Have a question? Check our FAQ below for help.
Do I need to book?
You require a ticket to attend one of our sessions.
Night Sky & Telescope Session: Tickets are available online in the first instance up to an hour before start time. These are the cheapest tickets. Unsold tickets are sold at the door 15 minutes before start time. These cost $5 extra per ticket.
All other sessions: Online sales only.
How do I purchase a ticket?
Tickets are sold online.
Go to the bookings page in the menu, select the session type you want a ticket for. This will tell you what the session is about.
Scroll down and click on the button “BOOK NOW”. This will take you to a the ticketing agency that sells tickets on our behalf.
Select the session type and month. Then select the date and time.
Unsold tickets are sold at the door 15 mins before start time for the Night Sky & Telescope Session only. Other session types are sold online only.
Do you sell Gift Certificates?
Yes we do. They are available for all session types. Go to our bookings page in the menu, select the session type. This will take you to the ticketing site where you will see that as an option to purchase.
What is the difference between the Night Sky and Telescope Viewing and the Premium Tour?
The Night Sky & Telescope Viewing is the general session and is the first session of the evening. Lasting for a minimum of one hour, it can have a maximum of 50 people attend. The show includes an astronomy presentation followed by telescope viewing. Bring a compatible camera (see camera FAQ below) for a free astrophoto through the telescope!
The Premium session lasts for a minimum of 1 hour 45 minutes with a maximum of 6 people. View more objects through the telescopes, as well as with a pair of astronomy binoculars! We’ll take four astrophotos through the main telescope with your compatible DSLR camera (see camera FAQ below), and you’ll get a free photo card of a previously captured object. This session is held after the Night Sky & Telescope Viewing session.
Do I get to look through a telescope?
You get to look through the telescopes in all session types except for the astrophotography session.
What objects will I see through the telescopes?
We plan to show you objects such as planets, stars, binary stars, open star clusters, globular clusters, nebulae, & galaxies.
What objects we see varies depending on time of the night and time of the year. e.g. The Milky Way is visible in the winter months, planets vary every year.
We put a list of objects for the current month on the webpage for each show type. It also says when the Moon is visible & which are the darkest nights. At the bottom of the Night Sky & Telescope Viewing page are the best months to view the different planets.
It also depends on what phase the Moon is. We see the most objects when the Moon is not visible during the time your session is on. Around full moon, we don’t see nebulae and galaxies as the sky is too bright for them. We can still see planets and star clusters.
It also depends on how much cloud cover there is. The clearer the sky, the more we see, the more cloud, the less we see.
Where is the Observatory?
The observatory is located 8.5 km from the town centre.
Our address is 17L Camp Road.
From the Newell Hwy, turn left on Obley Rd & drive for 3.3km (do not drive into the Zoo 2nd entry which is called Camp Rd also), then right onto Camp Rd & drive for 1.3km . We are on the left.
Alternatively, from the Newell Hwy, drive past the Obley Rd turn off & drive for 3.4km , turn left on Camp Rd drive 2.6km, we are on the right.
What happens if I need to cancel my ticket?
You can cancel your ticket by emailing the observatory directly at [email protected]. Please do not contact the ticketing agency.
If more than 7 days notice is given, you can request a credit note to use to purchase tickets on a future date or a refund is issued (unless purchased with a credit or gift certificate). The refund goes back to the card you used. This can take a few business days for the bank to complete the transfer. The ticketing fee is non-refundable. If the ticket was purchased with a credit note or gift certificate, a new credit note is issued for you to purchase a new ticket.
If less than 7 days notice is given, a refund or credit is only issued if we can resell your ticket.
What happens if it’s overcast or raining?
Night Sky & Telescope Viewing Session: On arrival you’ll get the choice of a credit for a future available session of the same value in the next 3 years, or to continue with the show. In some cases, we may contact you by text giving you the choice. Where you choose to continue with the session, the show starts as normal with the 30 minute astronomy presentation. If it is raining, this is held indoors. If it remains overcast we extend the presentation. If we can’t show you any objects through the telescope we issue a 50% refund excluding the booking fee. This is done via the ticketing agency by refunding half of the tickets. e.g. If 2 adults were booked, 1 adult would be refunded. In the case where the split is uneven, we refund any remaining amount to your nominated bank account e.g. if 3 adults were booked, we refund 1 adult ticket through the ticketing agency, and refund the value of half a ticket by bank transfer.
Premium / Private/ Astrophotography Sessions: The show is cancelled. You can decide to either to receive a refund or credit to use for a future session of the same value.
Can I move my booking to another session or date?
If 7 days notice is given, we can cancel your booking and issue you a credit note. You use this credit note number to purchase tickets to a future session.
If less than 7 days notice is given, we only do this if we can resell your ticket.
Can I bring my children to the Observatory?
