09 July, 2024

A Stargazer’s Guide to Exploring Tasmania’s Southern Skies

The Tassie landscape creates the perfect conditions for stargazing.

It's no surprise that stargazing enthusiasts journey to Tasmania to be mesmerised by dark skies and constellations. Renowned as a haven for nature lovers with its pristine landscapes, remote wilderness areas, and minimal light pollution, the Tassie landscape creates the perfect conditions for stargazing. So, whether you're an amateur astronomer or simply someone who loves gazing up on a starry night, here's what you need to know about shaping your next Tassie adventure around exploring the night sky.

Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake. Photo: Sean Scott Photography.

Setting sail under the stars

Begin your journey aboard the Spirit of Tasmania. Night sailings offer more than just a passage across the Bass Strait, it’s an uninterrupted stargazing experience onboard. As the Spirit of Tasmania sets sail into the darkness, be treated to the twinkling stars above. Far from the city lights, the night sky becomes a spectacle of its own—a perfect introduction for travellers to embark on a journey of astronomical discovery.

Key Locations for Stargazing

  • Lake St. Clair: Renowned for its clear skies and tranquil surroundings, the still waters of the lake provide stunning reflections of the night sky, creating a magical atmosphere for stargazing.

  • kunanyi/ Mount Wellington Summit: Just a short drive from Hobart, this summit offers panoramic views of the city and its surrounding landscapes. At an elevation of over 1,200 metres, the summit provides a stunning (yet chilly) vantage point for observing the southern skies. (Note: Hobart’s city glow may obscure the natural lights.)

  • Cradle Mountain: Another iconic Tasmanian destination, the area's remote location and low light pollution make it an ideal spot for stargazing. Visitors can embark on night walks around Dove Lake or simply find a quiet spot to admire the stars.

  • Bruny Island: Just a short ferry ride from the mainland, Bruny Island is a secluded escape from city lights. The island's rugged coastline and expansive beaches provide ample opportunities for stargazing. Visitors can relax on the beach and watch as the Milky Way stretches across the night sky.

Experience stargazing aboard Spirit of Tasmania

Discover endless night skies and download our stargazing guide by clicking below for an unforgettable astronomical adventure.

Learn More and Download Guide   


Beaker Street Festival - Nocturna. Photo: Rosie Hastie and Beaker Street.

See the Southern Lights: Aurora Australis

One of the most spectacular celestial phenomena visible from Tasmania is the Aurora Australis, or the Southern Lights — a natural light display caused by solar wind interacting with the Earth's magnetosphere. While sightings of the Aurora Australis are never guaranteed, Tasmania is home to the best spots for witnessing this mesmerising phenomenon. The best time to see the Southern Lights is during periods of high solar activity, typically during the equinoxes (March and September) and the winter months.

Tips for Stargazing in Tasmania

  • Visit During Winter: The best time of year for stargazing in Tasmania is during the southern hemisphere's winter months between June and August, but anywhere between February and October will be just as good. The winter nights are longer, darker, and clearer, meaning optimal conditions for stargazing.

  • Check the Weather: Before heading out for a night of stargazing, be sure to check the weather forecast. Clear skies are essential for optimal viewing conditions.

  • Dress Warmly: Tasmania's nights can be chilly, especially in the highlands. Dress in layers and wear warm clothing to stay comfortable during your stargazing adventure.

  • Bring Binoculars or a Telescope: While the naked eye can reveal much of the night sky's beauty, binoculars or a telescope can enhance your stargazing experience, allowing you to see distant stars, planets, and even galaxies in greater detail.

  • Use Astronomy Apps: There are several smartphone apps available that can help
    you identify constellations, planets, and other celestial objects visible from your location. Try Night Sky or Star Walk as a starting point.

Stargazing in Tasmania offers a magical experience for nature enthusiasts and astronomy lovers alike. With its pristine landscapes, minimal light pollution, and opportunities to witness the Aurora Australis, Tasmania is the perfect destination for exploring the southern skies. Whether you're gazing up from the shores of Lake St. Clair or atop the summit of Mount Wellington, the beauty of Tasmania's night sky will not disappoint.

Ready to start your stargazing adventure with us? Book a night sailing.

About Kirsten Banks

We recently welcomed Dr. Kirsten Banks on board Spirit of Tasmania to scout the best stargazing spots. With a PhD in astrophysics and Wiradjuri heritage, Kirsten offers a unique perspective.
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Tips and tricks to stargazing on Spirit of Tasmania


Information included in this blog is correct at the time of publishing. Please contact individual operators for further information.

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