20 August, 2020 By: Tatum Stafford
Astrotourism, where stargazers travel to the places where the stars shine brightest, is becoming a popular travel trend across the globe.
And given the key characteristic of a great astrotourism location is it being remote with very little light pollution, Western Australia has options aplenty for those wanting to enjoy the night sky.
Whether it’s a stargazing spot closer to Perth or somewhere more remote in our Golden Outback, there’s something incredibly special about laying back and gazing at the many constellations, planets and lunar events that are visible from our corner of the country.
Here are 10 of our favourite stargazing spots across WA.
1. Lake Ballard, Menzies
The 51 Gormley steel sculptures at Lake Ballard make for a fascinating stargazing location. As Australia’s largest outdoor gallery, these sculptures are based on Menzies locals and provide a stark contrast against the arid landscape.
When night falls, visitors are guaranteed an incredible star show as there is little light pollution in the area. Astronomers recommend the Lake as a spot to view the annual Perseid meteor shower in mid-August – just remember to pack your thermals, as it can get very cold overnight.
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2. Dales Gorge Campground, Karijini National Park
The iconic Karijini National Park is one of WA’s natural wonders – and lucky for astrology enthusiasts, it has plenty on offer when it comes to stargazing. The Dales Gorge Campground is the site of a popular Astro Tour, where participants can learn about fascinating constellations, facts about the universe and Karijini’s unique celestial occurrences. You’ll even get practice using a portable telescope.
3. Lucky Bay, Esperance
Esperance is one of the lucky spots in WA where you might be able to catch a glimpse of the elusive Aurora Australis (or the Southern Lights), and because of its pristine sands and waters, Lucky Bay is an idyllic and unspoiled spot to stargaze. If you’re a budding astrophotographer, using a long exposure on a clear night can treat you to a stunning purple and green display that isn’t visible to the naked eye.
4. Roebuck Bay, Broome
One of the most iconic attractions in WA is Broome’s Staircase to the Moon at Roebuck Bay. Occurring once a month from March to October, the phenomenon is created by a reflection of light on the tidal flats, creating the optical illusion of stairs climbing to the moon.
There are multiple viewing points for this unmissable event, from the sands of Town Beach to the lawns at the Mangrove Hotel. Be sure to check the moonrise time and dates before your visit so you don’t miss out.
5. Wooleen Station, Murchison
The view of the Milky Way Galaxy from Wooleen Station makes for a spectacular stargazing experience in WA. As the station is in an extremely remote location, there is very little light pollution and plenty of stars to view. And even though it’s remote, the station has plenty of accommodation options so you can stargaze in style.
6. Wave Rock, Hyden
Wave Rock is one of WA’s most iconic landmarks and due to its remote location, it’s also a great spot to get a glimpse of our State’s picture-perfect night sky. With an uninterrupted horizon, the sky’s twinkling stars are visible in all directions. The streaks on the rock, caused by rainwater running down its surface, also make for an appealing visual illusion for astrophotographers.
7. Sal Salis, Ningaloo Reef
A hub for ‘dark sky’ tourism, Sal Salis is an idyllic spot for uninterrupted views of the Milky Way. Nestled in the dunes of Cape Range National Park, the camp’s luxe beach tents employ minimal lighting to ensure the stunning night sky is the star of the show. If you’re planning a stay, head to the Lodge and chat to one of the camp guides, who can point out constellations and planets through the eyepiece.
Stargazing in this incredible area is most prominent before a full moon, so it’s a good idea to check the lunar schedule before booking a stay. A solar eclipse will cross over Sal Salis in April 2023, so eager astronomers should plan well in advance to witness this fascinating lunar phenomenon.
8. Dryandra Woodland, near Narrogin
Dryandra Country has a variety of camp and cabin sites that provide idyllic views of the region’s incredible meteor showers or shooting stars – and on a particularly dark night (without a full moon), you may spot a whopping 50 meteors an hour. The annual Geminid meteor shower in mid-December is a definite highlight in this region, and is best viewed in the early hours of the morning.
9. Lake Ninan, Wongan Hills
The spacious Lake Ninan Rest Area is a great spot to set up camp for a night of stargazing and astrophotography. With the shores of the lake accessible by foot, visitors can bask in gorgeous views of the stars reflecting in the lake’s waters. There are also dim lights at the Wongan Hills town centre, 11 kilometres from the Lake, which provides a stunning contrast from sky to faint town lights. Bring plenty of insect repellent with you.
10. Coorow Golf Club, Coorow
Nestled within the Mid West region, Coorow is predominantly known for its wildflowers but is also an ideal spot for first-time stargazers or families. Situated on the outskirts of town, the Coorow Golf Club has plenty of space for you to set up for the night (whether you’ve got a telescope or not); and the club’s cosy fire pit means there will be plenty of warmth available on starry winter nights.
Need a place to stay on your stargazing adventure?
RAC members save up to 20%* on accommodation at our nine Parks & Resorts across the State.
*Terms and conditions apply. Member rate varies according to season. See full website for details.