New Zealand has a rich cultural and historical heritage, and along with numerous activities offered, it attracts millions of tourists every year. This country is an unparalleled travel destination where you can find fun things almost anywhere you go. With clear and dark skies, the slightest light pollution, and location in the Southern Hemisphere, you don’t need any special stargazing equipment to enjoy the breathtaking celestial bodies. If you want to visit some of the most astonishing stargazing hotspots, find a free transfer car or campervan and get ready to be blown away by New Zealand’s night sky.
Mt John Observatory
Tekapo is a lake in the South Island of New Zealand. It is one of the most secluded places on the planet, but with the busiest night sky. As a result, it became home to Dark Sky Project, providing a whole diverse range of unique stargazing experience to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. To bring closer the night skies of New Zealand to the visitors, a new astronomy center was opened last year, containing a 125 years-old Brashear telescope along with other astronomical multimedia options.
You should definitely book a tour at the world-renown astronomical center Mt John Observatory to get the most out of your visit to this place. This way you won’t only enjoy the sky full of stars, but also the amazing landscape, in addition to hearing the stories about the Southern Skies from the renowned astrophotographers.
Shakespear Regional Park
A 45-minute drive from Auckland will take you to the nature park Shakespear Regional Park. This place is one of the most popular ones in New Zealand among both international and domestic travelers. Containing three walk trails, Heritage Trail, Lookout Track, and Tiri Tiri Track, you can discover the amazing heritage of this region. Moreover, organizing the night hike will allow you to admire the wonderful scenery of the clear dark sky and the sandstone cliffs sheltering the Bay.
Apart from being heaven for astronomers, this place is also ideal for watching the sunrise and sunset. During the day, you may encounter some of the most endangered species since the Shakespear Open Sanctuary has a rich wildlife. If you are lucky enough, you will get to see the little spotted kiwi as this park is their only home on the mainland.
Rakiura National Park
The third-largest island of New Zealand, Stewart Island is mostly known for the majestic sunsets and the Aurora Australis, the southern lights. The best spot for enjoying the lights is from the Rakiura National Park. New Zealand’s newest park contains nature and scenic reserves, forests, but also native birds such as kiwi.
When you take a night tour to the park for some rare kiwi spotting, at the same time you can have a look at the Aurora Australis. The incredibly low levels of light pollution and the clear night sky create the best environment for smooth and undisturbed stargazing experience.
Known as the best one-day trek available in New Zealand, Tongariro Crossing takes place near the volcanic terrain of the active volcano Mount Tongariro. The landscape of this area is largely dominated by the three active volcanoes: Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu. The hiking trail will lead you through amazing texture and scenery. As it is one of the busiest tracks in the whole country, you should book one of many available guided tours of the area and stargaze without any disturbances.
You can sign up for a tour starting with a walk to the best spot for watching the sunset over the mountains or to start a tour around 2 AM, explore the volcanic terrain, and then head off and watch the sunrise and the birth of a new day. Whichever tour you choose, you won’t regret it as this is truly a one-of-a-kind adventure.
Zealandia is a wildlife sanctuary in Wellington. Set in a city, it is the first not only urban but also natural Ecosanctuary with diverse flora and fauna. The major focus is on conservation and through this project, they have managed to reintroduce over 20 different native species which were missing from New Zealand for more than 100 years.
During your visit to this blissful oasis, you can book a tour Zealandia by Night were guided by torchlight, you can explore the sanctuary in search of its wildlife as well as numerous constellations in the clear sky.
Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve
Last but not least is the jewel in New Zealand’s stargazing crown. Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is an enormous area in the Aoraki National Park that was declared an International Dark Sky Reserve back in 2012. Awarded with the golden status, meaning there is not even the slightest light pollution, this is an iconic stargazing paradise.
The sky is so clear that celestial bodies stretch out as far as the eye can see. Astronomers will be able to see some of the most amazing and inherent constellations to the Southern Hemisphere such as the Southern Cross, the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way.
Whichever of these places you select, you certainly won’t regret it, as all of them provide unforgettable stargazing experiences. Get a free car and enjoy what nature of New Zealand has to offer.