Australia, with its vast landscapes and clear skies, provides an ideal setting for stargazing and celestial exploration. From world-renowned observatories to remote wilderness areas, the country offers a diverse range of locations for astronomy enthusiasts to indulge in their passion for the cosmos. Whether it’s witnessing breathtaking celestial displays, learning about the nation’s scientific history, or simply escaping the bustling city lights, Australia has something to offer every stargazer. In this guide, we will embark on a journey through ten notable stargazing destinations in Australia, each with its own unique charm and astronomical wonders. From the iconic Dish in Parkes to the wilderness that unveils the true majesty of the night sky, let us delve into the celestial realm and discover the remarkable treasures that await in the Australian skies.
Made famous by the 2000 film by Rob Stitch, The Dish is a popular place for viewing the stars, attracting over 100,000 visitors each year. Located in the mid-western town of Parkes, The Dish is the largest radio telescope in the Southern Hemisphere, making it a must-see for any lover of Astronomy. The Dish also played an important role in the Apollo 11 Moon Mission, and a visit here will demonstrate just how important this observatory has been to NASA.
Located on Lake Bathurst, just outside Goulbourn, the Magellan Observatory is another popular hotspot for star gazing. The site is at an elevation of 780 metres, which means that it is a good distance away from the city lights. The views of the sky are simply spectacular, even with the naked eye, so a trip up here will certainly not be wasted.
Mount Stromato Observatory
The Mount Stromato Observatory is Australia’s premier destination for Astronomical research, so it is safe to say that there are going to be lots of stars to see here. It has an ideal position just 20 minutes out of Canberra, which can easily be trekked in a campervan hire from Sydney or a car hire from Canberra.
As Australia’s oldest, continuously operating professional observatory, the Perth Observatory encompasses everything you could ask for while star gazing. Its location just 25 kilometres from Perth means that you can escape the city lights and take a unique tour of the wonders of the Southern night sky. This is essentially the best place to see the stars in Perth.
Mount Kent Observatory
The Mount Kent Observatory is one of the University of Southern Queensland’s most prestigious facilities. This dark-sky site is located in the Cambooya Shire, which is right near Toowoomba. Since Toowoomba is up on highly elevated ground, you will be closer to the stars than you could have imagined!
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
The Brisbane Planetarium is located in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Mt Coot-tha and features a Cosmic Skydrome, Display Zone, Mini Theatre, Observatory and Planetarium Shop. There are also a variety of telescopes for you to test out, so you are sure to see your favourite star.
Cangaroo International Astrophysical Observatory
This is one of South Australia’s best spots for star gazing! The Cangaroo International Astrophysical Observatory is located in Woomera, which is in outback Australia. This position makes it perfect on a clear night to spot the stars, planets and meteors.
The Cosmos centre in Charleville is possibly Australia’s favourite place to go star gazing. Its position in Charleville makes it part of Queensland’s Heritage Trail Network, so it is no wonder it attracts so many tourists. Charleville is located in Outback Queensland, which makes it the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of the night sky. The lack of industrial and light pollution, and a low horizon, combined with the perfect latitude of the planet makes for ideal conditions for viewing the stars.
Located on the conveniently named Observatory Hill, the Sydney Observatory is truly one of the country’s best observatories. It is regarded as Australia’s oldest observatory and is one of the most significant sites in the nation’s scientific history. Easily accessible by car, there really is no excuse not to pay a visit here.
Finally, if you don’t want to go to a commercialized observatory, you can simply find your own patch of grass and gaze up. All you have to do is escape from the city lights into the darkness of the countryside! A general tip is to try a night without moonlight so you can see the meteors and the Milky Way.