From the late autumn till the mid-winter, it’s the perfect time to escape the dreary, grey streets of the Australian suburbs and explore the wonders of the night sky.
That’s late June till October.
And it’s considered as the best time to see Milky Way in Australia, especially from both Western and Northern part of the country.
The Australian outback has some of the lowest light pollutions in the world and can offer the best camping spots for stargazing till morning. Whether you’re after a guided tour or just taking in the vast skies, here’s the go-to list of 11 best stargazing sites in Australia:
- Warrumbungle National Park, NSW
- Mount Wellington, TAS
- Lincoln National Park, SA
- Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park, SA
- The Dish, NSW
- Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, NT
- Kooyoora State Park, VIC
- Gravity Discovery Centre Observatory, WA
- Karlu Karlu Reserve, NT
- The Cosmos Centre, QLD
- The Great Ocean Road, VIC
Be sure to dress warm and pack plenty of snacks as you lie back and enjoy these stunning celestial sights.
1. Warrumbungle National Park, NSW
As one of Australia’s only Dark Sky Parks, these camping grounds ask visitors to reduce their use of human-made lights to maintain a pristinely lit night sky (and happy wildlife). By minimising light pollution to the lowest, guests can experience the stars, much like how their ancestors would have seen them!
The park is also not too far from Siding Spring Observatory for those looking to learn more about the park itself or astronomy, in general. While the observatory itself is not open for public viewings, campers will still be able to stargaze with the naked eye.
Read more: About Warrumbungle Area
2. Mount Wellington, TAS
For stargazers hoping to catch a glimpse of the spectacular Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights as it’s more commonly known, Mount Wellington offers the height and environment for an experience like no other.
While possible to be seen from all over Tassie, this hillside provides an unobstructed view of the mysterious lights, allowing hikers to witness the splendour from the best seat in the house. Although it’s recommended to make the trip during the winter months as the lights can remain in the sky till as late as 10 pm.
3. Lincoln National Park, SA
Surrounded by gorgeous beaches and bays, visitors of the remote campgrounds can spend the day amongst the sand and surf followed by a relaxing night under the stars. With beach spots usually being far from the artificial lights of the city, this place is made unique by its view.
Once darkness settles over the sea and park, Lincoln becomes one of the best places to see the Milky Way on a clear night, which offers campers a spectacular view of star clusters and nebula.
Find more: About Lincoln National Park
4. Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park, SA
This Australian wonder sits twelve meters below sea level, making it the perfect viewing spot for stargazers.
While normally it’s best to view stars from a higher altitude, Lake Eyre’s low vantage point makes it one of the darkest areas in Australia. With its large empty planes, viewers can enjoy an uninterrupted view of cosmos, with the starry sky reflecting on the waters when the lake is full. This spot is also perfect for winter as temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees during the summer.
5. The Dish, NSW
Made famous by the 2000 movie of the same name this monument attracts lots of curious campers and space fans to the little town of Parkes.
The CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope or The Dish was used during the Apollo 11 mission to receive weak radio signals. Goobang National Park offers a free campground for any visitors feeling inspired after spending the day at this massive radio transmitter. With autumn being the best time of year to witness the clear starry skies.
Read more: How The Dish got the TV signals back from the Apollo 11 moonwalk
6. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, NT
During the day visitors of this park can enjoy the breathtaking sites of Australia’s most sacred rock formation – Uluru.
With a range of walks spanning across the red desert to try, guests can then settle in to watch the sunset over the rock, lighting up the site with its fiery combination of purple and orange hues. Once the moon is out, lay back and experience the brilliance of the hundreds of hundreds of stars speckled all across the sky. For hobbyists, this spot even holds a local Astronomy Weekend during the spring!
Things to do: in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
7. Kooyoora State Park, VIC
From within the park, Camp Kooyoora offers one of the best places to see the Milky Way, for a private and comfortable night under the stars. Guests are encouraged to be on the lookout for a shooting star while they settle into a night away from the busy city.
8. Gravity Discovery Centre Observatory, WA
Open to the public on Friday and Saturday evenings, this observatory offers its state of the art technology to the guests and treats its viewers to a guided tour of the universe.
Also available on site are Aboriginal Astronomy sessions which detail dream time stories across the dark sky. For any amateur stargazer out there an observatory is the best place to start. Tickets to the observatory also include access to the Discovery Centre so visitors can make the most the exhibits before the stargazing begins.
9. Karlu Karlu Reserve, NT
Commonly known as the Devils Marbles this red desert area provides one of the best camping spots for stargazing while also offering the strange yet impressive sight of the rounded boulders.
The mysterious monument looks best in the evening sun, making it the perfect spot to settle in and watch the stars over Australia’s beautiful Red Centre. As a bonus, the site is also just an hour drive away from Wycliffe, the UFO capital of Australia.
10. The Cosmos Centre, QLD
The Cosmos Centre, located in Charleville, offers up one of the best views of Milky Way in Australia for anyone looking to experience the wonders of the galaxy night or day.
The centre is famous for its Astronomy by Day sessions where guests can, take hold of meteorites, learn the truth about falling stars and even experience the sun up close through a filtered telescope. For those staying after dark, be sure to visit the observatory and watch the roof open up to reveal more cosmic sights including planets, binary stars, and even the moon all through the centre’s Meade telescopes!
11. The Great Ocean Road, VIC
Located four hours away from the lights of Melbourne’s city, the Alkina Lodges is a must-visit for any budding stargazer. When the weather is clear, guests are encouraged to spend the night under the stars and to make use of the complimentary telescope available for anyone wanting a closer look.
With Australia’s 12 Apostles only a twenty-minute drive from the lodge, seeing this natural wonder lit up by the stars above is a view any world explorer won’t soon forget.
So, here’s the complete list. If you’re a star-lover and want to enjoy your adventure to see Milky Way in Australia to the fullest; check out one of these spots (or as many as you want) and immerse yourself into the wonder of the amazing night sky.
Please do let us know if there are more hidden sites that we might’ve missed. We’ll be glad to add those in this list.
Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Many thanks
Glad that I did #1. There are plenty of other observatories around Warrumbungles that will even let you take a photo with your own camera!! You just need to play with settings to get the colours out 🙂