Earth & Sky Lake Tekapo

From NZ$99 per adult

Earth & Sky Lake Tekapo

Experience the wonders of the universe with Earth & Sky. Join one of the famous Night-time Observatory Tours at one of two dedicated locations in the heart of the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.  

Visit the World’s Southern most optical research facility, with tours at Mt. John University Observatory and Cowan’s Observatory on offer, you’ll have plenty of programs to choose from.  Let Earth & Sky sweep you up in the excitement. Earth & Sky are all about learning and sharing their enthusiasm for the universe, and the science that gets us there.

Based in Lake Tekapo Earth & Sky endeavour to provide both education and fun for those learning about the stars and our place in the universe!  

Activity Options

Mt. John Observatory Tour

Join Earth & Sky on the famous observatory tour on Mt John!

  •  See the wonders of the southern night sky, and experience the thrill of peering through powerful telescopes!
  • When the stars are hidden from view, take a journey to discover the nocturnal world of an astronomer
  • See huge research equipment that is out-of-bounds to the general public and experience the wonders of astronomy!

*Please note this tour is not suitable for children under 8 years old.

Mt. John Twilight Tour (Summer)

Take in the stunning view from Mt John as the Sun submerges below the Southern Alps.

  • You will have a chance to visit one of New Zealand’s largest research telescopes and explore behind the scenes, as astronomers begin operations for the evening.
  • After, enjoy a delicious treat in the Astro-Café then join Earth & Sky outside to peer through telescopes and explore the darkening sky.  This tour has something for everyone!

*Please note this tour is not suitable for children under 8 years old.

‘Little Star’ Tour (Winter)

See the stunning Lake Tekapo winter skies! The earliest winter-time tour, kept short and fun to keep out frost-bite!

  • This new tour is proving popular on those freezing winter nights – slightly shorter than the regular tours, but still full of stars and fun.
  • Head up Mt. John by coach as the stars are coming out, enjoy a hot-chocolate to keep warm while gazing at the stars.
  • Your knowledgeable guides will provide an explanation of what you see above and through the telescopes.

*Please note this tour is not suitable for children under 5 years old.

Family Tour (Winter)

Treat for the whole family! Early tour ideally suited for those with children under 10 years old. A brief introduction to astronomy presented with short attention-spans in mind!

  • This tour will usually run during New Zealand school holidays, and is a fun learning experience for your young astronomers!
  • Catch the bus up to Mt John, take a peek at NZ’s largest telescope as the astronomers prepare for the night’s observing, then come and take a look through the telescope and depending on the season, maybe spot some stars or even a planet!
  • The children even receive their own (somewhat) astronomy-themed goodie bag to take away!
  • As it doesn’t get dark until very late in summertime, this tour is often scheduled much earlier. This means it may not be dark while you’re visiting, but it does mean the family can keep to a regular bed-time.

Cowan’s Observatory Tour

Perfect for those on a limited budget or those who don’t wish to stay up too late.

  • Allow one of the astronomy guides to introduce you to the various gems of the southern night sky using the telescopes at a dark, sheltered, nearby location.

*Please note this tour is not suitable for children under 5 years old.

Mt John’s Observatory Day Tour

Drive or walk up to the summit of Mt John and enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Mackenzie Country.

  • Take a tour of New Zealand’s largest telescope, where Kiwi and Japanese scientists conduct cutting edge gravitational microlensing research to hunt for new planets!
  • If it is clear you might also be able to safely look at the sun using our special solar telescope.
  • Afterwards, treat yourself to something special in the ultra-modern glass cafe overlooking the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo.

Departure Times

  • Mt. John Observatory Tour: subject to sunset time
  • Mt. John Twilight Tour: subject to sunset time, summer only
  • ‘Little Star’ Tour: subject to sunset time, winter only
  • Family Tour: subject to sunset time, winter only
  • Cowan’s Observatory Tour: subject to sunset time
  • Mt. John Observatory Day Tour: on demand between 12.00 pm & 3.00 pm daily


  • Mt. John Observatory Tour: 2 hours (approx.)
  • Mt. John Twilight Tour: 2 hours (approx.)
  • ‘Little Star’ Tour: 1 hour 20 mins (approx.)
  • Family Tour: 1 hour 20 mins (approx.)
  • Cowan’s Observatory Tour: 1 hr 15 mins (approx.)
  • Mt. John Observatory Day Tour: 30 mins (approx.)


Earth & Sky is located on State Highway 8, Lake Tekapo