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Earth and Sky


Lake Tekapo, Window to the Universe

Mt John Observatory

Home of the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve
International Dark-Sky Associationʼs Executive Director Bob Parks remarks, "The new reserve is coming in at a ʻGoldʼ level status. To put it simply, it is one of the best stargazing sites on Earth." 

Comet passes over Mt John Observatory with Earth and Sky

BY DAY – Drive ($5 road toll applies) or hike to the summit of Mt John. Enjoy your coffee with spectacular views of the Mackenzie Basin at the Astro Cafe. Imagine viewing day-time stars on a DAY TOUR of Mt John University Observatory. Favourable skies and powerful telescopes allow the sun, stars or a planet to be viewed. Marvel at New Zealand’s largest telescope, the MOA and learn about the research it conducts.

Home to the Astro Cafe and NZ’s largest telescope. Breath-taking 360 degree views of lakes and mountains.
By night, one of the best stargazing sites on Earth.

MT JOHN TWILIGHT and NIGHT TOUR - Join us for our famous My John Observatory tour, located in the world’s largest dark sky reserve. On the tour we provide transport, equipment and guidance; all you need to bring are keen eyes, warm clothes and a desire to see, learn and experience! Telescopes are able to reveal familiar planets through to rich star clusters. Bring your DSLR camera; be stunned by what you could capture. When the stars are hidden from view, delve into the inner sanctums of the Observatory as we educate you about the largest telescopes in the country and their discoveries.

Astro Cafe on the summit of Mt John

Contact details
Location: Mt John Observatory and Cowans Hill, Lake Tekapo
Office: Village Centre, State Highway 8, Lake Tekapo
Phone: +64 3 6806960
Fax: +64 3 6806950
More info: Click here for more information

Astro photography with Earth and Sky

Observatory domes at the Mt John Observatory

There is road access to the summit of Mt John. A $5 road toll applies.
This toll is to cover the high maintenance costs of the private road.


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