Soak in the Stars

Explore the beauty and wonder of the universe in Tekapo, the heart of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.

How often do you take a moment to step outside, look up and contemplate the stars? Maybe you’re just too busy or you live in a city where the lights obscure the stars. Imagine staring up into a night sky that is literally filled with billions of dazzling stars! One of the best places to go star gazing in the world is the Mackenzie Region in New Zealand.


The entire region is an International Dark Sky reserve, awarded Gold Tier status for its exceptionally clear, dark night skies. Did you know it’s the only one in the Southern Hemisphere and at 4,300 square kilometres, one of the largest reserves in the world? Star Gazing is a humbling yet magical experience and in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll see more interesting and beautiful features than anywhere else in the world. The stunning Milky Way can be so bright it even casts a shadow at certain times of the year!


You’ll see two of our neighbouring galaxies, the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds as well as the lovely Southern Cross which is visible nearly all year round. If you’re lucky, you might see the Aurora Australis aka the Southern Lights. Auroras are created from “space weather” when electric particles from solar winds enter Earth’s atmosphere and react with gases. This stunning light display is unique to the Southern Hemisphere and one of the best places to view is in the Mackenzie Region.


Tekapo Star Gazing, located in the heart of this dark sky reserve, and a wonderful way to explore the marvels of the universe is to book a tour with Tekapo Star Gazing. This experience is the only one of its kind in New Zealand, combining the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve with the soul-warming hot pools of Tekapo Springs. Star gazing guides will introduce you to the fascinating southern skies using high-powered telescopes with a focus on story-telling, myths and legends. An indoor presentation is provided if the weather isn’t suitable. Then imagine yourself lying on a floating hammock in a 38-degree hot pool while you gaze at the beautiful stars scattered across the dark skies like jewels. Relaxing astro music plays and this is the perfect time to contemplate the words of renowned astrophysicist, Carl Sagan: We are a way for the universe to know itself. 

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