Stargaze at Medlands Beach
Great Barrier was the first island in the world to become a Dark Sky Sanctuary. This means that it was recognised by the International Dark Sky Association for the quality of its night skies, and that residents and businesses on the island have agreed to follow certain practices, such as changing out glaring blue LEDs for softer-toned bulbs to keep light pollution in check. Take a Dark Sky Tour with local company Good Heavens to get the low-down on what’s above you. “They weave in a lot of Māori stories of the night sky,” says Gendie Somerville-Ryan, a trustee of local tourism initiative Destination Aotea/Great Barrier Island. “You sit on your moon chair and you have chocolate brownies and hot chocolate and a telescope and binoculars…and of course a blanket in winter!” She says that while the sky is stunning at any time of year, the Milky Way is most spectacular from March to September.