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at Cowan’s Private Observatory

Enhance your knowledge of our Southern skies and ponder the possibilities during an evening of discovery on this private group tour. Plus receive 20% off at the Dark Sky Diner.

This is an exclusive stargazing tour where you'll learn about our Southern skies from one of our expert Astronomy guides, in the privacy of your own 'bubble'.

This exclusive experience includes: 

  • 75 minutes private guided stargazing tour at Cowan's Observatory (Telescopes: 9.25" + 14" + eVscope)
  • Group photo (sent via email in the week following the experience)
  • 30 minutes private guided visit of the Brashear dome
  • 20% off at our Dark Sky Diner to enjoy before your experience. Bookings at the Dark Sky Diner are recommended during level 2 due to limited capacity.  

The Private Charter Tour is a weather dependent activity. If weather conditions prevent us from taking you outdoors (e.g. cloud cover or inclement weather) you'll be offered alternate options including learning about our southern skies from our purpose-built technological and interactive venue. Please read our terms and conditions for further information. 

We strongly recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Private Charter Tour is available from Thursday to Sunday, bookings by email or phone only.


Tour Overview


Cowan’s Private Observatory


up to 14" optical telescope

Time of day

Evening, outdoors

Family options

Early evening options available



2 hours

Tour times

Available Thursday to Sunday, two departures per evening.

Checking in

Please check-in at least 20 minutes prior to tour departure at Dark Sky Project Base, Takapō (Tekapo) lakefront.

What to wear

Please come prepared, we cannot supply ECW (Extreme Cold Weather) jackets under the Orange COVID-19 Protection Framework.

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

Sep 2021 – Dec 2021


Maximum 5 people


Extra adult or child

On request only