Tekapo and The Dark Sky Reserve (The REAL stars of Tekapo )
In the heart of the South Island in the Mackenzie country is a 4300 square kilometre area which was declared the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve in 2012 – the clarity of the skies had been a badly kept secret as the USA military used Mt John as a spy base for a number of years to track satellites. Light pollution is strictly controlled in this area. The dark sky reserve is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of only eight in the world – which makes our wee village pretty special we reckon.
Unique to the Mackenzie Region, the clear skies found in this part of the world are like nothing else in New Zealand. Thee views of the night sky seem to stretch on as far as the eye can see, its not unusual to see ‘shooting stars’ and satellites zooming across the night skies. If you miss out on booking a star tour just ‘rug up’, find a dark spot away from lights and lay back and study the night sky.
Booking a tour is highly recommended as seeing a tiny part of our universe through a telescope is an exceptional experience, take the time to look up, study the galaxies and stars, and feel connected to the awesome history of our universe. There are a number of ways to take a stargazing tour in the Mackenzie Region, with the added bonus of hot pools, or at an old US Spy base or at Tekapo newest star gazing tour with Silver River;
See amazing constellations that can only be seen in the southern hemisphere, including the Southern Cross, the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way. Yet another reason to extend your stay in Tekapo.
Huge thanks to Grant Bisset for the beautiful photo.