Earth & Sky, Mt John Observatory

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Mackenzie Country is one of the most sparsely populated areas on the South Island, and so has some fantastic stargazing opportunities owing to such little light pollution.

Situated near the town of Lake Tekapo in the heart of the South Island, Earth & Sky offer both daytime and night-time stargazing tours of the Mount John Observatory, which is run by the University of Canterbury.

After walking or driving up to the summit of Mount John, enjoy the superb views over Lake Tekapo from the warmth of the Astro Café.

On one of the day tours, you will have the opportunity to meander around the Observatory where your friendly, knowledgable guide will talk your group through the story of the Observatory, and through the state-of-the-art telescopes and equipment. Tours will also see the research currently being conducted, such as the MOA project, a joint project with Nagoya University in Japan.

Evening tours come in a variety of forms. Depending on the time of year, Sunset, Twilight or Night Time Tours take you outside with telescopes, with the guides aiding the location of constellations and planets, as well as an added drink and dessert in the café! If the cloud cover is unkind, then you can take advantage of 'behind the scenes' areas of the Observatory and learn about the nocturnal life of an astronomer.

Alternatively, the Cowan's Hill Stargazing Tour is a shorter exprience for those pushed for time. In a specially designed dome not far from the town, your guide will talk you through the astrological objects and wonders found from peering through your telescope. 

Guides will help you find many of the constellations (if you need it!)

Guides will help you find many of the constellations (if you need it!)

The Aurora Australis, the 'Southern Lights'

The Aurora Australis, the 'Southern Lights'

Southern view from Mount John

Southern view from Mount John

The open observatory ready for some stargazing

The open observatory ready for some stargazing

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Feel free to call for a chat, with no obligation at all and find out what we do and how we can help you.