Starry nights in South Australia are a sight to behold.
From the Outback to the beach, star-filled skies blanket South Australia come nightfall. The best part? You don’t need to wish upon a star for a twinkling spectacular… You just need our guide to the best spots to stargaze in South Australia, guaranteed to leave stars in your eyes.
1. ARKAROOLA INTERNATIONAL DARK SKY Sanctuary
As South Australia’s first and only International Dark Sky Sanctuary, Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary has front row seats to one of the most spectacular light shows on earth. An International Dark Sky Sanctuary differs from a Dark Sky Reserve (such as our Murray River International Dark Sky Reserve), in that it is situated in a very remote location with no nearby threats of light pollution. Located deep within the South Australian desert, Arkaroola’s accreditation as a Dark Sky Sanctuary is one of 18 in the world, and second within Australia – making it one of the best places to see quality starry nights in the Southern Hemisphere. With camping and caravan facilities, rooms available at Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary and many astronomy tours – including a ridgetop sleep out - plan a weekend with the stars knowing that during daylight hours, there are 63,000 hectares of rugged Australian bush to explore, abound with wildlife and adventure. Make sure you jump on a tour at the observatory for a close-up look at distant galaxies and the milky way using impressive professional telescopes.
2. River MurraY INTERNATIONAL DARK SKY RESERVE
A sea of stars will welcome you to one of the darkest, clearest skies in South Australia at the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve, a 1.5 hour drive from Adelaide. Tucked just 90 minutes’ drive from Adelaide on the banks of the Murray River, starry solitude awaits stargazers with low rainfall, clear skies and virtually no light pollution creating the perfect conditions to explore the cosmos. The only official Dark Sky Reserve in Australia and one of only 15 worldwide, you won’t find a better place to settle in for a slumber party with the stars. The best way to understand what part of the universe you are actually marveling at is to jump in a chauffeured vehicle with Juggle House Tours or book a dark sky night tour with Big Bend. Alternatively, take a self-guided stargazing tour to take in some of the Australian star constellations. Head out before sunset and drive towards the quaint riverside town of Swan Reach. The road is dotted with a number of parking areas and viewpoints that you can pull up at, set up your blanket on the hood of your car and catch the night show.
3. Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park
Sleep nestled under a blanket of stars at one of South Australia’s most iconic camping spots. The rugged mountain ranges of Wilpena Pound offer a special treat for stargazers with star-filled skies blanketing the ancient landscape. Book a glamping tent at Wilpena Pound Resort, grab a sky map from the visitor’s centre and prepare for an unforgettable night out with the stars. Nestled in the 95,000-hectare Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, jaw-dropping mountain ranges, dramatic gorges and abundant wildlife are the backdrop to your intergalactic adventure; just unzip your front door and start exploring. Feeling intrepid? Take your star chasing to the next level with a once-in-a-lifetime heli-camping experience with Rawnsley Park Station. You’ll be flown to your own secluded campsite perched above the Flinders Ranges on the Chace Range to watch the setting sun before tucking in to a two-course meal. When darkness falls, spend the evening marvelling at the Milky Way and counting constellations.
4. Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park, Outback
Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is a sight to behold, but turn your eyes to the sky and you’ll discover a late-night show of epic proportions. Home to Australia’s largest salt lake and also laying claim to being Australia’s lowest point – some 15 metres below sea level – Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park is one of the best places to see the stars in South Australia. As this Outback oasis plunges into darkness, overhead the night sky swims with stars. When the lake is full, the star power doubles as twinkling lights reflect in the water creating an out-of-this-world spectacle in South Australia’s red centre. Grab your telescope, pack your bag and check out our guide to exploring Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre.
5. Lincoln National Park, Eyre Peninsula
Fall asleep wrapped in a blanket of stars at Lincoln National Park on the Eyre Peninsula. This remote patch of paradise is tucked on the south-eastern tip of the Eyre Peninsula, about half an hour’s drive from Port Lincoln, and is packed with campgrounds where you can pitch your tent and start exploring the universe. By day, dive into sparkling turquoise waters, lounge on white sandy beaches and sup on succulent seafood. When the sun goes down, kick back and count the stars; on a clear night the park is one of the best spots to see the Milky Way and Southern Cross in all its sparkling glory. While you’re on the Eyre Peninsula, venture north up the coast to the Coffin Bay National Park, to stargaze with a tour south guide on their Stargazing Photography Tour. For your daytime adventure check out these five must-visit beaches.
6. Innes National Park, Yorke Peninsula
Explore the universe from one of South Australia’s most popular coastal destinations. Located on the southern tip of the Yorke Peninsula, Innes National Park is a secluded sanctuary for stargazers. Far from the city lights, the park’s remote location has resulted in some of the darkest skies in the state and is one of the best spots in South Australia to see the Milky Way. Set up camp at one of eight campgrounds dotted throughout the national park and spend the weekend soaking in the stars, sun and surf at this seaside paradise. Make the most of your time on the Yorke Peninsula with our guide to five of the best beaches.
7. Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island
Protected from mainland light pollution, star seekers will be rewarded on Kangaroo Island. You can cop an eyeful of nature’s twinkling nightlights from just about anywhere on the island, but for a light show set against the backdrop of one of South Australia's most famous natural wonders, head to the pristine wilderness of Flinders Chase National Park. Located on the furthest point of the island and facing the ocean, the dark night skies are the perfect canvas for constellation exploration. The park also boasts four secluded campgrounds and is home to Kangaroo Island’s crown jewels; Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch. Check out our guide to the best places to camp on Kangaroo Island for more inspiration.
8. Wirrina Cove, Fleurieu Peninsula
The Fleurieu Peninsula boasts an impressive star-studded line-up and one of the best spots to watch the show is from Wirrina Cove. Nestled between the postcard-worthy beaches of Second Valley and Normanville and on the doorstep of Deep Creek Conservation Park, the cove is one of the best places in South Australia for stargazing. When the sun goes down, jump on a tour with The Backyard Universe at the New Terry Hotel and Golf Resort. You’ll see stars, clusters, planets, nebulae and galaxies over the cove through powerful telescopes and with the help of one of Australia's most experienced astronomical guides.
SET UP CAMP IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Want to go stargazing but can’t bear to leave your beloved pooch behind? Check out our guide to the best dog-friendly campgrounds in South Australia and take the whole family on your stargazing adventure.