Best places to stargaze in Australia and New Zealand

Escape the city lights and embark on a journey of discovery through the cosmos. Australia and New Zealand are home to some of the best stargazing destinations in the world, thanks to their unique geography, minimal light pollution and pristine skies – perfect for a stargazing getaway that will take you from the Southern Cross to the majestic Milky Way. ​​

Looking for the best night for stargazing? Stargazing is a year-round adventure, with the Milky Way in full bloom from late February to late October, and the summer months showcasing a brilliant display of other constellations. Here are our top picks for the ultimate stargazing experiences in the star-studded Southern Hemisphere.

Stargazing in New Zealand

Lake Tekapo, South Island

Hot springs & stargazing… what more could you want! Image from Tekapo Springs.

The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve at Lake Tekapo is one of only eleven dark sky reserves worldwide – it’s also the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The pristine night skies here have almost no light pollution, allowing for exceptional visibility of the wonders above. Spanning over 4,300 square kilometres, this park also encompasses a stunning landscape, including Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park – home to New Zealand’s tallest peak. Combine your Lake Tekapo stargazing with a hot pool experience at famous Tekapo Springs

Where to stay

Just over an hour from the Dark Sky Reserve, Comfort Hotel Benvenue in nearby Timaru is also a close stroll to beautiful Caroline Bay.

Invercargill, South Island

Aurora Australis is absolutely stunning! Image from thatphotoguynl from Unsplash.

Most people know of the spectacular Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), a captivating natural phenomenon in the skies of the Northern Hemisphere. But down south, we have our own mesmerising version called the Aurora Australis. One of the best places to see the colourful Southern Lights dancing across the night sky is the Invercargill at the southern end of New Zealand’s South Island. 

A short ferry ride off the coast, Rakiura Stewart Island offers a remarkable opportunity to observe the splendour of the night sky at the Rakiura Dark Sky Sanctuary. Stewart Island is the southernmost and smallest island of the three main islands of New Zealand – the name Rakiura means ‘The Land of Glowing Skies’

Where to stay

Comfort Inn Tayesta is the ideal base for any trip to the South, being just 20 minutes from the ferry terminal to explore the unspoilt natural beauty of Stewart Island. 

Stargazing in Australia

Bendigo, Victoria

Stargazing at Lake Eppalock. Image from Justin Castless.

Known for its rich gold rush history and natural beauty, Bendigo is also renowned for being one of the best places for stargazing in Victoria. The new Bendigo Planetarium at the Discovery Science and Technology Centre includes a state-of-the-art dome theatre, and on a clear night, you can see a breathtaking array of stars, constellations and other celestial wonders. Half an hour from Bendigo, the vast Lake Eppalock is a popular spot for water sports during the day, while at night, the sky above dazzles with stars that reflect in the still water of the lake below. 

Where to stay

You’ll find places to stay in Bendigo accommodation ideal for exploring the historic gold rush region and surrounding attractions such as Lake Weeroona

Bickley Observatory, Perth Western Australia

Stargazing at the Bickley Observatory, Perth. Image from Bickley Observatory.

Set in the scenic Bickley Valley, half an hour east of Perth, the heritage-listed Bickley Observatory is the oldest observatory in Western Australia. Enjoy a unique and immersive experience on a guided Night Sky Tour and gain a deeper understanding of our universe and the beauty of the cosmos. View planets, galaxies, and other deep-sky objects up close through the observatory’s powerful telescopes. Visit the museum where you can marvel at the Atlas Coelestis – the first-ever Star Atlas printed in 1729.

Where to stay

The modern and stylish Ingot Hotel Perth is ideally situated for access to the best of the city’s sights and attractions. 

Lake Bonney, South Australia

Lake Bonney is a top place to stargaze. Image from Mark Bondarenko.

For stargazing in South Australia, head to beautiful Barmera on the shores of tranquil Lake Bonney. The picturesque spot in the heart of the Riverland region is It’s also known for its dark skies and is popular for astrophotography, with a number of award-winning interstellar shots snapped here of the expansive Milky Way. Lake Bonney’s reflections of the night sky on the calm waters of the lake also offer a unique perspective of the luminous Milky Way. 

Where to stay

Conveniently located within the Riverland region, Comfort Inn & Suites Riverland offers large rooms, golf course views, a seasonal outdoor pool, and grassed tennis courts – as well as country hospitality.

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