See the spectacular skies in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. © Tourism NZ

Marvel at the Milky Way in the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve


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There is no better place in New Zealand to see stars than in the heart of the Mackenzie district, where the clarity of the constellations will take your breath away. 

In 2012, 4,367 square kilometres were designated as the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest in the world and one of just eight globally. 

With very little light pollution and the Mackenzie district’s signature clear skies, the stargazing here is like nothing else in New Zealand. 

Gaze at millions of stars twinkling across the night sky; spot Magellanic Clouds, only visible in the Southern Hemisphere and try to keep count of shooting stars. 

If you want to get even closer to the celestial bodies, Mount John Observatory, set on the shores of Lake Tekapō, will let you zoom in on galaxies far, far away. 

And amazingly, from here when conditions are right, you can also see the Aurora Australis – the Southern Lights. 

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