country. What better place to stargaze than here, at the Stonehenge Aotearoa open-air astronomical observatory? A modern interpretation of the mysterious ancient monument, Stonehenge Aotearoa is based upon starlore from tangata whenua (indigenous Maori people), Pasifika and other cultures around the world.Book a daytime guided tour to learn about the henge, Maori starlore, Polynesian navigation and archeoastronomy or head along on a Friday or Saturday night for a Star Safari followed by stargazing (weather permitting).
Tekapo Springs Star Gazing | Takapo (Tekapo)
The ultimate in stellar relaxation, Tekapo Stargazing is the only guided hot pools and star gazing experience in New Zealand, located at one of the best stargazing sites on earth. Wonder at the dazzling beauty of millions of stars in some of the clearest, darkest night skies in the world at Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. Relax in soul-warming hot pools beneath the 4,300 square kilometres of officially recognized International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest reserve of
this type worldwide. Enjoy exclusive use of the 38-degree pool to lie back on a floating hammock or simply relax as you gaze at the starry blanket above you. A guide would be available to share local stories about New Zealand myths and legends combined with the science behind constellations, planets and galaxies.
Dark Sky Project,Takapo (Tekapo)
Dark Sky Project are world-leaders in astro-tourism experiences. Located in the heart of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, Takapo (Tekapo) is one of the quietest spots on the planet yet it has one of the busiest night skies in the universe. Embark on an interactive journey delivering thought-provoking insight into the world of tataiaroraki (Maori astronomy) and its pivotal role to the Maori understanding of the universe. Using incredible immersive visual displays, visitors can explore the science-based narrative of how living beings came to be, and delve into the depths of the Milky Way and get up close with the impressive 125-year-old recently restored Brashear telescope.
Pukaki Wine Cellar & Observatory, Lake Pukaki
Pukaki Observatory and Wine Cellar is located at Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat at Lake Pukaki. Start your experience in the wine cellar for a glass of whiskey or wine and nibbles while learning about the starry galaxies. The roof of the observatory slides back to reveal the dark night sky for both naked eye and telescopic viewing. Perfectly located to explore one of the darkest skies in the world, this is a unique opportunity to use the latest technology in a spectacular natural environment. Be sure to bring their DSLR camera for some amazing astrophotography opportunities.
With New Zealand’s borders reopening from 1st August, come and experience heavens appear closer to Earth in New Zealand.