Stargazing in Oxford this Matariki

If you are looking for one of the best spots in New Zealand to view Matariki then you don’t need to go any further than the Waimakariri District.

This is an extract from the June 2024 e-Newsletter

Oxford has recently gained Dark Sky accreditation and is one of the most easily accessible Dark Sky destinations in the country.

The conservation area lies close to the Oxford township, which means you can enjoy all of the fantastic cafes and restaurants as well as dark sky viewing within minutes from the town centre.

Oxford Dark Sky President Raul Elias-Drago says people should make it a fun night in Oxford for the whole family.

“People can come dressed in their warmest clothes and get some fish and chips for dinner and walk to one of the locations in the township to see Matariki.

There is also another spot just about 5-6km out of the township, which is darker, but you would have to drive there.”

Raul says for the real outdoor enthusiasts there is also the option to go to the Oxford Forest Conservation Area and tramp and stay at the huts.

He says you can get some of the best naked-eye views of the Milky Way from just about anywhere in Oxford.

Oxford also has the Observatory which has been open since 2006 and has been run by volunteers the whole time.

The Observatory has been educating young people from schools all over the region on astronomy and space exploration, it’s also available for private bookings and group events.

Raul says after the long running success of the Observatory it was a natural progression to apply for Dark Sky accreditation.

He says the venture was well supported by the local community who have long appreciated the area’s night sky.

If you are away for Matariki, don’t worry there will be more opportunities. The Oxford Observatory team will also be running some events in the Oxford and Kaiapoi libraries in July so check out the Waimakariri Libraries website for more details.

Where to stargaze
Oxford Observatory
Dark Sky website

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