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Big Sky Stargazing

The darkness of the night sky around Aoraki Mt Cook is unbeatable – its official! Let the team at Big Sky Stargazing introduce you to the wonders above. The 4367sq km Gold Status Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is the largest in the world and for this tour you will be the centre of it all.

The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, including Aoraki Mt Cook village, is the largest of all the gold rated reserves worldwide, meaning the darkness of our night skies is almost unbeatable!

Begin with an introduction and orientation in the comfort of our Theatre Planetarium using a special live Digital Sky presentation highlighting unique features in our southern sky.

Our informative astronomy guides then take you on a short drive (transport provided) to our outdoor stargazing site.  Use telescopes, astronomy binoculars and the naked eye to put your newly acquired knowledge into practise, identifying and exploring different elements of the spectacular southern sky.

Big Sky Stargazing tours depart every clear evening. Times vary depending on the time of year and you will be advised of the applicable departure time when you check-in to the hotel.

This tour is available in THREE languages - English, Mandarin or Japanese.

*Headphones with Mandarin translations available for planetarium presentations.

To book or check availability in either Mandarin or Japanese Stagazing tours, please contact our reservations team direct. reservations@hermitage.co.nz

View Big Sky Stargazing Options

Duration

Approximately 1.5 hours

What to bring

An additional warm layer of clothing and comfortable sturdy shoes.

What is supplied
Informative guides.
Specialist Astronomy Telescope & Binoculars.
Headphone translation for planetarium presentation in Mandarin and Japanese.

OUTDOOR MAIN TOUR

Part of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, this is a 'gold rated' reserve, meaning the darkness of our night skies is almost unbeatable.

Our fully trained guides are delighted to show you our beautiful southern night sky using the naked eye, state of the art astronomy telescopes and binoculars at our outdoor viewing platform or if the weather is not favourable then 'live' under our high definition digital dome planetarium. Unleash your imagination as you discover our neighbourhood in the universe including the Southern Cross, seasonal ecliptic objects, planets, star clusters, moons, distant galaxies and even our very own galaxy, the spectacular Milky Way.

 

INCLEMENT WEATHER ALTERNATIVE

The Big Sky Stargazing tour never cancels - if the weather is deemed to be below the required standard to operate outside, then the tour will move forward with the inclement weather alternative.

This alternative features New Zealand's first full dome digital Planetarium - high definition video images on a suspended 9m wide x 4.5m high full dome. Our guides will take you through a 'live' orientation of the night sky utilsing a complimentary star chart.

TOUR CONTENT

We are committed to delivering an outstanding night sky experience. In the pursuit of delivering the best possible experience to our guests, the tour content and program of both the Standard and inclement weather alternative is subject to change at the discretion of the Big Sky Stargazing Management Team.

 

Weather Conditions

The Big Sky Stargazing tour never cancels - if the weather is deemed to be below the required standard to operate outside, then the tour will move forward with the inclement weather alternative. The decision to substitute to the inclement weather tour is solely the responsibility of the Big Sky Stargazing Management Team. If the conditions are judged to be below the required standard for operating outside then this decision will be made prior to departure time. If conditions are deemed acceptable for the tour to proceed outdoors then regardless of how viewing conditions change during the tour no refund or indoor option can be made available.

Cancellation Policy

Within 24 hours of departure - loss of 100% of the total price
Within 48 hours of departure - loss of 50% of the total price