Mount John Observatory

Free experience
Mount John Observatory

What you can expect

As the world's largest dark sky reserve, it's no surprise that the night skies are a huge drawcard for visitors to NZ's Mackenzie region as its almost complete lack of pollution – both light and air - makes for one of the highest levels of night sky visibility on offer in the southern hemisphere. Stargazing is popular in the region both via the naked eye, with binoculars and - given the area's distance from any dominant city lights that may obscure the view - it was also chosen as the site for the construction of the Mount John Observatory which sits above the town of Tekapo, making it one of the world's most easily accessible to the public. The Observatory has six separate telescopes which can take in a staggering 50 million stars on the clearest nights as well as planets and even other distant solar systems. Mount John Observatory will allow visitors to experience the beauty of the night sky with evening tours to two dedicated locations; the University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory and Cowan’s Observatory. Day, Twilight and basic Observatory Tours run for around 2 hours, providing visitors with incredible views of the night skies.


What you need to know

Additional Information
  • __Tours__
  • Mt. John Observatory Tour
  • Twilight Tour (summer)
  • 'Little Star' Tour (winter)
  • Cowan's Observatory Tour
  • Family Tour (winter)
  • Day Tour
  • Sunset Tour (summer)
  • Star-tracking Photography Tour
  • Mission to the
Scenic activity
Educational attraction
Numerous tours available
Great for the whole family
Popular year round attraction
Experience Oz

We acknowledge and pay respect to the Traditional Custodians of Country and their connections and continuous care for the skies, lands and waterways throughout Australia.