Earth & Sky Tours - NZ Travel

Earth & Sky Tours

Earth & Sky Tours
Earth & Sky offer visitors guided daytime tours around Mount John Observatory as well as night time stargazing tours at Mount John and Cowan's Hill. Located in the Mackenzie District, the region is renowned for the clarity of its sky and freedom from light pollution, which is why tens of thousands of people flock here annually to see the southern stars and transient phenomena such as aurorae, meteor showers and the zodiacal light in all their pristine glory.

Location: Lake Tekapo


Food and Beverage: Astro Cafe open 10.00am to 5.00pm during winter and 9.00am to 6.00pm during summer.


Also opens at night for guests attending Mt John Star tours.


Transfers: Night tours only from the Earth and Sky office in Lake Tekapo.


Child Ages: 5 to 16 years.

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Help Notes:

  • The sky varies throughout the year, so Earth & Sky cannot guarantee that all features will be visible on any given tour.
  • The public are not allowed to drive on Mount John after sunset.
  • Wear your warmest clothing, as even in summer the temperature can become very cold at night.
  • Departure times are subject to change, please check with us on the day of your tour to confirm your actual check-in time!
  • Astrophotography is available with most tours but please check on the day.

Available Activities:
Mt John Observatory Day Tour 


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Take the scenic drive up to the Astro Cafe perched on Mt John.  Be guided through this fully functioning observatory where astronomers from the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) and Nagoya University (Japan) are conducting leading-edge research using a 1.8-metre telescope.  Learn about the exciting Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics project, geographical features of the Mackenzie Basin, local lore, and top it all off with a visit to New Zealands largest telescope.

Duration: 30 to 45 minutes.

Tour departures: Between 10.00am to 4.00pm. 

Please note the mountain road currently closes to the public at 5.00pm daily.

Suitable for Children: Yes.  Family passes also available.

Mt John Night Tour Dark Sky Stargazing


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Join us for the trip up to the summit of Mt John, home of the most southerly permanent optical observatory in the world.  Allow our guides to help you navigate the southern night sky outdoors using green laser pointers and 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 Stargazing Tour, so let us help you explore the wonder and mystery of space.
2 hours ( includes 1/2 hour travel time )

Tour departures: Departure times vary with the seasons and are subject to change.

Suitable for Children: Yes. Family passes also available.

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