If you're looking for a beautiful, starry night out in Auckland why not check out The Stardome Observatory. The Stardome is located at the bottom of Cornwall Park (One Tree Hill) and puts on an amazing show of New Zealand's beautiful night sky and the constellations that are visible. So, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a science freak or you enjoy exploring the unknown and learning about weird and wonderful facts about planets and astronomy (well you must do if you enjoy traveling!) Aucklands Stardome Observatory will be a treat for you!
Star gazing and traveling go hand in hand, because of course whilst you are in a different country one of the main things you have to put up with is adapting to the change in climate and witnessing amazing sunsets and starry nights around the earths solar system. Whilst you are in New Zealand, you can see a lot of amazing things through telescopes and witness some out of this world sky showers and constellations.
The Auckland Observatory and Planetarium is situated on the lower southern slopes of One Tree Hill (or Maungakiekie) - one of Auckland's volcanic cones and most prominent natural landmarks. The park includes Maori archaeological sites, playgrounds, BBQ's, walking tracks, and a working farm.
The best time to come out to the Stardome Observatory is at night time (surprise surprise). There are shows every night such as The Autumn Night Sky, Wonders of the Universe and music shows, these change every few months. If you plan your visit well enough you may even make it in time to witness one of the few solar eclipses that occurs every year. You can get a close up view through a solar telescope which really is a once in a lifetime opportunity while you're overseas. The guys that work here can answer all of your crazy questions like "do aliens really exist?" and the question that has crossed everyones mind "when is the world going to end?". These guys will have your answers and the proof to back it up!
Before you go into The Stardome Observatory and watch the show you can take a walk up to the top of Cornwall park and soak up the amazing views of Auckland City. This is one of the best views that you can get of the city and it really looks stunning in the evening sky. When in The Stardome you will be seated in very comfortable chairs that are angled towards the roof, when the show starts the roof is lit up and a HD projection of the night sky, there is an Astronomer that takes you through the different aspects of the sky in New Zealand and the defining features.
After this, weather allowing, you can step outside and take a look at the dominant stars in the sky through a high powered telescope, you can even see the rings on Saturn. For the more keen amateur astronomer there is also a separate lecture / screening that you are able to take part in, this takes a more in-depth look at what has been seen throughout the night.
Whether it is a cloudy night or a clear night Auckland's Stardome Observatory is an experience of New Zealand's nights sky like no other. There are plenty of gizmo's and gadgets to play with and an overall excellent experience of New Zealand's beautiful night sky to take away with you.
Entry into the Auckland Stardome Observatory starts from $14 per person and you can expect to be there for anywhere between 2 1/2 hours - 4 hours (you may even come out a changed person!).
Opening Hours are:
Monday 10 - 3pm
Tuesday to Friday 9.30 - 4:30pm & 6.30 - 9.30pm
Saturday & Sunday 1 - 4.30pm & 6.30 - 9:30pm