Skyline Star Gazing co-ordinator Matt Hall with one of the
high-powered telescopes to be used to explore the night sky
during special night tours, beginning next week. Photo
Access to a "hidden world", not visible with the naked
eye and inaccessible in many other locations, will be opened
for stargazers at the Skyline from next week.
Skyline Queenstown's Star Gazing Tour - beginning on Thursday
- will make the most of clear, unpolluted skies.
General manager Lyndon Thomas said the view from the Skyline
was "out of this world" and the Star Gazing Tour was a chance
to explore the night sky "from a rare and unique position".
The tour would take visitors to a specially-constructed area
high above the main complex, where there was no stray light,
allowing for an "unbelievably clear" view of the night sky.
"Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world, with an
excellent selection of restaurants and bars, but there aren't
too many tailored options when it comes to enjoying our
natural surroundings at night," Mr Thomas said.
"We're thrilled to be able to offer people the chance to
enjoy one of the most beautiful night skies in the world,
providing an alternative night time activity."
Top-of-the line telescopes would give stargazers the chance
to view an array of sights, from the Southern Cross, to
nebulas, planets, the Milky Way and other galaxies.
The stargazing tours would be conducted by experienced
astronomer and Skyline Star Gazing co-ordinator Matt Hall,
who said winter was an exciting time of year to be exploring
the night sky.
"The centre of our galaxy sits right above us in the winter
"There's simply so much on show for us and we're able to
actually look into the past, something which blows most
Mr Hall had joined Skyline Star Gazing from the Mt John
Observatory at Lake Tekapo and brought with him more than
four years' experience as an astronomy guide.
"This is a really exciting tour, tailored to suit the needs
of each individual group, from first-time stargazers to the
The views would be provided by two portable high-powered
Celestron telescopes from the United States, which could
automatically track points of interest, giving everyone time
to see the sights.
Goose down jackets would also be provided for guests on the
Skyline Star Gazing will run from August 23 to mid-November,
from Wednesday to Sunday nights, and would take about 75
minutes, not including the gondola ride.
Tours would operate from 6.30pm to 7.45pm and from 8pm to
9.15pm, with a third tour from 9.30pm to 10.45pm if the
second tour was full. Some tour times may vary depending on
Prices included the gondola and started from $69 for adults
and $39 for children.
A gondola, star gazing and dinner option is available for
$110 per person. Each tour takes a minimum of five guests and
a maximum of 15.
Bookings are essential, by calling (03) 441-0085.