View the Heavens from Down Under: Star gazing in Australia

In the big cities, it’s hard to find a quiet spot just to gaze up at the night sky, as light and air pollution make stargazing nearly impossible in built-up areas. Thankfully, Australia has plenty of sparsely populated, pollution-free land, which makes for some of the best stargazing in the world.

So wait for the sun to go down, get in touch with your inner astronomer and check out our picks for the most awe-inspiring stargazing in Australia.

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View the Heavens from Down Under: Star gazing in Australia

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Earth Sanctuary, Alice Springs

With almost no artificial light, Central Australia is prime stargazing material; after dark the stars are so bright you won’t need a telescope to appreciate just how big the universe is. For those who want a little more information, take the Astronomy Tour with Earth Sanctuary. This small group tour offers what they call ‘Swag Astronomy’, otherwise known as an optional bedroll so you can lie back and take in the stars without craning your neck. While you’re getting comfortable, the tour guides will point out constellations, and tell traditional Indigenous Dreamtime stories.

Milroy Observatory, Coonabarabran, New South Wales

The tiny town of Coonabarabran – or ‘Coona’ to the locals – is home to the Milroy Observatory, the largest public-access telescope in the southern hemisphere. Situated 460km from Sydney, the area’s pristine air, high altitude and incredibly low light pollution make Coona an ideal place for stargazing. Astronomy tours run regularly thanks to Cam Wylie, the astrologist in charge. Milroy Observatory even has a six-bedroom house on the property, so it’s perfect for groups and families.

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View the Heavens from Down Under: Star gazing in Australia

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Charleville Cosmos Centre & Observatory, Charleville, Queensland

Located in Outback Queensland, 745km from Brisbane, the Charleville Cosmos Centre & Observatory has everything a stargazer could ask for. By day, visit the Information Zone and fill your head with space trivia before watching the universe-themed documentary Journey to Infinity at the only cinema in Charleville. By night, watch the entire roof roll away to reveal the Cosmos Centre’s powerful telescopes before taking a guided tour to see planets and stars that are thousands of light-years away.

The Dish, Parkes, New South Wales

Located in the town of Parkes in regional New South Wales, around 350km west of Sydney, this huge radio telescope was made famous by the 2001 movie The Dish. The movie, which was loosely based on a true story, told the story of the telescope’s role in relaying live footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. Though there’s no public access to the telescope, the Visitors Centre has plenty of information about radio astronomy, as well as a 3D theatre and endless space facts.

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View the Heavens from Down Under: Star gazing in Australia

John White Photos/Getty Images

Perth Observatory, Bickley, Western Australia

Australia’s oldest observatory, the Perth Observatory is conveniently located only 25km east of Perth, so you can get incredible stargazing close to the city. Night tours are run throughout the year, and give you access to incredible views of the night sky through the Observatory’s telescopes. You can also browse the museum, which is a treasure trove for the budding astrologer. There are also day tours of the museum, astrophography gallery and the meteor exhibit.

Magellan Observatory and Rural Retreat, Lake Bathurst, New South Wales

Open exclusively to guests, the Magellan Observatory and Rural Retreat is a dream for the budding or more experienced astrologer. An easy two-and-a-half hour drive south of Sydney, the retreat will spoil you during the day with a gorgeous rural setting, but the real action starts when the sun sets. With the naked eye, views of the night sky are breathtaking, but take a SkyTour and explore the stars and planets with their 24-inch telescope. For those with a little more experience, take advantage of the astrophotography equipment and solar telescopes and marvel at the solar flares and sun spots.

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