So Where Next Logo
Close this search box.

Travel the world for these mesmerising night sky experiences

Your chance to spot planets, the Northern and Southern Lights, constellations, and the Milky Way can be found within

Travel the world for these mesmerising night sky experiences

Your chance to spot planets, the Northern and Southern Lights, constellations, and the Milky Way can be found within

Make your way around some of the most beautiful skies in the world. From stargazing to astrophotography, we’ve curated our top picks for the best night sky experiences.

Southern Lights by Flight, Chimu Adventures

Aurora Australis making an appearance over the aeroplane wing

Best night sky experiences
Aurora Australis peeking over the wing | Monique Ceccato and Paul Pichugan

The Aurora Australis — AKA the Southern Lights — occurs when the sun releases a huge burst of solar wind, which interacts with the Earth’s magnetic fields to create a sky show of green and purple. You won’t have to worry about standing out in the freezing cold of the Arctic to see it, though. You can glide through the right through the southern auroral zone with Chimu Adventures in the comfort and warmth of a Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner instead. 

Soaring over the Southern Ocean towards Antarctica, the flight departs mid-evening, taking you far away from the light pollution to chase the Aurora Australis. You’ll see constellations and stars as you’ve never seen them before, while expert astronomers provide information about them en route.

As you get closer to the auroral zone, moving mists will begin to form, only discernible when all lights in the cabin are switched off. This is the aurora. Luck out and fly during particularly strong auroral activity, and bright ribbons of green will dance before your eyes. 

The astrophotographers onboard will help advise you on the best way to capture the phenomena with your phones and cameras. If you’re not so in tune with changing aperture and shutter speeds and would rather be completely immersed in the moment, there are photographers on board who will take ample pictures of the once-in-a-lifetime experience for you.

Maui Stargazing Tours, Haleakala National Park

A jeep sits in an otherwise empty parking lot, a billion stars lighting up the sky above it.

People moving by in a blur, taking their turn peering at the stars above.

Best night sky experiences
Watching the skies on Maui | Monique Ceccato

Maui is known for its surf breaks and scenic winding roads. It’s also one of the best places in the world to go stargazing, thanks to its elevation, isolation, and lack of light pollution.

Join Jan Roberson of Maui Stargazing tours above the clouds at the top of Haleakala, a 3,048-metre volcanic peak at the heart of the island. From a quiet car park just below the summit, she’ll guide you through the sky to see the Milky Way, giant clouds of dust known as Nebulas, and too many constellations to count. Using the world’s largest portable telescope — a 12-inch aperture Dobsonian — you’ll be able to see 610 times what your eyes can see; the most impressive sight is the clear image of Saturn’s rings. 

Despite Hawaii’s balmy temperatures, the chill factor on top of the mountain is real. Roberson has you covered, providing skiwear and hot beverages to keep you warm and ensure you have a magnificent experience. 

Stargazing and astrophotography retreat, New Zealand  

Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat
Looking up from the hot tub to the star full of skies | Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat

For an unparalleled experience to delve into the beauty of the night sky, Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat is the place to be. In the heart of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, the immense night sky brimming with stars is the central focus. 

Guests are invited into their intimate wine cellar and observatory to enjoy a glass of wine while the retractable roof opens up, providing unobstructed access for the telescope to give perfect exploration of the southern stars. 

The six-inch refractor telescope provides magnified views of the rings of Saturn and bands of Jupiter alongside radiant star clusters. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the Southern Lights. 

Astrophotography is also available through the telescope, allowing those with a curiosity in night sky photography to capture their moment.

Eco-glamping and aurora reindeer sleigh ride, Torassieppi 

Harriniva Aurora Domes
Harriniva Aurora Domes | Antti Pietikäinen

This four-day Eco-Glamping allows you to discover the night sky in an all-inclusive experience. The tour begins with three days of exploring the captivating lake of Torassieppi. Located right next door to the purest air in the world at Pallas-Yllas National Park, Lake Torassieppi is surrounded by pristine wildlife. 

If you’re looking for a winter wonderland full of Arctic and Aurora experiences, this is the perfect place for you. The snow-filled wilderness distanced from the light pollution of the city sets up the ideal viewing conditions to experience the Northern Lights. 

On this adventure, you will also have the opportunity to stay a night in an Aurora Dome. You’ll be looking up at the night sky through the large glass window, giving you the best possible views of the northern lights when the conditions are favourable.  

Always find the best in travel with So Where Next

Lead image: muratart

Latest stories on So Where Next