If stargazing has always interested you, or you just want to know more about what to look for in the night sky, the Mt John observatory in Lake Tekapo village is the place to do it.
This is definitely a tour with a difference, and you will be amazed at just how clear the sky is from the top of Mt John. The stars twinkle like a blanket all around and you’ll even be able to see neighbouring stars, planets and galaxies. I kid you not!
This Southern Sky Stargazing Tour departs nightly (weather permitting), and the main thing to remember is to rug up warm. Whatever warm layers you have in your backpack, dig them all out and put them all on – it gets pretty chilly up there.
You’ll be taken by bus up to the observatory, so no dramas about getting there – just show up at the Earth and Sky office and they’ll take you there. All you need to bring (apart from warm clothes!) are keen eyes and a desire to see, learn and experience.
The guide is simply bursting with knowledge about the night sky, and will navigate your way around the southern sky using telescopes, binoculars and the naked eye, to show you amazing sights, both near and far.
There’s also a chance to look through a 16’’ telescope to see clusters of stars and awe-inspiring planets up close. We got to see Jupiter, Venus and even the Milky Way, as well as a space station the size of a football pitch which scooted overhead at one stage. It’s busy up there, that’s for sure.
And you’ll be blown away by the guide’s knowledge on just about everything to do with stars and the galaxy. Just listening to details about the distances the light has taken to travel here, and the fact that Jupiter is 830 million km from us – will totally amaze you.
Prepare for a journey out of this world!
The Mt John Earth and Sky Observatory offers a range of tours as well as the stargazing night tours, including day tours from the Astro Café on Mt John, twilight time tours at the observatory and telescope tours at nearby Cowans Hill.
Stargazing Night Tours depart nightly (weather permitting) from Lake Tekapo village to Mt John observatory.
Don’t forget to dress up warm.
The tour lasts approximately two hours and costs $80 per adult and $45 per child.
Check with the office on the day of your tour for the departure time.
Remember to book ahead for your tour during holiday seasons.
Rachel Pinder stayed atYHA Lake Tekapo at 3 Simpson Lane, with amazing views to the sapphire blue of the lakefront and the mountains beyond. For more details call: 03 680 6857 or Freephone: 0800 278 299. You can also email: email@example.com or visit www.yha.co.nz