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General Astronomy => General Astronomy & Observing => Topic started by: Roberto Betancourt on December 24, 2017, 07:45:13 PM

Title: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: Roberto Betancourt on December 24, 2017, 07:45:13 PM
Wish I had the time and funds to visit both but I don't, so your remarks are welcome.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: keylozelbou on December 30, 2017, 02:23:04 PM
def NZ

we have some of the best skies in the southern hemisphere.

South Island and come when in our autumn or winter when the nights are long and dark ..

We get some icy nights and the skies are just amazing

When your not observing theres loads to see and do

Great friendly tourist destination too

We have the amazing Mount John observatory too at Tekapo

Observing at night and ski/hotpools during the day
​Can't be beat
​get booking - I can help if you need some contacts

Cheers

Simon
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: belmadeasus on December 30, 2017, 06:09:28 PM
I'd choose NZ for the scenery in the daytime and stargaze all night. Sleep on the plane home.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: adpotabza on December 31, 2017, 04:39:34 AM
NZ is farther south, easier to get around in (being small), and lacks any venomous animals. I imagine the interior of Australia might be more predictably clear, but parts of the South Island are pretty dry and clear too.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: bumabbefat on January 03, 2018, 03:08:32 PM
Yep, NZ all the way

Not to disrespect Australia, but it is soooo large to get around in !
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: Dan Square on January 04, 2018, 05:09:22 PM
As much as I'd love to visit New Zealand, I have visited Australia twice to observe the Southern Skies. Just get in touch with these people:

https://www.facebook...05663&pnref=lhc (https://www.facebook.com/OzSkyStarSafari/?timeline_context_item_type=intro_card_work&timeline_context_item_source=1358905663&pnref=lhc)

Both times I spent a week in a dark site observing the Southern Skies with scopes up to 30" provided by the Aussies and then a week in Sydney seeing the sights. Went once in April and once in October and saw all of the sky.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: inmactoopho on January 04, 2018, 06:02:12 PM
very hard to loose out with either country with those dark southern skies
I went to NZ-wonderful country, wonderful skies, wonderful people
Australia probably just as nice, but different

I judged the choice on how to get around, options of where to stay and observe

wish I lived there,
edj
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: vojbuohautes on January 10, 2018, 04:44:28 PM
Which month has the best chance for clear skies in NZ? Every time I look at it on satellite seems to be covered in clouds coming up from the South Pole. It's on my bucket list, if I was 40 years younger I would probably never leave once there according to my kiwi friends.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: Jerome Fountain on January 11, 2018, 12:18:15 PM
"The Red Centre" AU for sure. NEVER been under a darker sky. Too bad I wasn't into AP back then.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: Shane Proulx on January 11, 2018, 04:22:56 PM
I realized a long time ago that I'm very unlikely to go to every place I'd like to. You're sure to have a great adventure in either country. So, don't worry about what you're missing in the other place and just dive into which ever you pick.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: Nathan Harper on January 12, 2018, 05:54:47 AM
Ozsky's web site has better information.

http://www.ozsky.org/ (http://www.ozsky.org/)
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: presalacder on January 12, 2018, 07:27:01 AM
Quote
As much as I'd love to visit New Zealand, I have visited Australia twice to observe the Southern Skies. Just get in touch with these people:

https://www.facebook...05663&pnref=lhc (https://www.facebook.com/OzSkyStarSafari/?timeline_context_item_type=intro_card_work&timeline_context_item_source=1358905663&pnref=lhc)

Both times I spent a week in a dark site observing the Southern Skies with scopes up to 30" provided by the Aussies and then a week in Sydney seeing the sights. Went once in April and once in October and saw all of the sky.

Some people have all the luck...
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: Kapil Majmudar on January 12, 2018, 06:03:49 PM
+1 for NZ. Easier to manage/get around on. Nothing against Ozzieland, mind you. A no-lose proposition, if you ask me...

STARKID2U
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: caenalfosen on January 12, 2018, 06:07:36 PM
The biggest plus to the Ozsky option is that they provide the telescopes (up to 30") and will assist you in finding objects. They also provide a place to stay at the observing site. They are just a few miles away from Siding Springs Observatory and the area has strict light pollution regulations.

I studied charts and used computer planetarium programs for months leading up to the trips. But when the sun went down, I was totally disoriented and felt lost. Thankfully the Aussies gave us a guided tour of the best objects to see. I can't recommend them highly enough. Also it's far enough south to see all the way down to the Southern Cross. You don't really gain anything going farther south to NZ.

At least one of our group only stayed for the week of observing and flew right back to the states. No reason you couldn't spend a week in NZ seeing the sights and a week in Oz observing the night sky.

