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5 top parks for stargazing in South Australia

03 Jun. 2024 5 min read

Stargazers were recently treated to an awe-inspiring display of aurora australis. But if you missed it, don’t worry – South Australia's night sky continues to be an astronomical delight!

Australia faces the Milky Way which means stargazers can see 100 times the number of stars that can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere.

And in South Australia, we’re perfectly placed. It doesn’t take us long to escape the light pollution compared to bigger cities. Light pollution obstructs stars and you need to find the darkest spots to uncover the brightest twinkling lights.

So, where are some of the best parks to camp and stargaze in South Australia? Check out these 5 spots and start planning your date with the stars.

1. Lincoln National Park

Lincoln National Park on the Eyre Peninsula is the perfect spot to set up camp and stargaze over the coast. The campgrounds in the park have easy access to beaches, bays and walking trails, making them an ideal base to explore the park’s natural features during the day, followed by stargazing at night.

Located at south-eastern tip of the Eyre Peninsula, Lincoln National Park is a special location where sea and land plunge into darkness. The absence of artificial light uncovers the subtle glow of star clusters, nebulae and the thick star clouds that form the Milky Way. On a clear night, you'll be sure to see one of the most amazing starry skies to be found anywhere on mainland South Australia.

5 top parks for stargazing in South Australia
(Image courtesy of @Johnwhitephotos, Instagram)

2. Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park is one of South Australia’s most loved camping destinations and its rugged mountain ranges offer a special treat for stargazers.

The park is at high altitude, located high above sea level making it an ideal stargazing location. That’s why most star observatories are located on mountain tops, because they provide stable and clear views of the cosmos.

So take a trip out to Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park and let its elevation bring you right up close to the stars. With 10 campgrounds to choose from you will be sure to find the perfect spot for you.

Fun fact: Stars don’t actually twinkle. As the light from the star travels into your vision, turbulence in the atmosphere interrupts the light’s path, creating the illusion of a twinkle.

5 top parks for stargazing in South Australia
(Image courtesy of @Peter_conway, Instagram)

3. Flinders Chase National Park

Flinders Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island is about as far as you can get away from light pollution in SA. You’ll leave behind Adelaide’s artificial light, allowing you to see all of the stunning, natural light the island has to offer.

Not only is Flinders Chase protected from mainland light pollution, it’s also located at the furthest point south of the island, facing outward to the open ocean, making it the darkest point on the whole island.

This special park offers pristine beauty during both day and night that you won’t want to miss out on. So, revel in the wilderness of Flinders Chase by camping under the stars at a campground or treat yourself to heritage accommodation.

5 top parks for stargazing in South Australia

4. Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park

Down on the south-western tip of the Yorke Peninsula, Dhilba Guuranda-Innes National Park is the perfect weekend getaway for star seekers.

The remote peninsula location of the park means that the skies are very dark, allowing for the stars to shine through.

The park offers the perfect spot to view the Milky Way, and when the skies are clear it will appear as a bright belt of stars – an ancient and impressive sight to see.

Spend the day exploring the park and getting lost in nature, then set up at one of the campgrounds and spend a relaxing night getting lost in the constellations.

5 top parks for stargazing in South Australia

5.River Murray Dark Sky Reserve

The River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve offers some of the darkest skies and brightest stars in the world. Plus, you’ll have first-class seats to one of the best views of the Milky Way in Australia.

Located about 100 km from Adelaide, the core of this reserve is in Swan Reach Conservation Park, an area of 2000 hectares of untouched Mallee bushland.While it’s a great viewing location, the park is only accessible by four-wheel drive (4WD). If you’re keen to go there, entry is free but there are no facilities so you need to take enough water, food and supplies, and take all waste away with you.

If you don’t have a 4WD, don’t despair – you don’t need to be at the core to make the most of the dark sky. The Dark Sky Reserve also covers the Ngaut Ngaut, Brookfield, Ridley and Marne Valley conservation parks.

5 top parks for stargazing in South Australia
(Image courtesy of @benjamingoode, Instagram)

(Main image taken within River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve by Laszlo Bilki)

This story was originally posted in June 2018.


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