In the heart of the South Island lies skies so clear and vast that millions of stars otherwise unseen seem to appear right before your eyes.
Unique to the Mackenzie region, the clear skies found in this part of the world are like nothing else in New Zealand. Very limited light pollution means the increasingly diminished city views of the night sky seem to stretch on for as far as the eye can see.
In 2012, the 4300 square kilometre area was declared the Aoraki/Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, with light pollution strictly controlled in the area. It is the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere, and one of only 8 in the world. Within this reserve is New Zealand’s premier astrological research centre, the Mount John Observatory.
Seeing this through a telescope is an experience unlike any other. Take the time to look up, study the galaxies and stars, and feel connected to the awesome history of the universe. There are a number of ways to take a stargazing tour in the Mackenzie region.
Keen stargazers will see amazing constellations that can only be seen in the southern hemisphere, including the Southern Cross, to the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way.