Getting to the observing site (Coonabarabran) is not a problem. You can rent a car in Sydney and drive or you can catch a train to take you about 2/3 of the way and then rent a car for the short hop.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: obenanus on January 13, 2018, 01:50:24 AM
LOL - You guys really aren't helping at all!

the consensus seems to be New Zealand but Don goes and posts all that info about the Australian site and I can't make up my mind. Although honestly I am leaning towards Australia. This is mostly an astro voyage, not a general tourist kind of deal. As per my first post, I wish I could afford the time and money to see both places, but I can't.

Seriously, thanks to all for the info and advice, I appreciate it.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: ceusesugua on January 13, 2018, 07:46:11 AM
As you say, it's mostly an astro voyage. That's why I'm so high on Ozsky. They provide the telescopes, dark sky and a place to stay and eat. What more do you need. During the day there are a lot of interesting things to see in the area. Again the Aussie hosts will guide you.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: safrioheartli on January 14, 2018, 06:03:32 AM
Great Barrier Island to the northeast of Auckland has just been recognized as an international dark sky sanctuary. Here is a link:https://www.stuff.co...k-sky-sanctuary (https://www.stuff.co.nz/science/95959306/great-barrier-island-recognised-as-a-dark-sky-sanctuary)
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: Malcolm Verano on January 15, 2018, 07:54:47 PM
it is a cheap flight across the ditch too
And we have the dark skies of Lake Tekapo ..

do both
I'd be happy to host you an evening at CAS too if your passing through
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: scenunhadef on January 16, 2018, 11:21:52 PM
Quote
LOL - You guys really aren't helping at all!

.............. This is mostly an astro voyage, not a general tourist kind of deal................

Looking back 13 years to my trip (NZ),
my memories of the country are every bit as positive, and enjoyable, as those of the sky.
For my wife and I this was THE trip of a lifetime.

edj
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: holdfontrosci on January 17, 2018, 01:38:00 AM
If the sole purpose is astronomy, it's a no-brainer. Australia, with its vast desert, has a much more favorable climate for astronomy than New Zealand, which is basically a temperate-humid climate similar to Northern Europe or the Eastern U.S. Think Australia = New Mexico and New Zealand = New York. If you were visiting the U.S. for astronomy, would you pick New York or New Mexico? The question is ludicrous.

Having said that, New Zealand is full of microclimates, and some of them are reasonably dry and uncloudy. (Others are exceedingly wet!) And the best parts of Australia for astronomy are a pretty long trip from Sydney, which is almost certainly where your international flight will dump you.

As for other aspects of the trip, they're both pretty interesting places, well worth visiting in their own right. New Zealand packs a startling variety of spectacular scenery into a very small, easily traveled area. Think of it as a combination of Alaska, Hawaii, and England, all within a few hours travel. Getting around Australia, by contrast, takes forever. You are, after all, comparing a small country to an (admittedly small) continent.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: vicareeti on January 17, 2018, 11:20:40 PM
Coonabarabran is 250 miles NW of Sydney. It's a day's travel whether by train or car. It's well worth the trip.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: Jacob Hernandez on January 18, 2018, 12:25:43 AM
OzSky Spring Safari is on in ten days time..... you better be getting packed by now......

Don, sounds like you should be heading down this way too.
By the way, there is a reason why half of all New Zealanders now live in Australia.....
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: vertcalnorsdef on January 18, 2018, 01:04:47 AM
I grew up in the South Island of NZ, and the skies of Central Otago and inland Canterbury are as good as anywhere I've been. Those regions are fairly dry, and shielded from much of the cloud and rain by the Southern Alps mountain range. You'll still probably have more clear days in the Australian desert, but as folks have pointed out, it's much easier to get around NZ, and there's no shortage of places to explore when you're not stargazing.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: ticploodunghen on January 21, 2018, 01:24:33 AM
I'm sure NZ is a beautiful place to visit. But for an observing trip, it can't compare to the conveniences that Ozsky provides. They have two or more events every year.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: liomocharla on January 23, 2018, 07:29:37 AM
Quote
By the way, there is a reason why half of all New Zealanders now live in Australia.....

Raising the IQ of both countries!
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: lorndwatassi on January 23, 2018, 12:39:16 PM
Thanks to all for your input. The few days available have decided me on the more reliable weather of Australia but I'll visit New Zealand some other day as time and funds permit.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: Ryan Wilton on January 25, 2018, 12:36:52 PM
Quote
Great Barrier Island to the northeast of Auckland has just been recognized as an international dark sky sanctuary. Here is a link:https://www.stuff.co...k-sky-sanctuary (https://www.stuff.co.nz/science/95959306/great-barrier-island-recognised-as-a-dark-sky-sanctuary)

Nice but what's with the orange skyglow near the horizon in these pics? It's visible in shots from some other places too and I always wonder what it is. The fact they are dark sky sanctuaries or whatever would seem to rule out urban light pollution but I can't figure what else it could be. Anyone know?
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: alssysenar on January 25, 2018, 12:38:51 PM
Quote
Quote
By the way, there is a reason why half of all New Zealanders now live in Australia.....

