stargazing in wairarapa

Star Safari is in Wairarapa, a region renowned for its pristine night skies and designated as a Dark Sky Reserve in December 2022.

Nestled in the heart of this celestial paradise, Star Safari Observatory, 1169 Ponatahi Road, is perched atop a magnificent hill that offers a breathtaking panorama of Wairarapa’s Eastern Hills.

View of Star Safari stargazing looking south. Photo taken on the 11th of May 2024.

This idyllic location not only provides unobstructed views of the sky but also is one of the most easily accessible dark sky locations in the region. We constantly measure how dark our sky is with a TESS-W dark sky meter and find out that it is routinely reading one of the darkest measurements in New Zealand.

This is a live preview from our dark sky meter, the reading is in magnitudes per square arc second. This gives an indication of how dark the sky can be. 

Our peak darkness at Star Safari has been 21.86. If the meter shows “0”, it means it is daytime. 

How to get here

Within Wairarapa, Star Safari is approximately a 10 minute drive from Martinborough and 15 minutes from Carterton.

Star Safari is an accessible escape into the wonders of the universe, free from light pollution that comes with a big cities.  
– From Wellington city, it is approximately a 1 hour and 40 minutes drive.
– From Palmerston North, it is approximated a 1 hour and 30 minutes drive.

When you book a Star Safari ticket, we will send detailed instructions on how to get to our observatory.

Whitimanuka Retreat

If you have yet to come here, Whitimanuka Retreat is a fabulous place right on the farm we are operating from.

Whitimanuka Retreat is a stunning place on Glen Eden Farms.

Book The Whitimanuka Retreat.

The Venus Room

The Venus room is a private suite in the heritage-listed home ‘Glendower’, within walking distance from Star Safari. 
Book the Venus Room on Airbnb

In Greytown,

SUITE 22 is on 22 Main Street, Greytown. Suitable for couples wanting a little romance with their stargazing. Includes a private outside bath for moon bathing. Book Suite 22 

The White Swan Hotel has 13 fabulous boutique suites and garden rooms available. Located right in the centre of Greytown and just 15 minutes from Martinborough Wine Village, The White Swan is in the heart of the Wairarapa – the perfect place to base yourself for some time away. Book here.

In Martinborough

The Martinborough Hotel has twenty beautiful rooms, each unique. You can make yourself at home in the original 1882 building in one of our nine Heritage Suites or Rooms or at the Petit Hotel Suites adjacent to the main Hotel. Book here.

333 on Grey is an AirBNB centrally located brand-new townhouse within easy walking distance of the square and its cafes and restaurants. It is beautifully decorated with expansive decking and outdoor furniture. Book here.

In Featherston

The “Fabulous Featherston Home” awaits. Fully kitted, clean and quiet 3-bedrooms / 5-beds house sleeps up to 8 guests. It is child-friendly, air-conditioned and fully fenced. Book here.

From Wellington 

  • Capital Tours
    Capital Tours organises overnight Star Safari tours with transportation from Wellington to Martinborough and back, one-night accommodation, a 2-course set menu dinner and Breakfast at the Martinborough Hotel and Cheese Tasting. 

Call John on +64 21 280 2406 or check out their website.

From Martinborough

  • Claremont Cabs
    Claremont Cabs provides a safe and reliable shuttle/taxi service based in Martinborough. Available 7 Days

 Call 06 306 9162 or [email protected] 

What to wear

Even though Wairarapa might be famous for its hot summers, at night, our temperatures can drop. Please make sure you have warm layers and jackets with you. Also, having a warm hat and gloves, if needed, will ensure you are comfortable on our tours.

The observatories at Star Safari are located on a gravel road. The paths around the observatory and viewing platforms are also gravel.  

Visiting Wairarapa

You will find excellent information on the Destination Wairarapa website about planning your visit. Destination Wairarapa is the Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) for the Wairarapa.

Wairarapa is one of the best places for stargazing in New Zealand

special occasions

Are you ready to experience a one-of-a-kind celebration that will take your breath away? Look up to the stars and witness the breathtaking beauty of Wairarapa's night sky.

Our Celestial Escapades offer an exclusive opportunity to celebrate under the stars in a way that you will never forget. Take time to appreciate the wonder and awe that nature has to offer. Let the stars ignite your imagination and fill your heart with inspiration.

With each twinkle in the sky, you will be reminded that anything is possible. So, gather your loved ones and embark on a magical journey with us. Create memories that will last a lifetime with our Celestial Escapades experience. The universe is waiting for you - let's celebrate together!