Our hot pools are open ‘til 10 pm over January and 9pm throughout the rest of the year and at 11 pm the floodlighting in the village is turned off so you can enjoy one of the world’s best night sky vistas during your stopover at Tekapo.
We are in one of the few places left where it’s still possible to see an entire starlit night sky. In the Lake Tekapo village floodlighting is not permitted after 11 p.m. and only low pressure sodium lamps or those which filter out ultraviolet light are used. Lights must be beamed downwards to prevent light spillage.
The excellent position for stargazing was the reason the Mt John Observatory was established in 1965, at a height of 330 metres above Lake Tekapo. It’s operated by the Physics & Astronomy Department of the University of Canterbury, and uses four primary telescopes which take advantage of the clear unpolluted dark sky and is the most southerly observatory. A great deal of astronomical research is undertaken there and some of that is shared with the locally operated Earth & Sky company which offers a range of night sky tours throughout the year. Founder director Graeme Murray was the driving force behind the Starlight Reserve application, which was lodged in 2007.
Come here for the Maori New Year or Matariki (“tiny eyes” or “eyes of God”) when the beautiful Pleiades Star cluster in the Taurus constellation rises in late May – early June. It’s one of the closest star clusters, just 440 million light years away and around the globe traditional cultures have celebrated Pleiades, also known as Seven Sisters.