Best time to visit New Zealand

The Milky Way

Millions distant stars of the famous Milky Way paint starry rainbows over New Zealand's sky during winter nights

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Although clear summer and autumn skies are acknowledged as the most favorable for stargazing in New Zealand, the famous Milky Way is an exception. It is comprised of millions of ​stars, which are so far from the Earth that cannot be seen separately, but only as a faint starry arc-shaped light path which stretches from the north-east to south-east horizons.

Milky Way spotting over Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand 2020
Milky Way spotting over Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand
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Thus, the spectacle is the most impressive in winter when the starry blanket of the Milky Way is right above the head, away from the densely populated New Zealand's territories.

Milky Way above the Kaitake range. Okato, Taranaki, New Zealand 2020
Milky Way above the Kaitake range. Okato, Taranaki, New Zealand
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The Milky Way may be seen in Zealandia Ecosanctuary just outside Wellington. But the best places for stargazing are located further from the cities, in the Rakiura National Park on Stewart Island, the Aoraki National Park, around Mt John Observatory at Lake Tekapo, the Tongariro Crossing, and also in the Shakespear Regional Park, which is 45 minutes drive north of Auckland. Another curious option is to go night skiing at the Coronet Peak ski resort near Queenstown. The floodlights don't favor watching the stars while skiing, but on the way back to Queenstown down the slopes, the heavenly bodies will surely reveal themselves.