at Cowan’s Observatory

Enhance your knowledge of the Southern Skies and ponder the possibilities at our purpose-built observatory.

Designed specifically with stargazing in mind, Cowan’s Private Observatory is the perfect introductory stargazing experience.

Nestled in a giant purpose-built crater to provide maximum wind protection and minimum light pollution, our expert astronomy guides will enhance your knowledge and understanding of our Southern Skies as you admire and ponder the possibilities through our powerful optical telescopes.

We strongly recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.


PLEASE NOTE: Due to the impacts of COVID-19, The Crater Experience is operating at reduced capacity over Queen's Birthday Weekend (Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 May). 

Please phone 021 680 616 for booking enquiries.

Sorry, online bookings are not available. 


Tour Overview


Cowan’s Observatory


up to 14" optical telescope

Time of day

Evening, outdoors

Minimum age

5 years & over

Family options

Early evening options available



75 minutes

Tour times

Various throughout the year depending on time of sunset

Checking in

Please check-in at least 10 minutes prior to tour departure at Dark Sky Project Base, Takapō (Tekapo) lakefront.

What to wear

Please wear warm clothing. Due to COVID-19 we are unable to offer our ECW jackets.

Beverage inclusions

A hot beverage is included in this experience.

Cowan's Private Observatory

Cowan's Private Observatory

Cowan's Private Observatory

Cowan's Private Observatory

Cowan's Private Observatory

Cowan's Private Observatory

Planning your trip

Moon Phase

The sky is at its darkest when there is no moon however as we are in a Dark Sky Reserve there is still plenty visible throughout the whole month.


Takapō has its own unique alpine micro-climate and can change without notice. Weather predictions are often inaccurate. We recommend allowing as much time in the region as you can.


Our guides tailor content to what is visible on a given night. In the case of full cloud cover, we will offer an alternative option. In some cases a full refund may be offered.


Seasonal Pricing

Oct 2019 – Sep 2020


18 years & over



Ages 5-17