Children 5 years of age and older are welcome. They must have a ticket to the session and be accompanied by an adult with a ticket.
Children under 5 years of age are not permitted.
Is the show suitable for children?
The shows (particularly the presentation) are more targeted to teenagers and adults, but is suitable for children with an interest in space, the night sky, and astronomy.
Young children usually don’t have the ability to view objects through a telescope. Children under 5 years of age are not permitted.
Why can’t I bring children under 5 years of age?
Young children usually cannot see through an eyepiece and do not get anything out of the show.
The telescopes are delicate instruments and not toys. Young children often touch and handle parts of the telescope, which can put the telescopes out of alignment for the rest of the session.
We have had instances where significant damage has been done to telescopes, including a case which cost $5000 to repair and the telescope being out of action for months waiting for spare parts.
Very young children usually get bored very quickly, get cold, or tired and can disrupt the session for others.
Which cameras are compatible with the telescopes?
DSLR cameras: Canon, Nikon and Pentax. We use the camera body and attach our adapter. Adapters are brand specific.
Mirrorless cameras: Sony, Canon and Nikon can be used if you have the adapter that fits a DSLR lens.
Can I view the planets?
We can show you the planets through the telescope if they are visible on the night and time you are here.
Planets orbit the Sun at different distances and speeds. The inner planets move faster, the more distant ones are slower. This means that the planets are in different positions each night and are sometimes above the horizon (visible) and sometimes below the horizon (not visible). Any particular planet is usually visible for 4 months of the year. The time of the year varies each year as well. Planets like Mars and Venus may only be visible once every couple of years. Sometimes there are many planets visible and we can go through periods where non are visible. We have a list of dates when each planet is visible on the Night Sky & Telescope Viewing page.
They are best viewed when they are overhead, they are sharper in this position.
How large they appear depends on how big the planet is and how far away it is. For example Venus can appear quite large and sometimes very small depending on which side of the Sun it is on. Mars is a small planet so is appears small in the telescope.
You can see the rings and moons of Saturn.
You can see the cloud bands on Jupiter and its moons.
Uranus and Neptune are large planets but they are so distant they only appear as star like points through a telescope. You can see a physical size to the other planets.
How clear they look, varies every night and depends on how high they are in the sky and how stable our atmosphere is.
Do you accept companion cards?
The companion pays the child price.
Is there wheelchair access?
There is wheelchair access to the main building and the outdoor telescope platform. There is no access to the observatory. To view through a telescope, you will need to stand briefly. Occasionally you may need to use a stepladder.
What time is the observatory open?
We have sessions that start at specific times at night and these times vary throughout the year. We also run a daytime solar viewing session except in summer. Timings are for tonight’s show are on the home page. For other days, go to the ticketing site.
When should I purchase a ticket?
We recommend you purchase tickets on the day so you know what the weather is doing. The clearer the sky, the more we see.
However, shows normally sell out on long weekends, April, July, September/October school holidays, between Christmas and New Year, and the first week of January. In these periods it is best to book a day or two in advance. You can get an idea of how full a session is if you check the ticketing site, it will tell you how many tickets are left.
Are you dog friendly?
Dogs and other pets are not permitted at the observatory except in your car.
However assistance dogs for medical/ disability reasons are an exception.
How long will I be there?
Night Sky & Telescope Viewing: Minimum 1 hour, usually hour and 15 minutes.
Premium Session: 1 hour 45 minutes
Astrophotography session: 2 hours
What if I don’t have a camera, but want a photo?
You can bring a standard size SD card that fits our canon camera.
You can buy an SD card here to use. If you do, you can have 2 photos taken.
We sell photos we have taken through the telescope.
What should I wear?
We are outdoors so you need to dress to the weather conditions
Winter: It can be very cold, wear as much as you can, and wearing a beanie, scarf and gloves really makes a difference.
Summer: We can get some mosquitos at dusk, so please wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt and apply an insect repellent on any exposed areas.
Enclosed shoes are required.
Do you provide transport to the observatory?
No, we do not provide transport.
What if I am running late?
If you arrive late without prior notice, you will notice the door is closed and a sign saying a session is in progress. You will not be allowed in. You will not be allowed entry and there is no refund.
If you think you will be late, you can call before start time an advise. When you arrive, send a text only (don’t call) and we will come out and get you.
Do you have a gift shop?
Yes we sell astronomy related books, DVDs, toys, pictures, and more!
I want to view a star purchased from a star registry.
Yes, if you have the coordinates of the star in J2000 epoch or an alternative astronomical name, and if the star is bright enough, and if the star is in the sky for the time of year you are coming. Notify us a few days before you come so we can decipher the location information you have.
We also can photograph the star and send you a jpeg image for a cost.
Can I bring my own telescope.
Only if you can if you book a private session.