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“Get some decent telescopes” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Big Sky Stargazing

Big Sky Stargazing
Mt. Cook Village, Sir Edmund Hillary Centre, Mt. Cook Village, New Zealand
+64 4351809
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Type: Cultural
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Mount Cook is far from the city lights and therefore has some of the darkest skies in New Zealand - perfect for viewing the night sky! In June 2012 the Aoraki Mackenzie region, encompassing Mount Cook Village, was approved as one of only a few International Dark Sky Reserves (IDSR) worldwide. It is the worlds largest IDSR, and has achieved a gold rating, 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 state-of-the-art telescopes, high powered binoculars and the naked eye to put your newly acquired knowledge into practise, identifying and exploring different elements of the spectacular southern sky.
NZ
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Get some decent telescopes”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2014

I was really looking forward to this and have left feeling disappointed and that the trip is overpriced. The man was knowledgeable about what he was talking about but the part in the planetarium became boring. The trip to the star gazing site was hopefully going to be my highlight but queuing with 27 others to have a few second look through only two telescope at 6 different settings was not $60 worth. This was such a shame when the conditions were absolutely perfect despite the cold. In preference I would go to Mt John Observatory in Tekapo.

Visited May 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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18 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Geelong, Australia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Starry, starry night”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2014

The Planetarium experience was very well done and my teenager was in awe of astronomy at the end of it. Then we went down to the secret location for outside stargazing. Wear warm socks as it gets cold - they provide v warm, long coats. It was a little diffuse with moisture & a few clouds, so perhaps not the most fortunate night for gazing but the information and quietness of the session provided a great time to reconnect with the world around us. I now have a converted 15 year-old astronomer - what a great result from this professional excursion!

Visited May 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aveton Gifford, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
25 attraction reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Avoid the full moon”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2014

This was a rather disappointing trip but the main fault lay in our timing: there was a full moon and the stars did not therefore appear as bright as we'd hoped. Our guides were very knowledgeable but there were quite a few of us with only one telescope and one giant binocular between us to look through, so a lot of the time was spent queuing and getting cold while waiting to have a look at the next star/planet we were focussing on. I was also expecting a more powerful telescope - I struggled to see very much at all.

Visited March 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christchurch, New Zealand
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Awesome”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2014

Was such a pleasant surprise to do this. I had travelled over New Zealand and didnt know it was possible to do this type of thing in Mt Cook.

I watched a presentation in the planetarium they have which was informative & entertaining. The guide that talked us through the things in the planetarium then joined up with another guide and we went out and looked at the stars.

What you pay for here is the information. It is beautiful but made so much more so from the way the staff operated. They were so excited to tell us about the things in the sky and often even discussed amongst themselves how beautiful things were. One negative is that it was a small area with many people but it didnt seem like that with the way the staff handled it. it may have been nice to sit down at one point.

I know now so much more and will never forget this experience.

Visited December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
240 reviews 240 reviews
83 attraction reviews
Reviews in 103 cities Reviews in 103 cities
143 helpful votes 143 helpful votes
“Brilliant”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2014

We watched an interesting planetarium show in the film theatre before hearing the bad news that it was cloudy. We were speedily rebooked for the following evening when the weather was perfect. The enthusiasm of the guides was contagious and the two hours passed in an instant. Book this if you are able and good luck with the weather.

Visited January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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