Astronomy in Northland


Busy start to 2023

First we start with a hunt for meteorites resulting from the November 2022 northland fireball. After analysing eye witness reports and CCTV footage the international research teams have determined the most likely strewn field (landing site) is west of Dargaville.

We are keen for as many people as possible to register for the official search on Saturday February 25th (postponed from earlier due to weather), and if successful this will be only the 10th meteorite recovered in New Zealand. This will be an organised search of the roads, paddocks and hillsides in the predicted strewn field (landing sites). 

No prior experience required, come join the community on the hunt for meteorites that help us understand the formation of our solar system and much more.

Then we host local tourism and attraction operators on Feb 16 for a guided famil tour. If you are part of this group please contact us for registration details.

Saturday February 18th we start our 2023 public tours with an open day (koha entry) and invite everyone to see our new exhibits and future plans for the planetarium. 

Our regular public program then starts on February 25th, with schools, community groups and private bookings starting in Term 2 (April 24th).

Regular events...

Should I still book if cloudy?

Absolutely, telescopes are offered at the end of the planetarium tour as a bonus however even on a perfect night we can only show you a few celestial features before the cold makes you uncomfortable.  

When does the tour start?

7pm sharp, late admission is not possible!  The planetarium is artificially darkened for you to see the full celestial sphere above, arriving late means you will not be dark adapted like the other visitors, and it will disturb their viewing.

Is Parking available?

Yes, enter at Gate 1 and use the carpark for the Kiwi North / Whangarei Museum. A short walk up past the Native Bird Recovery Centre will bring you to the planetarium and observatory.  Please keep torches low and turn off as you get to our facility to protect the night sky for those viewing the stars.

Cancellations and Postponing

If you need to postpone or cancel your booking please contact us by 1pm on the tour date. 

We aim for a minimum of 6 persons per public tour, maximum capacity is 24.  If there are insufficient bookings, staff illness or miserable weather on a given night we may cancel the tour before 3pm. 

Note, often cloud comes and goes and while it might impact the optional telescopes this isn't causing interruption to our main planetarium programme.

2022 Guidelines

We have updated our conditions of entry for the evening public program for everyone's safety and enjoyment, namely

  • Maximum 24 passengers per tour.  We have 24 seats, nobody on the floor.
  • Recommended age 8+, no pre-school or infants during public tours*
  • Bookings essential, event cancellation policy is below
  • No light-up shoes or white flashlights in the planetarium or observatory, thanks.

* Unfortunately our experience of running planetarium tours for over 10 years is that the evening program is not suitable to under 5s. We are happy to accommodate junior groups and in 2023 we plan to run a special juniors event on the same day as the Heritage Park mini-trains (3rd Sundays). 

Our facility includes the Planetarium, club room and Observatory where we can host groups of up to 100 people. Only the observatory with our professional telescopes is weather dependent, everything else we offer in our tours can function even when the Sun is out or the clouds are about.