Our experienced guides will introduce you to our beautiful southern night sky with a full hour using the naked eye, astro-binoculars and state of the art 14" and 11" astronomy telescopes. Following a detailed application made by the Aoraki Mackenzie Starlight Working Party in January 2012, the Reserve was created and thenrecognised International Dark-Sky Association, based in Tucson Arizona. And these are the best viewing spots around the country for the Aurora Australis from March to September. The 4,300sq km area is inside the Mackenzie Basin of the South Island, which encapsulates Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and the villages of Tekapo, Twizel and Mt Cook. Recently, 4,300 square kilometres of New Zealand’s South Island was recognised as an International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest reserve of this type worldwide. KAYE PAARDEKOOPERTourism Sector, Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat & Pukaki Observatory, Lake Pukaki, GAVIN 'SNOW' LOXTONTekapo farmer and environmentalist, Tekapo. The Ordinance controls exterior lighting in use (type of lights allowed, times at which they may be on, the need for full-cut off luminaires and the requirement to filter light sources that emit blue light.). In the heart of the South Island the sky is so clear and vast that millions of stars seem to appear right before your eyes. Dark Sky Project is located in the heart of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest Dark Sky Reserve in the world and the first to be awarded gold tier status, Takapō (Tekapo) is one of the quietest spots on the planet yet it has one of the busiest night skies in the universe. But this is not all: Lake Tekapo, stretching 25 km north to south, radiates with a magnificent turquoise-blue hue. - Site map Views from the top of alpine landscapes during the day, and unrivalled wide open skies at night. The 4300sq km area has been declared as the southern hemisphere’s sole dark sky reserve. Keen stargazers will see amazing constellations that can only be seen in the southern hemisphere, including the Southern Cross, to the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way. The recognition of the new reserve was announced at the opening of the Starlight Conference held in Tekapo in June 2012. The Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is the world’s largest such reserve (4367 square km), the first in the southern hemisphere and the first to be declared with gold tier status, the highest that can be accorded, and its formation is a recognition of the pristine skies of the Mackenzie which are essentially completely free of light pollution. Rhön, Germany. Accreditation relies on efforts to prove scientifically, by measuring light, that a location meets a level of high quality darkness. See General information on Lake Tekapo (Tekapo Tourism website), Twizel, Heart of the Mackenzie and Aoraki/Mt Cook website for more information. One of New Zealand’s most iconic photo locations is on the shores of Lake Tekapo. Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, Lake Tekapo: Address, Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve Reviews: 4.5/5 South Pacific New Zealand The largest lake in the area, proudly showing off Aoraki/ Mount Cook from many look out points. Stunning New Zealand's night sky is renowned as the world's darkest sky abundantly embedded with glittering stars. With “light pollution” strictly controlled this is a stargazing experience that is second to none. Located on Takapō (Tekapo) lakefront, Dark Sky Diner boasts spectacular views day and night. New Zealand literally holds some of the best stargazing locations in the world the Aoraki Mt Cook Mackenzie region is the largest International Dark Sky Reserve. The dark sky reserve has been named the Moore's Reserve in honor of local astronomer Sir Patrick Moore (1923-2012) to honor his contributions to the field. Map produced by Mackenzie District Council, 2013. Becoming the world's first dark sky country could be a boon for small communities and encourage more visitors to travel outside peak season. A dark sky reserve needs to be ratified by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA), which has to sign off a number of factors, including light quality, and – to no surprise – darkness. The only dark sky reserves in the southern hemisphere, it’s touted as one of the best destinations for stargazers on the planet. An IDA International Dark Sky Reserve is a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment. HON MARGARET AUSTIN          Advisor on world heritage issues; honorary board member. Mackenzie Basin Dark Sky NZ is an environmentally committed organisation. One of New Zealand’s most iconic photo locations is on the shores of Lake Tekapo. Our goal is to protect and preserve New Zealand’s dark night skies – this is the driving force behind the activities of DarkSkyNZ. We discuss the dark sky reserve in New Zealand and what is the best season for stargazing in New Zealand. Royal Astronomical Society of NZ (President); University of Canterbury; http://darksky.org/idsp/reserves/aorakimackenzie/, General information on Lake Tekapo (Tekapo Tourism website), Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. Prof JOHN HEARNSHAWRoyal Astronomical Society of NZ (President); University of Canterbury; Christchurch. Mackenzie Basin With remarkably low light pollution, some pretty cool star-crazy locals and the region’s location at the heart of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail SH2, the sky is the limit. Department of Conservation lighting controls apply in the National Park. 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