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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.