Astronomy in Northland
Mid winter welcomes Matariki
The shortest day has come and gone and we now eargerly await the rising of Matariki in the dawn sky.
This year we official mark the day on July 14th with a free community celebration at the Hundertwasser Art Museum in the town basin at 6am. With the later date this year we hope to clearly see Puanga and hopefully even the cluster of Matariki as well.
Our public tours for Matariki from June 24 to July 22 are fully funded by the generous sponsorship of the Whangarei District Council Venues and Events. Book early as seats are filling quick.
Many school and community groups are also booking to coincide with the Matariki season and the earlier sunset. Winter is the ideal time to enjoy the stars with the Milky Way overhead and so much to see.
Public events are below, if you would like a private booking at another time please contact us.
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.
Note, often cloud comes and goes and while it might impact the optional telescopes this isn't causing interruption to our main planetarium programme.
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.