The clear, unpolluted skies of Queenstown will provide the perfect setting for Skyline Queenstown’s new stargazing experience launching later this month.
Thanks to Skyline’s magnificent location and Queenstown’s long winter nights, guests on the company’s new Skyline Star Gazing tour will be able to get closer to another world than ever before.
“The view from Skyline is out of this world and this is an opportunity to explore the night sky from a rare and unique position,” said Skyline General Manager Lyndon Thomas.
Perched high above Queenstown, and surrounded by snow-capped mountains, keen stargazers at Skyline will have the opportunity to access a ‘hidden world’ not seen by the naked eye, and impossible to see in many other locations around the world.
Skyline Star Gazing will take visitors to a specially-constructed area high above the main complex, where there is no trespassing light, allowing for an unbelievably clear view of the night sky.
Top-of-the line telescopes will give stargazers the chance to view an amazing array of stunning sights, from the iconic Southern Cross, to nebula, planets, the Milky Way and other galaxies.
The star gazing tours will be headed up 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 months,” he said. “There’s simply so much on show for us and we’re able to actually look into the past, something which blows most peoples’ minds!”
Mr Hall has joined Skyline Star Gazing from the Mt John Observatory at Lake Tekapo and brings with him over 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 star gazers to the more experienced,” he said.
The clear views will be provided by two portable high-powered Celestron telescopes brought in specially from the US, which can automatically track points of interest giving everyone time to see the sights.
Guests on the outdoors tour will have no trouble keeping warm, with high-quality Canada goose down jackets provided.
Skyline General Manager Lyndon Thomas said mankind had always been fascinated with the stars.
“With most not easily viewable from major cities or requiring a journey to an out-of-the way observatory, Skyline Star Gazing should have universal appeal,” he said.
“Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world with an excellent selection of restaurant and bars, but there aren’t too many tailored options when it comes to enjoying our natural surroundings at night.
“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 to Queenstown’s bustling bar and nightlife scene.
“Nightlife in Queenstown may be found in the skies above us, not just in bars and restaurants.”
Skyline Star Gazing joins the range of diverse experiences on offer at Skyline Queenstown that already includes mountain biking, Skyline Luge, Skyline restaurant and Kiwi Haka.
Skyline Star Gazing will run from 23rd August to mid-November on from Wednesday to Sunday nights and will take approximately 75 min (not including gondola). Tour times will operate from 6.30pm to 7.45pm and 8pm until 9.15pm. A third tour from 9.30pm to 10.45pm will run if the second is full (some tour times may vary depending on light).
Prices include gondola and start 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.