A Starry Night at the End of the Earth

DESTINATION: AORAKI MACKENZIE, NEW ZEALAND

One has only to peer up at the expansive night sky on a perfectly clear evening to be reminded of our place in the universe among its billions of brightly burning stars. And yet, with modern civilization lighting every corner of the globe deep into the night, this simple pleasure is quickly becoming a lost art. That’s what makes Aoraki Mackenzie, a remote locale in the wilds of New Zealand, such a rare and precious find—one of the few remaining places on earth where we can look up into the heavens and connect with something greater than ourselves by basking in the celestial glow of an unobscured night sky. 

Located in the heart of New Zealand, the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve boasts one of the clearest sky views in the modern world, thanks to strict regulations on light pollution in this area. For the world’s romantics, dreamers and stargazers in search of a truly spectacular display, the reserve is one of those most cherished places in the world to behold a seemingly endless canopy of sparkling lights—a breathtaking experience that is at once magical and soul-stirring. With each quiet moment spent staring deep into the night sky, a new cache of stars becomes visible as the eyes adjust to the vast darkness.

Nearby, scenic Lake Pukaki offers a pristine reflection of the epic night sky in its still waters—creating a mirror that amplifies even the natural light of the setting sun to breathtaking effect. Spending the evening here, one can watch the waning light transform from a deep fuchsia twilight to a bejeweled night sky—creating a stunning show that rivals the world’s finest works of art. For those looking to stay awhile longer, a secluded luxury villa and spa in the park offers a private setting where guests can take in the nighttime display at their leisure followed by a soothing bath soak and massage to complete the experience.

A once-in-a-lifetime journey deep into the night, the Aoraki Mackenzie Reserve offers an unforgettable reminder of the earth’s enduring natural beauty—inspiring and transforming all who are summoned to its siren call.