Observatory Tours

Join us here where earth meets sky. We have two locations around Lake Tekapo dedicated to star gazing and stellar observations. View some of the best skies in the world from within Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest Dark Sky Reserve in the world. Our highly enthusiastic guides will tour you through the southern night skies sharing from their vast well of knowledge on subjects from the basics of astronomy to some of the more mind boggling science of outer space. With the options of Cowan’s Observatory and the University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory there are options for all. For those who are not the night owl type, Mt John is open during the day hosting the Astro-Café, where the views themselves need no introduction. However those wanting to delve deeper, Day Tours are available for some behind the scenes access.

Join us here where Earth meets sky. We have two locations around Lake Tekapo dedicated to stargazing and stellar observations. View some of the best skies in the world from within Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest Dark Sky Reserve in the world. Our highly enthusiastic guides will tour you through the Southern night skies sharing from their vast well of knowledge on subjects from the basics of astronomy to some of the more mind boggling science of outer space. With the options of Cowan’s Observatory and the University of Canterbury's Mt John Observatory there are options for all. For those who are not the night owl type, Mt John is open during the day hosting the Astro-Café, where the views themselves need no introduction. 

If you have a general question about our tours, have a look at our FAQ.

Mt. John Observatory Tour

Spend the evening discovering what the southern sky has to offer, and experience the thrill of looking deep into the cosmos with our powerful telescopes.

Duration: 2 hours

Location: Mt. John Observatory

Please call +64 3 680 6960 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cowan's Observatory Tour (Summer)

Take a look through our telescopes and discover a few hidden secrets throughout the Milky Way. This tour is perfect for your first stargazing experience.

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

Location: Cowan's Observatory

Please call +64 3 680 6960 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Twilight Tour (Summer)

Explore the working environment of astronomers, enjoy a treat in our Astro-Cafe whilst enjoying a short multimedia presentation, then join us outside to peer through telescopes and explore the darkening sky.

Duration: 2 hours

Location: Mt. John Observatory

Please call +64 3 680 6960 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Little Star Tour (Winter)

A popular tour for those not inclined towards the cold, this shorter tour at the beginning of the evening avoids the worst of the frigid winter nights.

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Location: Mt. John Observatory

We are making some changes to our website. For tours before 1 July, please call +64 3 680 6960 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Day Tour

This tour is a short, eye opening introduction to the vistas seen from Mt. John and the cutting edge research occurring on the mountain.

Duration: 40 minutes

Location: Mt. John Observatory

Sunset Tour (Summer)

Explore the working environment of astronomers, use our solar scope to watch the sun sink below the southern alps, and be dazzled by the emerging stars with our powerful telescopes.

Duration: 2 hours

Location: Mt. John Observatory

Family Tour

Explore the working environment of astronomers, use our solar scope to watch the sun sink below the southern alps, and be dazzled by the emerging stars with our powerful telescopes.

Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes

Location: Mt. John Observatory