What does your tour involve?
Tekapo Star Gazing combines Tekapo's top two attractions, the amazing southern night sky and the relaxing hot pools. What you will see in the night sky will depend the moon’s cycle, and the time of the year and what weather is forcast.
Anytime of the year will have amazing prominent features. If the sky is clear (or even partially clear) you will see amazing stars, constellations, galaxies, and planets. If the sky is not visible at all, a fully guided indoor tour with the use of a high definition projector using high quality astro-photography, NASA videos and hi-tech sky-watcher software is used to conduct the tour.
Where is Tekapo Star Gazing situated?
Our Star Gazing tours are conducted within Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest dark sky reserve in the world which spans over 4300sq kilometers.
Tekapo Star Gazing main office is situated beside The Godley Hotel opposite the Challenge petrol station on State Highway 8 in the Tekapo Village. Tours are conducted in the relaxing hot pools and balcony of Tekapo Springs.
What if we can’t see the night sky? Will I get a refund?
If the sky is not visible because of weather, we will conduct an exciting indoor guided star tour utilising a large high definition projector. Guests will still get an astronomy / astrological / story telling tour, but with the use of high definition colour photos and 'out of this world' videos which you would not get to see through telescopes, we will even introduce you to our amazing telescopes too. Therefore, we do not offer refunds. Please refer to our terms and conditions and cancellation policy for more information.
I need to cancel my booking. What is your refund policy?
Full refunds are available up to 6 hours before the tour departure time. Please allow 5 working days for your refund to be received.
What if only part of the sky is visible? Will the tour still go on?
Yes, Star Gazing Tours will always go ahead despite the weather. Tours will utilise what parts of the night sky we can see even if there is cloud. Alternatively, Tekapo Star Gazing will conduct an indoor guided star tour with the use of a high definition projector if the sky is completely covered with cloud. You will still be introduced to our amazing telescopes too. Guests will still get the exclusive use of the hot pools with relaxing music.
How will I know if a tour has been cancelled?
It is very unlikely a tour will be cancelled due to weather, but if the unlikely happens, we will either call, text-message or email you if a tour is cancelled and endeavour to book you on the next available tour.
What time do the tours start?
Tour start times will depend on the time of year and when it gets dark enough to see the night sky. Please look at our booking calendar online for the date you are looking at booking a star gazing tour.
My child is almost six years old and wants to do the tour. Can they join us?
Unfortunately, for safety reasons we must set an age limit and we have endeavoured to keep it as low as possible. So no, unless your child is six years old or older they cannot come on one of our guided star gazing tours. We prefer to book families with younger children on the earliest tour of the evening. During the New Zealand School Holidays we sometimes set our earliest tour times for families. Check out the booking calendar for more details.
My child is a teenager, can he/she come on a later tour?
If your child (or teenager) is over 6 years old, then yes, they can join a later tour. We prefer families with multiple younger children to do the earliest tour available.
What should I wear on a Star Gazing Tour?
As the tours a mainly conducted outdoors we recommend wearing warm clothing such as a warm jacket, particularly over winter months. Over Winter we recommend wearing gloves, a warm hat, warm footwear and a jacket. During the winter months we have our open fire going to keep you cosy and warm too. Oh, and don't forget your swim wear and towel too!
What about the moon? Will it disrupt star gazing?
Not at all! The moon will lessen the brightness of more distant stars and objects but there will still be plenty to view. A bright moon also provides for a very close and interesting object to observe through the telescopes.
Am I able to purchase snacks and drinks?
Our cafe is open during the tour providing for light snacks and drinks, including hot, cold, snack items and non alcoholic and alcoholic beverages including tea, coffee and hot chocolate.
No, we are prohibited from having alcohol in our hot pools for health and safety and liquor licensing requirements. However, alcoholic drinks are available in our café area for consumption in our café and out on the dark-sky balcony.
What if I don’t want to go in the hot pools?
There is no strict requirement that you enter the pools as part of the tour although it is highly recommended. Alternatively, you can enjoy our café (and in winter enjoy our open fire) whist you wait for the shuttle back to the town center. Alternatively, if you drove yourself to the tour you are able to leave when it suits you.
