Seven places to go stargazing in New Zealand

As the world prepares to celebrates Star Wars Day, New Zealand's night skies put on an epic natural light show.

In a galaxy not so far away, New Zealand is celebrating Star Wars Day by looking up and taking in some of the clearest night skies in the world.

At some of the best stargazing spots in the country keen astronomers are on the lookout for the Millennium Falcon and on alert for any sign of a star destroyer. 

For your best chance of spotting Chewbacca cruising on the Milky Way head to one of these spots for the ultimate Star Wars Day experience….

May the fourth be with you.

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Ruapehu – The stars above the Central Plateau and the Tongariro National Park are a sight to behold. The UNESCO World Heritage Site’s contrasting landscapes make for a stunning setting to stargaze in.

Mt John Observatory – The Mt John Observatory in Tekapo is within the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve and is one of the best places in the world for stargazing. Earth and Sky runs several day and night tours at the observatory and if anyone can help you spot a X-Wing it is their experts.

Tawharanui, Auckland – You don’t need to travel far from the city to see a spectacular light show in New Zealand. Tawharanui Peninsula is just over an hour from downtown Auckland and by day is home to one of New Zealand’s most beautiful beaches, by night one of the country’s epic night skies.

Castlepoint, Wairarapa – On the lower east coast of the North Island, the small beachside town of Castlepoint is famous for its lighthouse. A lesser known asset is the bright lights above. Grab a blanket, get cosy and prepare to wowed by the cosmos.

Glenorchy, Queenstown – The drive from Queenstown to Glenorchy isn’t a long one at 45 minutes but the scenery makes it one of prettiest journey’s you will ever make. The small town is the gateway to the Dart River and by night the mountains that surround it look that little bit more spectacular with the backdrop of millions of stars.

Dunedin - The Aurora Borealis, is a must see for many night sky watchers around the world but the lesser known Aurora Australis or Southern Lights is no less spectacular. From Dunedin, the Southern Lights appear just over the southern horizon creating remarkable reflections in the water much to the delight of budding photographers.

Great Barrier Island - Great Barrier Island, off the north-eastern coast of Auckland, was the first island in the world to be designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary. Much of Great Barrier Island is ’off the grid’ so light pollution is minimized on the island, allowing for great viewing of the spectacular night sky. It would also make a perfect training ground for young Jedi to hone their skills.

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