Star Gazing Travel

This week’s we’re focussing on “Star Gazing.”  Get inspired by this image of the Arkaba Walk, Elder Camp, Flinders Rangers, SA – Wild Bush Luxury/ Great Walks of Australia.


Did you know there’s a “Stargazing for Dummies” book? Maybe I should get a copy. See dummies
I came across a Travel & Leisure article about 13 otherworldly destinations for star gazing – see article.
It got me thinking about star gazing, and reminded me of the exceptional experience I had in Cairns, Australia this April. We just pulled over the van one night to look at the sky
. I was astounded by the clarity, and the ease we could see the Milky Way – and the Big Dipper was upside down!  What a startling impression it made upon me when I first realized what I was seeing.
See For Southern Hemisphere dwellers who want to see the Big Dipper, you must go north of latitude 25 degrees South to see it in its entirety. Across the northern half of Australia, for instance, you can now just see the upside-down Dipper virtually scraping the northern horizon about an hour or two after sundown.  In fact, it’s the opposite effect as that observed by people who live in north temperate locations like New York. They see the Dipper at a similar altitude above the northern horizon on early evenings in late November or early December – except the Dipper appears right-side up!

Here’s a picture from Thala Beach Nature Reserve, Port Douglas, QLD that I can use as an Aussie specialist.

and you can see the celestial map of northern and southern starts here on

Of course, the less familiar constellations to me (including the Southern Cross) were a sight to behold. My photos didn’t come out (of course – I need to get a photography for dummies book too!), but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an incredible highlight, and totally unplanned, event.

And see The Milky Way, Sleaford Bay, SA by photographer John White in the Eyre Peninsula.

The T&L article I’ve mentioned above listed the following spots, and I’ll share some of them in my VAST section below – see vast. The 13 spots are:
1. Tenerife in Canary Islands,
2. Atacama Desert in Chile,
3. NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia,
4. Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand,
5. Kerry International Dark-Sky Reserve in Ireland
6. Mauna Kea in Hawaii
7. Nova Scotia, Canada
8. Jasper National Park in Canada
9. Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania
10. Galloway Forest Park in Scotland
11. Hovenweep National Monument in Utah and Colorado
12. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in Australia
13. Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Michigan
Kinda makes you want to get a telescope, and just go, doesn’t it?
Not surprisingly, many of these spots appear again in this article
And then there’s the Virtuoso article in the latest Virtuoso Traveler magazine that lists stellar summer vacations. Not surprizingly, Longitude 131 in Australia and Atacama in Chile are featured.
Let me know if you’d like to go.
Sheila Gallant-Halloran