Astro Tourism

The night skies are not always clear on Rakiura, but when they are, it is worth the wait!


Astronomy and Astrophotography

As a Dark Sky Sanctuary, Rakiura offers wonderful views of the night skies with no need to travel long distances from the township to undertake observations.

Guests at Church Hill lodge are welcome to share our passion for the night skies and if conditions allow star gazing can be incorporated in your time with us.

As the conditions for astronomy are not under our control we stay fluid with astronomical options on any given evening.

We welcome any forward enquiries to help meet astronomers needs. The more we know about what you want, the better we can cater to your needs. 


Astronomy Facilitation

As an ongoing commitment to astronomy we would like to acknowledge that other options for astronomy do exist on Rakiura. We hope that any persons visiting the island with a keen interest in astronomy find the activities that best match their plans.

Even if Church Hill is not part of your visit we are happy to assist you where we can.

Enjoy the stars and remember; Astronomy is something best enjoyed when it is shared with others.

Essay Series

If you are new to astronomy, or just enjoy reading about the Universe, and want to understand a bit more about the Universe and our view of it then feel free to read the following essays we have produced.

They are simple essays written in a creative non-fiction style designed to give the basic information regarding their subject.


Series 1 - Basics of Astronomy

These essays are about things we observe in our Universe and a few basics about undertaking astronomy


Pacifica Astronomy - Matariki

Our Universe

Our Solar System


The Moon

Deep Space


Dark Skies 


Series 2 - Life 

This series of essays discuss some of my personal views on life, and how it relates to the Universe and our beliefs and faith. They are written to make you think about other aspects of the Universe and not just about information.

Life Part One

Life Part Two

Life Part Three



Astronomy Equipment

10" Dobsonian telescope. It is on a GOTO mount that assists in finding those night sky objects we are trying to observe. 

Unistellar eVscope Digital Telescope that gives us the ability to both observe and record the night skies. This is a great piece of equipment and something that is both fun and educational. It has a vast database of objects and will suggest the best to see at any time. As operators of an eVscope telescope we are part of the planetary defence program run in conjunction with SETI.

Orion 6" f/12 Maksutov-Cassegrain GoTo Telescope. This is a compact telescope with a focal length of 1800mm which is good for observations of the Moon, planets and deep space objects.

Sky-Watcher 70/500 Solar Scope with a SOLARQUEST mount. This is a simple to use scope that is designed to observe the Sun. You can see sun spots that can be as large as the Earth. If we are lucky we can see transits of planets passing the sun or maybe a solar eclipse. 

We also have a range of barlows, eyepieces and coloured, UV/IR cut and moon filters to enhance the viewing experience.

50 x 10 binoculars that are great at exploring the vastness of space. Binoculars give an excellent view of the many stars that the eye can not quite see while allowing the viewer a large field of view. Sitting back and looking up is fun in is own right, and only adds to the experience of looking deeper into the vastness of space.


My personal interest is strongly focused towards photography. The joy of capturing images that I can enjoy and share over and over is very addictive. We have a QHY5-III485 Colour CMOS camera that can be used with the Dob telescope to capture images or for group display on a large screen.

We have an iOptron SkyGuide Pro mount that can hold your camera and track the objects you want to photograph allowing for long exposure times and improved image quality.

If you want to capture some images using your own camera we have an adaptor for Canon and Nikon cameras that can enable them to be used with the Dobsonian telescope and the solar scope.

We also have a selection of astronomy books that are available to read from our in-house library. These range from pictorial guides to the universe through to detailed storytelling about the moon, planets, stars, and the science of the universe.



We would like to acknowledge the support we have been given by ASTRONZ.

If you are wanting to get information or advice on Astronomy equipment then visit the ASTRONZ website.