To cater for all wishes, Good Heavens offer a choice of three different experiences on Aotea Great Barrier Island. This island is a Dark Sky Sanctuary. This means spectacular skies for stargazing. If you are coming to the island, why not indulge in a guided stargazing experience. Consider booking in with Good Heavens for a stargazing experience in a pristine seaside environment with a high level of comfort and care. You may want to ponder which one is perfect for you before you book your flights and accommodation.
A choice of three different stargazing experiences
When you come stargazing with Good Heavens on Great Barrier Island, you have the choice of three different types of Experiences. There are two types of group experiences that everyone can join; our Moon Walks and our Look Up and Get Lost experiences. And then there’s our private Experience, Heavens Above. So how are they different? What’s the same and what is the most suitable Experience for you and your team?
Similar content but different objects throughout the year.
The content of our Experiences and the objects viewed are very similar in any given week. They do vary quite a bit throughout the year, however. This means that a stargazing experience in the middle of winter is quite different from the middle of summer. This is not just because of the temperature, but because a different set of stellar objects is cycling through the sky throughout the year. So that what’s visible in the evening sky varies throughout the seasons.
Contact us if you have a specific object or constellation you would like to see. We are happy to recommend the best dates.
The location for our group experiences is usually on a sand dune in Medlands Beach. It’s fifty meters from a car park, and there is a public toilet close by. Your guide will be at this location around 20 minutes before the start time. If you arrive early, you could go for a wander on the beach before the experience starts.
The maximum group size for our experience is 12 people. We want to make sure that everyone can easily hear the guide and also communicate with her. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. There is a minimum number of 4 participants for our group experiences throughout the year. If you book in solo, your booking will be pending until another 3 people have booked in.
To start with our Moon Walk group experience, around eight to nine days per month, the moon is large in the evening sky. At the time of a Moon Walk, the moon is illuminated 50% or more. This happens in the week leading up to the full moon, when the moon is waxing from 50-100% and two days after, when it’s starting to wane, but still in the evening sky. At this time the natural light of the moon ensures that fainter celestial objects, such as the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds are less visible to the naked eye.
Our moon is amazing to observe up close, through our binoculars and our 8” telescope. Leaning back in your moon chair, bathing in moonlight, while you see the same light reflecting on the ocean is a magical experience. And brighter objects and constellations are also visible, so this is basically a full tour, without the Milky Way, but with a focus on the moon.
Look Up and Get Lost
This is our other group experience, that anyone can join in with. If you are specifically interested in seeing the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds, we recommend you time your visit to Great Barrier Island to this experience. Note that during the darkest time of the month, the moon is out of the evening sky.
Heavens above is our private experience, and depending on the time of the month you are on the island, this experience can be either Moon or Milky Way focus. Private experiences are suitable for:
- Parents with small children
- Parents with bigger children
- Family groups
- Corporate groups
- Groups of friends
- Groups who want to bring their own beverages along
- Loved ones who make stargazing part of a romantic evening for two for a proposal, wedding, birthday or honeymoon, for instance at XSPOT.
These experiences can take place along Medlands Beach or at your accommodation, if it has a clear view of the sky and is either in Tryphena or at Medlands/Okupu. A small extra charge applies for us to come to you, as we check if your place is suitable. Private experiences have limited availability, so book early if you are keen to have a guide exclusively for your group.