Mt Cook Stargazing Tour & The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre – Day 194
Checking out the Alpine Centre, Planetarium AND Stargazing in a Dark Sky Reserve!
Today we are keeping out of the rain in the Sir Edmun Hillary Alpine Centre before tonight’s stargazing tour in Mt Cook! If you liked this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand, head on over to our epic YouTube Channel!
Today we’re going to do what everyone should do in a dark sky reserve. Stargazing!
The weather is not looking to good in Mt Cook today so before we start our stargazing tour this evening We decide to check out the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre which is the perfect indoor activity to do in Mt Cook.
For those of you who don’t know, Sir Edmund Hillary was among the first to summit Mt Everest as well as leading an expedition across the Antarctic to the South Pole and because of these achievements he is a New Zealand national icon and that’s why there’s a whole centre dedicated to this guy right here in Mt Cook.
Obviously there’s a whole bunch of artifacts and vehicles that are related to Sir Edmund Hillary’s life but also in the centre there’s a lot of things to do with the history of Mt Cook Village itself and even the hotel that this centre is located within, which is the Hermitage Hotel it was built here in 1884 so there’s a lot of history to uncover.
One of the really cool things here at the centre is the Caterpillar wheel tractor device which was actually the first thing that was taken across the Antarctic. It’s really weird to think that people used such a simple design to go to such an extreme place.
Me and Edmund….
And there is heaps more tractors that went to the Arctic.
They used to use those tractors right here to carry all the gears. So there’s a bit of sample of gears like hiking boots.
They are so heavy.
It’s quite incredible that simple farming machinery with a tarp over it is what they used for the early expedition of one of the most inhospitable places on earth.
The exhibition itself is pretty amazing but we are mostly in the Mt Cook area for the beautiful stargazing. Some of the best night skies are to be seen in the area because it is a Dark Sky Reserve meaning that the light pollution is kept at a minimum.
And to get a bit of an introduction into the Southern Hemisphere night sky which is actually very different than the Northern Hemisphere night sky we are attending a bit of a screening in one of the planetariums that is located in this museum.
There we are being taken on a journey on the night sky of the area with an amazing array of different displays we learn a heap lot before jumping onto our bus for a night tour.
When night falls it time for us to go on the Big Sky Stargazing Tour which the weather is a little bit iffy tonight but that’s ok Robin and I still want to do the tour so when we get to the special stargazing site there’s telescopes so we can get really close viewings of some of the oldest things that we’ve ever seen or these star clusters really close up viewings of the moon as well. It’s really awesome but unfortunately with our GoPro footage it’s not exactly the best footage to look at.
Nevertheless, this is a must-do in the International Dark Sky Reserve if you get the chance in Mt Cook, we’d recommend it to any astronomy fan.
When having a guy that can point us out which one is what it’s really helpful because you know if one day we’re lost we now know how to find the Southern Cross that points kind of like on the side not really south so I don’t know who came up with that. Just saying.