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Queenstown Stargazing

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Our guide to the stargazing options in the Queenstown region

With its iconic alpine setting in the South Island, Queenstown is well known for being the 'adventure capital of New Zealand'.  The four season resort has been built on its huge range of thrilling activities combinded with breathtaking scenery. 

Less well known, is the town's growing stargazing reputation.  The opportunity to avoid light pollution, and observe dark skies surrounded by incredible mountain and lake scenery, means Queenstown is an ideal stargazing region.  We've picked out the main stargazing options for visitors to experience. 

1.  Skyline Gondola Stargazing

Enjoy an evening gondola ride with the sprinkling lights of Queenstown far below as you head up the mountain to experience a fascinating stargazing tour.  With the stunning backdrop of the mountain and lake scenery, a professional Stargazing Guide will enable you to explore the hidden skies not seen by the naked eye, and impossible to see in many other locations of the world.  Learn about Maori starlore and observe constellations, nebulas, far away galaxies and our neighbouring planets.
 
  • Pricing: Adult - $99 / Child - $54 (Feb 2021)
  • Tour Duration: 45 mins
  • Start Time: 7.00pm check-in at the Stratosfare Bar at the top of the Gondola.  Grab the gondola ride at least 30 mins before the tour to allow enough time.
  • More Info - check for latest operating times and pricing.

2.  Cardrona Ski Resort & Dinner Stargazing

Drive over the Crown Range to Cardrona Alpine Resort and enjoy a dinner and stargazing evening.  Having enjoyed the scenic drive over from Queenstown or Wanaka, enjoy a three course meal at Cardrona’s Mezz restaurant followed by 90 minute tour of the skies with an expert Astronomer.

The Cardrona Valley offers some of the best conditions for stargazing with minimal light pollution and dark skies.  Your guide will talk about the night sky specific to our location in New Zealand and cover what can be seen without the aid of a telescope.  In the second part of the tour, you’ll use the top of the line portable telescope to see star clusters and nebulae, the moons of Jupiter, rings of Saturn and other galaxies.
 
  • Pricing: Adult - $175 (dinner package). $100 (tour only)
  • Tour Duration: 90 mins
  • Start Time:  7.30pm (June 12- September 27) & 8:30pm (September 28- October 16) in the Ticket Office. Dinner in Mezz at 7pm (June 12- September 27) & 8pm (September 28- October 16)
  • Transport is available from Wanaka and from the bottom of the Cardrona mountain road.
  • More Info  - check for latest operating times and pricing.

3. Onsen Hot Pools - Under the Stars

Imagine relaxing in a hot pool looking out onto snow-capped mountains and under a star-studded night sky.  Onsen Hot Pools lets you take in the beauty of the surroundings and enjoy uninterrupted views across the Shotover Canyon.  Soaking in a private Cedar Hot Tub that is heated to 37.8C on warmer days and up to 39.8C during the winter, the pools allow up to four adults.

With complimentary transport to and from Queenstown, this is the easy and fun way to enjoy the night skies. Just switch off the house lights, then sit back and look up.
 
  • Pricing: Adult - $107.50 (Feb 2021).  Pricing includes a glass of wine or beer and a choice of ice cream, crisps or chocolate. 
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Start Time: Every 30 minutes up to 10.00pm
  • More Info - check for latest operating times and pricing.

4. Moke Lake Stargazing

Just a 10 minute drive from Queenstown, Moke Lake is a beautiful scenic spot off the beaten track. The pretty lake setting is framed by mountains and is a popular spot for walking, cycling and camping. In the evening, Moke Lake is an ideal location for stargazing, secluded away from any light pollution.  The symmetrical lake reflections of the mountains create a glorious Astrophotography shot.
 
  • From Queenstown, drive along the road to Glenorchy for about ten minutes before turning off on the right for the road signposted 'Moke Lake Road'. 
  • More Info 

Photo Credits:

Cardrona Night Sky - Danny Warley
Moke Lake Night Sky - Jake Scott-Gardner, Joanna Scott

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