Top 5 Stargazing Spots in NZ

We could list a thousand reasons why New Zealand should be your number 1 spot for stargazing, but instead we’ve narrowed it down a little… With plenty of remote locations and limited light pollution, there’s no shortage of glittering constellations to be found here.

Here are our top 5 picks when it comes to stargazing in the Southern Hemisphere:

1. Mt Cook

For a star-studded experience, Mount Cook well and truly delivers the goods. You can head out with your friends after dark, lie on the ground and race to spot the first shooting star! Or if you’d prefer to make sense of all the constellations, planets and galaxies then you can book a tour with Big Sky Stargazing. Astronomy guides will be there to show you the ropes and put your newfound knowledge to the test by identifying different elements of the spectacular night sky.

Mount Cook at night
Low light pollution makes for perfect pictures

2. Tekapo

The stars at Lake Tekapo are incredible from just about anywhere, but the view from the top of St John’s observatory is definitely one of the best spots. This research facility does everything in its power to keep light production to a minimum, which means that the scenes are nothing short of mind blowing. Spend the evening looking through giant telescopes and exploring the observatory domes – you’ll be pointing out notable constellations in no time!

The Church of the Good Shepherd at night
Admiring the backdrop behind the Church of the Good Shepherd

Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo are both locations within the ‘Dark Sky Reserve’ recognised by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA) as having some of the darkest skies in the world! The displays here are truly magical and take stargazing to a whole new level.

3) Abel Tasman

After a long day’s sailing, kayaking and hiking you’ll probably be more than ready for a good night’s sleep… just don’t forget to look up before you get too cosy in bed! On a clear night, Abel Tasman is home to some great starlight photo ops. Can you think of a more picturesque stargazing setting than on these golden sand beaches?

Stars over Abel Tasman
Not to be missed!

4) Blue Duck Station

Situated amongst stunning New Zealand native bush, Blue Duck Station is one of our ‘Strademark’ stops that you just can’t miss when it comes to stargazing. Grab your crew (and some layers!) and gear up to observe the Milky Way from Whakahoro’s finest outdoor playground.

Blue Duck Station under the stars
Leftie’s bus under the Blue Duck stars! Credit: Joe Strudwick

5) Gunn’s Camp

Another incredible Stray stop located in the Hollyford Valley in Fjordland National Park, Gunn’s Camp is the perfect place to kick back, relax and enjoy some peace and quiet. Well and truly off the beaten track, you won’t need to worry about city light pollution interfering with your view since the power generator is turned off at 10pm! Who needs Netflix when you’ve got these skies to watch?

Night time at Gunn's Camp
It pays to get further off the beaten track!

Here are some incredible stargazing shots taken by our very own Stray passengers:

Night at Abel Tasman
Abel Tasman – By David Huynh

Stray Mates under the stars – By Marcus Saarloos

Blue Duck Station at night
Blue Duck Station – By Ollie Buchanan
The Stray Bus at Gunn's Camp
Gunn’s Camp – By Manuel Schmidt

Whether you’re a budding astronomer, night sky photographer or just keen to soak up these once-in-a-lifetime views with good company, you can find plenty of perfect stargazing locations on our Stray route. Check out some of our Stray Tours here.



Tara profile picture


Originally from Birmingham, UK. Favourite Stray stop: Tongariro National Park. Fun fact: she has done every Bungy Jump in New Zealand.

These New Zealand tours will depart soon!

New Zealand is a tiny country that packs a scenic punch! Explore New Zealand the 'Stray' way - getting further off the beaten track, seeking out one-of-a-kind experiences and meeting a bunch of epic fellow adventurers.
All tours are Stray Journey small group tours!

Wanderlust - See it All in NZ

24 days - starts & ends in Auckland

On this trip, you get the best combination of nature, relaxation, beautiful scenery and adrenaline. In 24 days, you will experience beautiful nature consisting of rainforests, mountains and volcanoes.

Takahe - South Island Tour

11 days - starts & ends in Christchurch

From the golden sands of Abel Tasman National Park to the West Coast’s glaciers and rainforests, the party and adventure capital of Queenstown, to the “Roof of Aotearoa” Mt Cook National Park.

Ruru - All of NZ Tour

18 days - starts in Auckland, ends in Christchurch

Hike some of New Zealand’s best tracks, kayak at sunrise, taste a delicious traditional hangi meal, bathe in a hot thermal stream surrounded by native bush.

Or check out these articles for more travel inspiration

Discover the thriving community of local artists offering a distinct Kiwi sound. Our favourite artists to see live.

If you’re a true music lover as well as an avid traveller, then you’re probably inclined to check out the local music scene in every new destination you visit. New Zealand may be small, but travelling music buffs shouldn’t be […]

Read More

Can you explore New Zealand without a driving licence? Is it possible to get off the beaten path without one?

New Zealand is one big playground. There is always something to climb on, jump out of, hike to, a path or a trail to follow… You name it, New Zealand has it! Aotearoa truly is one of the world’s ultimate […]

Read More

Our sustainable traveller’s bible will help you to live your best life – without it costing the earth

We all share a common goal: more travel, and less impact. There’s an overwhelming amount of information (and disinformation) about how to be more sustainable, and we know that when you’re travelling, it becomes 10 times harder. We’ve put together […]

Read More
Scroll to Top