At the top of the Wellington Cable Car you will find the Carter Observatory Stargazing centre which is one of Wellington’s top tourist attractions. Named after Charles Carter, who bequeathed his estate towards the creation of a national astronomical observatory, the Carter Observatory has become a premier tourist attraction in Wellington. Here, visitors have a first class seat to New Zealand’s brilliant southern skies and it’s every bit as good as anything you’ll see at Greenwich!
The Milky Way hangs low over Carter Observatory late one night in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo – Mark Gee
The Pelorus Trust Planetarium, at the Carter Observatory, is host to a state of the art multimedia digital show. The planetarium is housed in a dome shaped theatre with comfortable reclining seats. There, you will be taken on a virtual exploration of outer space, from Wellington to the Solar System and beyond. You get to choose from a selection of exciting and educational shows, which usually run for about 45 minutes. Be sure to look above you as the planetarium’s ceiling mimics the beautiful skies of New Zealand.
The Carter Observatory is a great learning experience and because all the exhibitions are interactive, we promise you that no one will be bored. The exhibits cover a wide range of topics on Space, Time and Matter including but not limited to the Big Bang, the Māori story of creation and the exploration of possible life on other planets. Visits do not require any intensive activity or long walks, so this is a perfect outing for the entire family, both young and old.
One of the greatest things about the Carter Observatory is that besides learning about astronomy, you will also get to experience it. You will be given the opportunity encounter a gravity well, handle a genuine space rock, launch a virtual rocket and even ‘touch the moon’.
Although the observatory is steeped in science, the Māori’s interpretation of outer space, the sun and skies are not left out of these exhibitions. Their stories are respectfully represented through the demonstrations of Polynesian and Māori astronavigation, the role of the stars in Māori New Year (Matariki), their folklore and the Māori’s journey from Hawaii to New Zealand under the Southern Skies.
Nothing says romance like a starry night. The intimacy of the observatory makes this a great date night choice. When weather permits, there are public viewings of the night skies through the Thomas Cooke telescopes.
At the Carter Observatory, you can gift a loved one with an adopted star. For a onetime fee, you can adopt a Single Star, a Binary Star (ideal for couples) or a Super Star. Now that’s a once in a lifetime gift.
An amazing and cool experience awaits you at the Carter Observatory. Visit to experience the wonder of the skies above. Call the team at What to do in Wellington anytime for further information or contact them directly.
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