Is there a place I can leave my belongings while in the pool?
Yes, we have lockable lockers just outside the change rooms and open cubbys /lockers next to the pools.
Do you rent swimwear and towels?
Yes, we can rent swimwear and towels but we need to know this when you book. If you have your own swimwear and towel, then please bring them.
Where does the tour start from and what time should I arrive?
If you are catching our free shuttle please checkin and meet at the Tekapo Star Gazing office (beside The Godley Hotel in Tekapo Village) 30mins before tour star time.
If you are self driving or walking to meet the tour at Tekapo Springs (6 Lakeside Drive), please checkin at the bottom of the driveway no later than 15mins before tour start time.
20. What if I’m late for the tour?
If you are late for the tour, the tour will proceed without you. If you are late we do not permit your to join the tour. We do not offer refunds for late arrivals so please ensure you are on time.
21. Do you offer pick-up in Tekapo for the tour?
Yes, If you require transport to and from Tekapo Springs and our town office, please book that option online or let our reception staff know when you make the booking.
22. Can I buy a gift voucher for a tour?
Yes, gift vouchers are available from our website or at our point of sale office in Lake Tekapo or at Tekapo Springs between normal 10am to 9pm operating hours.
23. What does the price of the tour include?
The price of a tour includes either a guided night sky tour, viewing of the night sky and its major features through our Celestron and Sky Watcher Telescopes (Dependant on weather conditions) OR an exciting indoor guided astronomical / astrological / story telling guided tour with the assistance of a large high definition projector followed by a soak in the hot pools where guides will continue to give information and story tell when requested. The Hot pool component of the tour will feature relaxing music with low red lighting, floating hammocks for you to relax in the water. Our café will be open for drinks and snacks throughout the tour too.
24. Do I need to know about astronomy to understand your tour?
No, our trained astronomy/Astrological guides will deliver a guided tour that will include some basic information on some of the closest and brightest features such as stars, planets, constellations, and galaxies. Guides will educate you about the mythology and cultural aspects of the night sky including navigation for Maori and European cultures. Our tours have an emphasis on story telling mixed with some fact and entertainment.
25. Can I share my photos online of the tour?
Yes, if this is not for commercial purposes. Please refer to our terms and conditions.
26. Can I video record the tour?
No, we do not allow customers to video our tours. Please refer to our terms and conditions.
27. Will you share photos online of the tour?
Yes. However, participation in a group photo is voluntary. We will post our group photos so all customers have access to them. Please see our terms and conditions.
28. Do you have different types of star gazing tours?
We have English and mandarin speaking tours that will entail, either utilizing the night sky and telescopes, OR utilising our high definition projector to give the same guided tour. Both options will go on to utilize the hot pools with relaxing astro music and lights out!
29. Are your tours in multiple languages?
We have English and Mandarin speaking tours.
30. Can I buy food and drinks on the tour?
Yes, our café and bar will be open for snacks and drinks including, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, coffee, and tea.
31. How long are we in the pools?
32. How deep are the pools?
1 meter deep.
33. What Temperature are the Pools?
Hot Pool Temperatures will range from 37 to 39 degrees depending on season and weather conditions.
34. What type of telescopes are you using?
We have two Celestron reflector 9.25 telescopes and a Sky Watcher refractor Esprit 120 Telescope. These are modern, GO TO telescopes.
35. How many people are on each tour?
36. Can I stay in the café after my tour has ended?
Customers are welcome to buy a takeaway hot drink or snack on their way out. However as there will be another tour starting, we ask that customers please vacant the premise and catch their shuttle back to Tekapo Star Gazing’s office or their transport home.
37. Can I bring my camera to shoot astrophotography?
Watch this space. We will be setting up and astro photography option.
38. Will there be someone there that can help me photograph the stars?
Watch this space.
39. How long is the tour?
Our actual tours are 2 hours long. This time allows for our guided outdoor OR indoor portion of 40 minutes, time for you then to get changed into swimwear and enjoy the pools for 40 minutes and time to get a drink or a snack.