8 OF THE BEST STARGAZING SPOTS WITHIN THREE HOURS OF PERTH
Perth and its surrounding areas are full of lakes, lookouts and open spaces that make them excellent stargazing locations.
Be it the Perth Observatory in the Hills or an iconic lake just south of Mandurah, there are tons of opportunities to get a glimpse at our starry skies – and even more spots if you’re stargazing throughout WA.
So once the sun sets, get yourself to one of these spectacular stargazing spots.
1. The Pinnacles Desert, Nambung
Nestled within the Nambung National Park, the iconic Pinnacles Desert near Cervantes is a brilliant place for stargazing thanks to its remote location, dark night sky and the unconventional shapes of the Pinnacles themselves. The shadows cast by these stones make for some fantastic astrophotography opportunities for beginners and experts alike.
Autumn and winter are particularly great seasons to go stargazing at the Pinnacles, as these are some of the best times of year to see the Milky Way and planets in the Southern Hemisphere.
2. Pelham Reserve, Toodyay
The clear night skies of Toodyay provide some incredible stargazing opportunities. The view from Pelham Reserve is an impressive one no matter the time of day – but at night, it’s a great spot to stargaze as it overlooks the town centre and surrounding farmland. Take a stroll along one of the reserve’s walking trails to find the perfect view of the night sky.
3. Scitech Planetarium, West Perth
If you’re eager to do some stargazing without sacrificing the creature comforts, a visit to Scitech’s interactive dome planetarium should be on the cards. This 18-metre long dome is kitted out with 6.1 surround sound and digital projection that’ll make you feel immersed in the starry night sky.
This option is particularly great for kids and young families who want to learn about Perth’s astrological make-up, as this produced full-dome show is interactive and provides plenty of context and handy information about constellations you’ll want to keep an eye out for. There are a range of Planetarium show times, so it’s best to check the schedule before booking your ticket.
4. Bald Hill, Avon Valley National Park
Just an hour out of Perth, this picturesque national park is an epic spot to view starry night skies. Bald Hill is a particularly great spot to set up for a night of stargazing – and if you’re keen to explore more of the park, there are plenty of camping spots ready to welcome you.
5. Perth Observatory, Bickley Valley
The Perth Observatory in the Bickley Valley is one of Perth’s most iconic stargazing locations. It’s also WA’s oldest observatory, and a great location for kids or budding astrophotographers thanks to its knowledgeable guides, exhibitions and helpful astrophotography pointers.
Hopping on the observatory’s night sky tour is the best way to explore the centre’s wide range of telescopes and museum exhibits. With help from the observatory volunteers, you’ll be able to view nebulas, dying stars, star clusters and a variety of planets in the Southern Hemisphere. The tours occur eight months out of the year at various times, so it’s best to check the schedule before planning your visit.
6. Lake Clifton, Yalgorup National Park
Lake Clifton is a great place to brush up on your astrophotography skills. This small lake is renowned for its thrombolites, which are some of the rarest living fossils on earth. Not only are these incredibly interesting to view up close, but they make a striking foreground for astrophotography from the banks of the lake.
If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the Southern Lights (or Aurora Australis) from this spot – or on moonless nights, you may be treated to an unspoiled view of the Milky Way.
7. Gravity Discovery Centre and Observatory, Gingin
Gingin is just far enough from Perth to escape the city’s light pollution – and the excellent Gingin Observatory is one of the town’s best stargazing locations. As part of the ‘Gravity Precinct’, the observatory contains a fully retractable roof, state of the art telescopes and useful astronomy information at its adjoining Gravity Discovery Centre.
Public night visits are offered on Friday and Saturday evenings, and there are also specialised Aboriginal Astronomy sessions where visitors can learn about Aboriginal astrological dream time stories with an Indigenous elder.
8. Lancelin Sand Dunes
The crystal white sands of the Lancelin Sand Dunes reflect the night sky and create a beautiful astrological illusion. This quaint town’s close proximity to Perth makes for a great day trip – or an overnight stay if you’re eager to get a glimpse at the stunning night sky.
Exploring the dunes at night can become a little disorienting, so be sure to bring a flashlight and navigation tools if you plan on stargazing in this fascinating location.
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