Join us for a unique, breathtaking stargazing experience at Cardrona this summer.
Nestled in the heart of the Southern Alps, the Cardrona Valley offers some of the best conditions on Earth for stargazing. Not only does it have a dark sky with minimal light pollution, but it’s far enough south to have a great vantage point to view the famous Southern Sky, & you may even see the Southern Lights!
The first part is a naked eye astronomy tour. Your guide will talk about the night sky specific to our location in New Zealand. You’ll cover highlights of the Southern Sky, constellations, movements of planets, celestial navigation, & general information about what can be seen without the aid of a telescope.
In the second half of the tour, you’ll use our top of the line portable telescope to see (when visible):
Star clusters & nebulae
The Highlands, Maria & craters of our Moon
The moons of Jupiter (on the first tour of the night)
Rings of Saturn
Your guide will explain what you’re looking at, & why it’s so cool!
Cardrona is ideally placed between Queenstown & Wanaka so that it has very little light pollution – easily accessible from both towns but remote enough to show pristine views of the Southern night sky.
Alex Thom has a BSC in Astronomy from the University of Colorado. He spent two years working in Education & Public Outreach, teaching space science at LASP in Colorado. Recently he spent a season doing research on New Zealand’s largest telescope, the MOAII, hunting for extra solar planets.
Schedule & pricing
Stargazing at Cardrona runs Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday nights during the summer season (from Dec. 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019)
Transport departs 7.15pm from Cardrona Corner in Wanaka
We run one tour per night & tour times will vary based on light
Tour is an hour & a half long
Dinner is a three course set menu at 8pm
The schedule is subject to change & weather conditions
Stargazing 2019 Pricing
Tour, 3-course dinner & transport ex Wanaka
It will be pretty chilly up on the mountain at night, so bring plenty of layers. We can provide jackets if needed
The tour is not recommended for small children
Self-drive guests will need to drive up a 14km alpine gravel road to get to the resort for your stargazing experience. Give yourself plenty of time & maintain 2-way traffic at all times.
Arrive 30mins early to ensure you have plenty of time to get ready
Stargazing is subject to weather conditions. A call will be made by 5pm each day & you will be informed if the tour is not running as scheduled
Bookings are essential – last bookings will be taken at 7pm on the day of the tour
There will be no stargazing tours on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year's Eve