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Stargazing

Join us for a unique, breathtaking dark sky 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, and you may even see the Southern Lights!

Book your alpine stargazing experience online!

Book now

Our alpine stargazing tour consists of two parts:

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, and 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 and nebulae
  • The Highlands, Maria and craters of our Moon
  • Surface features on Mars
  • Binary stars
  • Other galaxies

Your guide will explain what you’re looking at, and why it’s so cool!

cardrona narniapointlandscape stargazing stargazingnewzealand
Photo: Danny Warley
Otage Light Pollution
A Google map showing the area's light pollution – Cardrona's in a dark sky!

Cardrona is ideally placed between Queenstown and 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. 


Schedule & pricing

  • Stargazing at Cardrona runs daily during the summer season (from Dec. 11, 2020 – April 5, 2021)
  • We run one tour per night and tour times will vary based on light
  • Tour is an hour and a half long
  • Price includes light refreshments

The schedule is subject to change and weather conditions:

  Dec / Jan Feb March
Depart Wanaka 9pm 8.30pm 8pm
Bottom of road pick-up 9.20pm 8.50pm 8.20pm
Tour stars 10.30pm 10pm 9.30pm
Tour ends Midnight 11.30pm 11pm
Back in Wanaka 1am 12.30am Midnight

* Departure times in February and March vary based on sunset times. Get in touch to confirm timings of tours in these months!

Stargazing 2020/21 Pricing

 

Guided Stargazing Tour

$120pp

We also offer gift vouchers which you can buy online here.

Important information

  • It will be pretty chilly up on the mountain at night, so bring plenty of layers. We provide luxuriously warm Canada Goose down jackets and snow boots.
  • The tour is not recommended for small children.
  • Free transport for stargazing is available from Wanaka or the bottom of the Cardrona road - contact our team for more information and to book.
  • 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 and maintain 2-way traffic at all times. We can arrange for our Wanaka transport to meet guests self-driving from Queenstown at the bottom of our access road. Please contact us at the time of booking to confirm pick-up time and location.  
  • 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 and you will be informed if the tour is not running as scheduled
  • Bookings are essential – last bookings will be taken at 5pm on the day of the tour
  • There will be no stargazing tours on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.
  • To inquire about the weather forecast and moon phase please give our booking team a call or email stargazing@cardrona.com
Don't just take it from us - this is what one of our guests had to say on TripAdvisor!
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