A focus on astronomy that combines the best of the terrestrial with the wonders of the celestial.
I have developed a real enthusiasm for astronomy ever since I got involved in Rakiura becoming a Dark Sky Sanctuary in 2019. Since then I have been reading, watching, absorbing and learning everything I can about the universe and gathering up equipment to support my addiction - of space.
We are getting to a point now that allows us to add astro-tourism to our business model. This is an activity that we want to promote for many reasons beyond the "business" model that it clearly meets. For us this will be like all other services we offer at Church Hill; a service based around something we enjoy ourselves. We love food, so make great food. Food that represents what the island offers and food that excites us to produce. We love hosting people, so built a lodge. Our lodge was an extension of the restaurant, where we took our personalised service around food, and added in accommodation. We love astronomy, so we will add upon our lodge and offer those wanting to take advantage of the dark skies a personalised setting to experience it in.
We see ourselves as being part of a growing world of astro-tourism. But, astro-tourism can be very weather dependent and you can travel a long way and never see anything, it can be cold, time consuming and remote. We understand that, and at some level that may be the "lot" of an astro-tourist. We see a different experience being possible. Oban township is very much the centre of the dark skies. You don't need to track up a mountain, or drive in the night until you reach a dark place, a place that as no facilities and you are there until your tour ends. A tour that is scheduled and not always reflective of the best viewing opportunities.
I'm not criticising anyone operating a service that offers an astronomical experience - in fact - it is to be encouraged. I'm merely wanting to make astronomy a mainstream holiday. What does that mean? it means astronomy is not an activity that is "available", but actually the whole focus. That is what AstronoMay will be in my mind. All the nice things we can offer orbiting about astronomy. After all, astronomers enjoy good food and comfortable beds too (we hope).
Until May comes, and the long nights are here, I will continue to grow my knowledge and share what I can. If you are interested in astronomy and want to know more feel free to contact as. This is the start of our journey into astro-tourism and our passion for space.
Please check out the Astro-tourism section of our website for details.