Travellers wanting to break away from the big city lights of Melbourne, can venture out to dark sky locations across regional Victoria offering breathtaking opportunities to stargaze and explore outer space.
Astronomy enthusiasts young and old, with or without experience, can enjoy the cosmos at public viewing nights hosted by local astronomical societies or simply with the naked eye across the region.
Discover the amazing world of the cosmos and astrophotography with the Phillip Island Observatory. Be amazed by a guided night sky tour, movie in the state-of-the-art outdoor planetarium dome in 360-degree high definition, laser light guided tour of the night sky and unlimited viewing through their high tech telescopes. This private observatory is open to bookings of small groups, and one booking is only taken each night. Book at (03) 9596 9592.
Located in Central Victoria, Heathcote is home to the popular Leon Mow Dark Sky Site which boasts a pristine night sky ideal for deep sky observation. Run by the Astronomical Society of Victoria, the site is open to members at any time. Visitors can partake in a few popular annual public events, including the Messier Star party (March) and the Christmas Star-B-Q (end of year). Amenities on the site include club rooms with stove, hot and cold running water, toilets and showers. 569 Craigs Ln, Ladys Pass, 03 9888 7130
Visitors heading out East towards the Dandenong Ranges can visit the Mount Burnett Observatory. The community observatory hosts popular monthly Public Viewing Nights which provides individuals and families to opportunity to use the telescopes. 420 Paternoster Road, Mt Burnett, 0490 665 004
Stargazing families will have the opportunity to view the moon, planets and other features of the sky at the Bendigo District Astronomical Section's monthly Sidewalk Astronomy events. Held at the Discovery Science and Technology Centre in Bendigo, the events are held at a family friendly time from 6.00pm – 7.30pm (weather permitting) during the winter and later during summer. Entry is a gold donation . 7 Railway Place, Bendigo, 03 5447 7690
Slated as one the best stargazing destinations in Victoria, the Winton Wetlands is the largest wetlands restoration project in the southern hemisphere. Visitors can experience clear and unobstructed skies and take in the galaxy from the Observation Pad on the northern foreshore. Visitors wanting to make it a night out can go along for the Lunette Night Walk, where they can enjoy the ancient landscape at night as the sky, land and water combine to create a spectacle. During the day, visitors can enjoy landscape art, kayaking, cycling, bird watching, and walking. From September to May, campers can hire a Lux Camp and enjoy the night sky from dusk to dawn. 652 Lake Mokoan Rd, Chesney Vale, 03 5766 4462
Officially recognised as an Australian Dark Sky Site, Snake Valley in Victoria’s west, close to Ballarat, is home to the Snake Valley Astronomical Association. Visitors are welcome to join the association’s monthly club nights in this quaint countryside location making it for spectacular viewing of the moon, planets, the Nebula, star clusters and galaxies. The association also offers astronomy classes, along with astrophotography and video astronomy classes. 825 Linton-Carngham Rd, Snake Valley, 0418 425 207
The Ballarat Observatory was the first municipal observatory in Australian when it formally opened to the public in 1886. Situated at Mount Pleasant in Ballarat, 120kms west of Melbourne, the observatory offers astronomy-loving visitors an array of educational programs, events including viewing the planets and stars with modern and historic telescopes, 3D Astrotour movies and special guest lectures. The Observatory owns the first telescope built in Australia for disability access, which is also suitable for those who can no longer climb ladders or are too small for some of the older telescopes. 439 Cobden St, Mount Pleasant, 03 5332 7526
Visitors can enjoy uninterrupted views from the summit of Mt. Dandenong as the night sky comes alive after sunset. With the spectacular carpet of Melbourne’s city lights below, Sky High and its surrounds is a great place for visitors to see the stars above. Less than an hour from Melbourne, visitors can also dine at Sky High's award winning bistro before or after an evening of stargazing. 26 Observatory Rd, Mount Dandenong.
Set amongst 400 million-year-old granite outcrops, the Koorooya State Park is the perfect place for a night of stargazing. Located 2.5 hours north-west of Melbourne between Inglewood and Wedderburn, the national park’s unique natural setting and flat plains below provides visitors uninterrupted views of stars all the way down to the earth’s visible curvature. Camp under the stars at Camp Kooyoora. 792 Brenanah - Whehla Road, Inglewood, 03 5438 3428
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