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The taking of photographs and video footage on Mount John is permitted for personal use only. See our Astrophotography page for more details. Any other use, including commercial use, of such photographs or video footage is prohibited.

Mt John Night-time
Observatory Tour
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Join us on our famous stargazing tour which starts at the Earth & Sky office in Tekapo, where you board our tour bus(es) for the trip up to the summit of Mt John — home of the most southerly permanent optical observatory in the world!



As conditions permit, allow our astronomy guides to help you navigate the southern night sky outdoors using green laser pointers. Experience the thrill of peering through powerful telescopes (16-inch, 11-inch and 9.25-inch apertures) and binoculars to see amazing sights, both near and far.

You can also enjoy your complimentary hot chocolate in our warm and candle-lit Astro Café. Also, if you wish to capture the beauty of the night sky and have a suitably equipped camera, we'll have an experienced astroimager to hand to help you! For more details about our astrophotography, please click here.

When stars are hidden from sight by cloud, let us take you on journey to discover the nocturnal world of an astronomer. See behind the scenes of Mt. John Observatory, usually out-of-bounds to the general public. Nowhere else can you experience what you see and hear on our Mt John Night-time Observatory Tour, so let us help you explore the wonder and mystery of space!

Parents please note: We recommend that the tour is not suitable for children under 8 years of age. It is late at night, outside, very dark, cold and the duration of the tour is two hours. For younger children, please consider the Little Star Tour, Family Tour, Day Tour or the first Cowan's Observatory Tour. Buggies or strollers are prohibited.

Tour duration: Approximately 2 hours
Prices valid:
1st Oct 2013 — 30th Sept 2014
$135 per adult, $80 per child (aged 8+)
$390 family (2 adults & 2 children)
$450 family+ (2 adults & 3+ children)
Availability: Every night, early or late tour option, weather permitting
Departure times: Please contact our town office (+64 (0)3 6806960) regarding tour times, or e-mail info@earthandsky.co.nz

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Click here to read our terms and conditions (also in Japanese / Chinese)
Click here to download the pricelist (PDF)  —  Return to Top of Page


Mt John Twilight Tour (NZ summer only)

As twilight fades into dark, join us outside with our powerful telescopes to enjoy the wonders of the night-time sky. Our knowledgeable guides will assist you to find constellations and bright stars or planets using strong laser pointers, and entertain you with facts and stories about the sky. Drink & dessert included.

Parents please note: We recommend that the tour is not suitable for children under 8 years of age. It is late at night, outside, very dark, cold and the duration of the tour is 2+ hours. For younger children, please consider the Little Star Tour, Family Tour, Day Tour or the first Cowan's Observatory Tour. Buggies or strollers are prohibited.

Tour duration: Approximately 2½ hours
Prices valid:
1st Oct 2013 — 30th Sept 2014
$135 per adult, $80 per child (aged 8+)
$390 family (2 adults & 2 children)
$450 family+ (2 adults & 3+ children)
Availability: Every evening in NZ summer, weather permitting
Departure: Please contact our town office (+64 (0)3 6806960) regarding tour times, or e-mail info@earthandsky.co.nz

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Click here to read our terms and conditions (also in Japanese / Chinese)
Click here to download the pricelist (PDF)  —  Return to Top of Page


Cowan’s Observatory Tour japanese_flag_text

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This tour is conducted from a location close to the Lake Tekapo township and is designed for those on a budget, with time constraints, or with younger families (we welcome children and infants aged 7 and under on this tour).

Set in a natural environment away from research buildings, it offers a different experience to our Mt John Stargazing Tour — but you get to see the same stars!

You will be able to use binoculars and telescopes to view objects of interest in the southern night sky with commentary and assistance from our trained astronomy guide.

The dome contains a fully computerised Sky-Watcher 14-inch Dobsonian telescope, well suited to wide-ranging observations from the Moon and planets out to the furthest deep-sky objects we can detect.

Behold and marvel at our closest neighbouring galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds, which grace our night sky along with constellations such as Orion the Hunter and Scorpius. You may also have the opportunity to see star clusters like the beautiful Jewel Box; awe-inspiring planets; nebulae, immense clouds of gas and dust; and distant galaxies which test the limits of human imagination.

Tour duration: Approximately 1 hour
Prices valid:
1st Oct 2013 — 30th Sept 2014
$80 per adult, $50 per child (aged 5+)
Availability: Generally October to end of March; please check below
Departure times: Please contact our town office (+64 (0)3 6806960) regarding tour times, or e-mail info@earthandsky.co.nz

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Click here to read our terms and conditions (also in Japanese / Chinese)
Click here to download the pricelist (PDF)  —  Return to Top of Page


Mt John Family Tour — NZ holidays only

The easily-assessible summit of Mt. John is the home of the most southerly permanent optical observatory in the world, located in a spectacular setting with 360° views of mountains and Lake Tekapo.

What better inspirational treat for your budding young astronomers (we welcome children and infants aged 7 and under on this tour) than a visit to the MOA2 — yes, that's New Zealand’s largest telescope, not the flightless bird! A fun, educational outing designed for families.

Tour duration: 45 minutes on Mt John
Prices: $50 per adult, $30 per child (aged 5+)
$150 family (2 adults & 2 children)
$170 family (2 adults & 3 children)
Availability: Every evening during holidays, weather permitting
Departure times: Please contact our town office (+64 (0)3 6806960) regarding tour times, or e-mail info@earthandsky.co.nz

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Click here to read our terms and conditions (also in Japanese / Chinese)
Click here to download the pricelist (PDF)  —  Return to Top of Page


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The Little Star Tour!

Stargazing excitement for astronomers of all ages! The newest tour up to Mt John Observatory, from April to September 2014, subject to availability.

The Little Star Tour is specially designed for those with little ones, only wanting a little stargazing time at the observatory or those not interested in a late night (just a little late).

Venture up to Mt John Observatory for the opportunity to peer through telescopes and explore the darkening sky while enjoying a delicious hot chocolate from our Astro Café!

For those who choose this tempting offer, you’ll be the first lucky ones up Mt John after sunset. This tour is shorter in duration than the Mt John Night-time Observatory Tour — it delves straight into stargazing and only runs if there are stars to see! Something for everyone! Perfect for families, as we welcome all ages. Special rates apply. Be sure to take advantage of this early night attraction.

Cost: $90 per adult & $55 per child. Family Rate: $235.

Terms & Conditions of offer: From time to time, Earth and Sky may not be able to offer this tour due to environmental and/or other factors. This stargazing tour will only run if stars are visible at time of departure. Maximum numbers apply. Contact our office for availability and accessibility to Mt John Observatory.

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Click here to read our terms and conditions (also in Japanese / Chinese)
Click here to download the pricelist (PDF)  —  Return to Top of Page

Earth & Sky Ltd., P.O. Box 112, Lake Tekapo 7945, New Zealand.
E-mail:
info@earthandsky.co.nz
Phone: +64 (0)3 6806960   Fax: +64 (0)3 6806950