Star gazing in one of the world’s top ‘clear sky’ locations is being launched by Tekapo Springs in New Zealand’s Mackenzie country.
The multi-award-winning South Island tourism attraction known for its innovation and ongoing business investment – will take viewing the Southern night sky to whole new levels with the introduction of Tekapo Star Gazing.
Star gazing tours start on March 3 ,taking advantage of the fact that the tiny township of Tekapo sits within the world’s largest international dark sky reserve (4144sq km), only the fourth such “reserve” in the world.
But this is star gazing with a difference – incorporating a 40-minute guided night sky tour with trained star guides followed by a 40-minute soak in the hot pools. Guides will continue to give information, answer questions and ‘story tell’ on request, and relaxing astro music will play to soothe the soul.
The outdoor pools at the complex will be lit with low red lighting to add to the mood, and guests on the tours will be supplied with floatation devices to help them relax in the water. Tekapo Springs’ Tahr Bar and Café will be open for drinks and snacks throughout the tours.
Owner Karl Burtscher says visitors don’t have to know about astronomy to enjoy their experience.
“Our trained star guides will deliver a tour that includes information on some of the closest and brightest features in the night sky such as stars, planets, constellations, and galaxies.
“Guests will hear about the mythology and cultural aspects of the night sky including navigation for Maori and European cultures. Our tours have an emphasis on story telling mixed with some facts and entertainment.
“We’re thrilled to be opening after sourcing and putting our new telescopes in place as well as employing guides and training staff about our interesting night skies. We’re always being asked about extending our night time operations, so this is the perfect way to do it.”
Tours will go ahead no matter the weather and will operate year-round, with guests enjoying an exciting indoor guided tour with the use of a high definition projector if the sky is not visible at all. English and Mandarin-speaking tours are on offer and tour times will depend on the time of year and when it gets dark enough to see the night sky.
Just under a year ago, Tekapo Springs officially launched two new pools and an aqua play area at the complex, bringing the total number of pools to five. The new pools proved hugely popular with visitors and locals and have resulted in a significant increase in visitor numbers.
“We just keep adding more and more reasons to visit Tekapo Springs including our winter ice skating rink, winter snow tubing and a huge inflatable summer waterslide,” said Mr Burtscher.
Star Gazing tours start at $89 per person and transport is available from the Tekapo Springs info centre. Bookings are highly recommended.
Last year Tekapo Springs was a winner of the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards and was a finalist in the Champion Canterbury Business Awards.