Raising the IQ of both countries!
Having employed about 30 Kiwis until my retirement, that statement is half right..... but the average IQ of Oz certainly did not go up........ Ewe Kiwis sure are a funny lot
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: afelfillia on January 26, 2018, 12:53:44 AM
Quote
Thanks to all for your input. The few days available have decided me on the more reliable weather of Australia but I'll visit New Zealand some other day as time and funds permit.


If you end up in the Canberra region feel free to send me a PM, always happy to take the 18" and the TEC Mak to a dark location..
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: bullgidava on January 30, 2018, 01:14:02 AM
https://www.stuff.co...like-stargazing (https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/destinations/nz/96569212/where-to-go-if-you-like-stargazing)
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: nonbuysalcho on January 31, 2018, 01:41:44 AM
Been to both and I would sugggest that you make the decision on the time of year you are going, which brings in which part of Aus. TNQ+NT tend to have Wet and Dry seasons - wet = cloud. NZ weather seems to be temperate and has the classic 4 seasons.

What is the intention other then astronomy when there? If driving city to city then NZ owing to the smaller size, if just one place or area then Aus. Just be aware that Brisbane Qld capital) and Cairns in Qld are a 1.5 hour flight apart. Distances are US style.

I would pick on what the possibilities are other then astronomy and observing as it appears that you have the chance to go and would like to fit in a decent amount of observing at the same time. Work on the basis that you should get clear weather 2/3 of the nights so observing - if you have the equipment - should not be a great problem.

Myself I would go for Aus. But that is for non-astro reasons - cities, driving, landscape, I like them.

If the idea is sort of visit Brisbane, visit Cairns then expect flights or get the train. Basically city to city means a flight and that takes out more or less a day.

My weather at either was "not great". In NZ north of Auckland it was the only place I have ever had to stop and pull over owing to the sheer qualtity of rainthat descended. In Aus I was in Cairns Qld in '95 which was the wettest August (dry season) in record. I will never forget the radio announcement:

"Today is August 14th, and we have just equalled the rainfall for the wettest August on record, and we still have 17 days to go."

And yes it rained for the next 17 days. Made some of the "dry" waterfalls spectacular however.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: rotenoter on January 31, 2018, 06:17:55 AM
Quote
Thanks to all for your input. The few days available have decided me on the more reliable weather of Australia but I'll visit New Zealand some other day as time and funds permit.

You have probably made the right choice if you don't have a lot of vacation time up your sleeve. Weather-wise, most of the observing sites you'd be likely to visit in NZ are pretty hit-and-miss much of the time.

Enjoy your Southern Sky sightseeing!
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: tingperbeachfnar on January 31, 2018, 12:38:30 PM
I have an Uncle and several friends who go to OzSky every couple years. Seeing the pics they bring back and the stories they tell makes me drool with envy. Having never seen the southern sky beyond -25 DEC, I'd welcome the help and tours to seeing some of their wonderful jewels down there.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: spicomgeovio on February 02, 2018, 02:29:02 PM
Quote
I have an Uncle and several friends who go to OzSky every couple years. Seeing the pics they bring back and the stories they tell makes me drool with envy. Having never seen the southern sky beyond -25 DEC, I'd welcome the help and tours to seeing some of their wonderful jewels down there.

Right now I plan to contact these guys and a couple others.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: Michael Timmons on February 02, 2018, 05:06:51 PM
Sure.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: Daniel Johnson on February 02, 2018, 05:47:56 PM
Looks like maybe, just maybe, I can swing a whole extra week of vacation. If I can rebudget to include more travel is New Zealand worth visiting for such a short time or am I better to just get in more nights in Australia? If it is feasible where is the best place in New Zealand to be for observing? This time round I am willing to skip the terrestrial scenery in favor of the sky. Maybe some other day I'll have time and money for a normal vacation in New Zealand.

Thanks again all.
Title: Re: Australia or New Zealand for an observing vacation?
Post by: gimartutin on February 09, 2018, 09:11:56 AM
Quote
Looks like maybe, just maybe, I can swing a whole extra week of vacation. If I can rebudget to include more travel is New Zealand worth visiting for such a short time or am I better to just get in more nights in Australia? If it is feasible where is the best place in New Zealand to be for observing? This time round I am willing to skip the terrestrial scenery in favor of the sky. Maybe some other day I'll have time and money for a normal vacation in New Zealand.

Thanks again all.

In my opinion you should focus on completing any observing bucket list you may have while you're in Australia, then just see what you can see while you're in NZ. Australia has locations guaranteed to give you a good percentage of clear skies, whereas the same can't be said of anywhere you're likely to observe from in NZ.*

Have a great time wherever you go.

*There are one or two reliably clear dark sky sites in NZ, but they aren't easily accessible.