Stargazing from Cowan's Private Observatory, nestled away in a purpose-built crater. Designed specifically with stargazing in mind, the Crater Experience is the ideal introductory stargazing experience in Takapō (Tekapō).

Discover the depths of the world renowned Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve from our purpose-built stargazing observation craters, which is sheltered from the cold wind and light pollution.

Explore the endless Southern skies from our private observatory dome, and through our 14” telescopes, observe planets, galaxies and the depths of the Milky Way. Every night sky beholds something different, often visible through the naked eye, our professional astronomy guides use handheld lasers to showcase the best of the evolving night sky.

Our Crater Experience runs for 1 hour 15 minutes and includes transport to and from Cowan’s Private Observatory, the use of our ECW (Extreme Cold Weather jackets) [Please note: We are unable to provide ECW Jackets during Covid-19 Red and Orange Framework levels], the direction of our expert astronomy guides and guided viewing through our telescopes.

The outdoor nature of the Crater Experience makes it a weather dependent activity. If it is not possible to observe due to weather, then an alternative indoor experience may be offered in our purpose built technological and interactive venue, with guests entitled to a partial refund. 





Seasonal Pricing: December 2021 - September 2022



Child (ages 5-17)     


Family Pass (2 adults, 2 children) 


Extra child on family pass




What to Expect


Cowan's Private Observatory.

Time of day

Various tour times in the evening after twilight. 5 days per week (Thurs - Mon)


Using 14" telescopes.

Length of Tour

75 minutes

Minimum age

Children must be 5 years and over.

Tour Itinerary

Check In

At Dark Sky Project base 20 minutes prior to departure.

ECW Jacket

Extreme Cold Weather jackets are distributed. Please come prepared during Red and Orange levels in the Covid-19 Framework as we are unable to provide ECW Jackets.


Travel a 5 minute drive to Cowan's Private Observatory.


Stargaze using the naked eye guided by lasers, 14" telescopes and through our observatory dome.


Return to Dark Sky Project Base.