For those who feel like staying up a little later on their adventures, New Zealand’s night sky sure does put on a show for those who decide to stay awake for it. Whether you’re out camping in remote areas, or staying in the bigger cities, there’s no shortage of spots to get your stargazing fix – here’s our top 5.
Space Place, Wellington
Even in the capital you can find a spot to see the stars (provided it’s a clear night of course) courtesy of the Thomas Cooke telescope at aptly named Space Place. Through this you can see the spectacular southern skies and staff can point you in the right direction when it comes to certain stars to look out for. The full dome planetarium also treats viewers to a digital look at planets, constellations and galaxies, so even on a grey night you can feel like you’ve had a taste of stargazing.
Stardome Observatory, Auckland
A place for star and space lovers since 1967, a visit to Auckland’s Stardome has been almost a rite of passage for people growing up in the city. Located on top of One Tree Hill, the observatory and planetarium gives enthusiasts the chance to see the night sky through one of their powerful telescopes, and takes them on an intimate and up close journey through space via its digital dome.
Earth & Sky, Lake Tekapo
Home to the New Zealand’s premier astronomical research centre, you know you’re in the presence of very knowledgeable people at Mt John Observatory. Part of the International Dark Sky Reserve which limits any light pollution in the area, makes this beautiful part of the MacKenzie Country unblemished by human factors and leaves it in pristine shape for visitors to ogle over.
Good Heavens, Great Barrier Island
Another Dark Sky Sanctuary and the only one to be located on an island, Good Heavens certainly has many curious visitors keen to crane their necks and peer through a powerful telescope up to the night sky. As an off the grid community, Great Barrier’s night sky is its strength and arguably greatest asset, so is well worth taking the trip over from Auckland to see, where trained and enthusiastic ambassadors will talk you through what to expect on the other side of your telescope.
It should be said that staying up late in Queenstown can consist of more than hitting the local pubs and meeting some new friends (although we thoroughly recommend this too). For those wanting a does of nature and unpolluted stargazing however, a trip up above Lake Wakatipu is in order. Learn all about the southern skies and the special Southern Cross from the clever guides at Skyline and point your telescope at planets, the Milky Way and as always, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for extraterrestrial life!
Get yourself a Snap Rental, park up for the night and direct your eyes skyward. https://www.snaprentals.co.nz/