Without a doubt, our UNESCO recognised starlight reserve is a once in a lifetime must-do activity. The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve has been awarded the first ever Gold-level dark sky status, a recognition bestowed for the unparalleled clarity of its night skies.
While you can see the stars from anywhere in Tekapo the very best way to fully experience the ethereal sight is to take a star tour with Earth & Sky http://www.earthandskynz.com/window-to-the-universe/en/.
Located at the top of Mt John just 15 minutes from the village you will be transported for your night tour to the observatory by enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides (with Chinese and Japanese speaking options).
Depending on the conditions, you may be shown around a world-class research observatory, learn of some of the discoveries being made here, and view the Milky Way, distant star clusters, planets, nebulae, or perhaps the craters of the moon! If you are very lucky you may even see an Aurora Australis, the famous Southern Lights!
Call +64 3 6806 960 for tour schedules or visit the Earth & Sky Booking Office in the village. Bring your camera for astrophotography opportunities like you’ve never imagined.
If you only have the time to visit Mt John during the daylight hours you won't be disappointed. The Astro Cafe atop the mountain is regarded by Lonely Planet as "quite possible the best place on the planet for a coffee!" You can drive yourself during the day and take in the breathtaking 360 degree views. Again, don't forget your camera!
Current winter hours: 10 am to 5.00 pm. Please note that the kitchen closes at 3:30 pm, but continues to offer cakes and other homemade delicacies from the display cabinet until closing.