Space: Church Hills final frontier

The Milky Way from the lawn

Over the past few weeks I have been taking every opportunity to get out and see the night skies of Rakiura. When it is not good viewing I have been reading and writing to develop my knowledge of the stars and what they mean to me and others.

I enjoyed sharing my toys with a lodge guest and Lily from the South Seas who wandered past and was as fascinated as myself. Together we worked our way around the skies and I got to practise the banter I will require if I'm to be a star-guide. There is so much to see and learn so it is like being a kid in a lolly shop.

We have spent some money to give us the equipment we need to enjoy the night skies and my growing passion for astrophotography means there will be something to show for my hours standing in the dark. I hear kiwis moving about in the bushes as I look to the heavens, and even though I'm only on my front lawn, I feel as remote us being far from civilisation. I don't know if you could find another town that has the potential of Oban when it comes to viewing dark skies (weather dependent I must add).

It is wonderful to have the opportunity to experience dark skies from your own home. I don't have to lug gear up a mountain and sit in the cold waiting for the right moment. I can walk inside, protecting my night vision that is, and go to the toilet, or get a drink, or even give up all together and be in bed within 15 minutes. If you stay here that would be shortened to 2 minutes.

As a newcomer I'm not claiming to be the best astronomer in the world, or even on Rakiura, but I'm keen (I always think that counts for a lot), ready to share what I know, and learn what you want to share.

If you are reading this and fancy a bit of amateur astronomy then I'm happy to talk. If you are a very keen astronomer and think you would enjoy sharing your knowledge then that would also be great.

There are a few astro-tourism activities on Rakiura and something that will only grow as more people discover that Rakiura is not hard to get to, and the dark skies we have been accredited for, are very accessible. We can't control the weather but we can control the darkness.

As we develop our astro-tourism activities I will do more posts and update our website with how it fits with staying at Church Hill. As a business we always strive to be as good as we can be. Astronomy will not be any different; if things go to plan then seeing the stars will be as great as our food, as comfortable as our lodge, and as friendly as we know how to be.

Check out our Astro Tourism section for more information.

Posted by Deanne & Chris on December 10, 2021