Good Heavens

Good Heavens


Issue #03 of the Dark Sky Travels magazine has now been published. Free, monthly, digital publication dedicated to Nightscape Photography.
Carol Comer spends a lot of time in the dark... taking amazing photos. Come and have a look at her work at the Aotea Art Gallery in the next few weeks! Carol can also be commissioned to take dark sky portraits. Check with us, or her if you want to know more.
Beautiful comparison.
First see our own star go down, then, once it gets super dark, admire the stars that are further away... 🌟
So cool! Fave pic: Roh Oph, fave news: the biiiig ring around Saturn. πŸ’– Next job: see if we can find that nursery Deborah Kilgallon! 😁
Epic spot, divine lights! #Goodheavens and the #milkywaykiwi
Wow, what a great experience we had looking at the night sky at Medlands Beach on Great Barrier Island. It was a beautiful cloudless night and the location for our viewing, on the dunes above the beach, was perfect, especially with the waves providing a natural soundtrack. Deb really looked after us, providing cushioned chairs, blankets and a hottie to keep us comfortable while we gazed at the heavens and she commented on the the myriad of stars, constellations, planets and Milky Way. Zodiac signs that were visible were pointed out, as was the Southern Cross. Mars was amazing as it marched across the eastern horizon and Venus said hello before dropping out of site on the other side of the bay. Through the telescope we were shown stars at different stages of their life cycle and it was quite amazing to think we were looking at old timers that may not even be there any more. The icing on the cake for me was seeing Saturn's rings and Jupiter's moons. Deb thoughtfully sent us an email afterwards noting what we saw and providing links to sites for more information. A hot chocolate and some home baking brought our evening to a close - one we are still talking about a week later and will be, I'm sure, for some time.
If you love flying @Singaporeair and enjoyed reading about Great Barrier Island in the SilverKris inflight magazine, you will appreciate the comfort Good Heavens provide on their #darkskyexperiences A comfortable journey through the Great Barrier Island night sky and into the universe! 🌟

Marvel at our Skies with us! Good Heavens guides take you on a comfortable and entertaining stargazing journey of the super dark sky above beautiful Great Barrier Island

Marvel at our Skies with us on a Dark Sky Experience. Good Heavens is a group of trained Dark Sky Ambassadors, here to guide you through the stars and planets on Great Barrier Island, New Zealand. ​ Great Barrier Island is one of three Dark Sky Sanctuaries, and the only Island Sanctuary, in the world. Away from the lights of the big city and as an off-the-grid island, our light pollution is minimal. Our dark skies are superb.

Mission: To provide you with a magical, illuminating experience under our dark star filled sky.

Operating as usual

The two nights after the full moon, you can observe the moon rising out of the sea over the east coast beaches.

Quite a sight, seeing this red ball come over the horizon, as it's light is refracted through the atmosphere, while it slowly changes to white as it gets higher up in the sky.

Enjoy by yourself, or with a Good Heavens Moon Walk, to get an unforgettable close up look through our telescope as well as lots of starry stories to boot.

If you love the moon and would love to know more about it, this is the tour for you. If you are keen to see the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds, book in for a Look Up and Get Lost stargazing experience.

Moon Walks are available when the moon is larger than 50% in the evening sky, whereas Look Up and Get Lost experiences are available the rest of the month.

Check out the booking calendar for either the Moon Walk or Look Up and Get Lost to see what's available when.

Check out our blog with a bit more moongazing info

Ready for tonight's stargazers. Guess what we'll be gazing at first?

Admiring our closest star β˜€οΈ as our planet spins away from her light. ❀️

Time for some stellar delights🀩 in the dark sky sanctuary. ✨

The Good Heavens team is enjoying the balmy summer nights with our feet in the sand.🌴

Why don't you join us and learn more about the stars, close and far.🌌

See Deb move, as she's setting up a stargazing experience along the beach on Great Barrier Island.

We set up our tours so that you can get the most out of your stargazing experience in the Dark Sky Sanctuary of Great Barrier Island.

Moon chairs mean you can lean back in comfort, looking up at the stars, dreaming away or listening to your guide.

A blanket keeps you toasty, summer and winter, so that you can concentrate on the stars, rather than on being cold.

Binoculars for each participant show the incredible depth and quantity of stars visible in our super dark sky, and give a nice overview of open star clusters, such as the northern and southern Pleiades.

And to get a close-up of planets, (binary) stars, nebula and deep sky objects, you'll be looking through our 8" telescope, which we will point in the right direction for you.

And you can follow the laser pointer your guide uses to draw constellations in the sky, while telling you interesting facts and fascinating stories that have captivated our ancestors throughout the ages.

Come stargazing with Good Heavens! 🀩

Find info or book on

During yesterday's commute to our Good Heavens stargazing experience, this spot along Puriri Bay Rd in Tryphena once again took my breath away. πŸŒ…

The stargazing was brilliant.🌌 The rain had cleared the sky of dust, and once we got started it cleared completely, till Mother Nature closed the curtains shortly after eleven. ☁️

As a special bonus, there was some bioluminescence, too. It sparkled blue under our feet, like newly born stars, as we went to check it out along the waterline. 🌊

Magic above and below! ✨


Morena! 🀩

Conditions have been fantastic for stargazing the last three nights, and after a bunch of cancellations and postponements due to La Nina conditions in the last few weeks, it's been fantastic to have perfectly clear conditions for everyone to enjoy. Yey!

The current balmy Barrier nights are so delightful in comparison to the freezing conditions experienced elsewhere in NZ. Who wouldn't want to come stargazing with their feet in the sand, while the waves are lapping at the beach!? 😁

Tonight's stargazing is cancelled due to cloud, so we're catching up for a gin and tonic at the pub and then an early night at home. zzzz.

Current availability for the next good looking nights:
Friday 8 Jan, 3 seats left
Saturday 9 Jan, 10 seats left
Sunday 10 Jan, 6 seats left. All still weather dependent of course, Mother Nature is our boss!

Next availability after that is Thurs 14, Fri 15 and Sat 16 January.

For more information or to book, please go to or give Hilde a ring on 0274290877.

Come stargazing with the Good Heavens team while the skies are clear!

photo: #jamesrua

Such a pleasure when astronomers come to visit Great Barrier and we get to talk stars!

And a joy to introduce them to some other natural delights of our Dark Sky Sanctuary island.

We normally look up, 🌟 but looking down can be so rewarding, too! πŸŒ΄πŸ’™πŸ˜Ž

So nice to meet you Thanks for the visit!


Into the light!

Of the southern hemisphere summer πŸŒ…

The lengthening days of the northern hemisphereβ˜€οΈ

And of the many starry nights that lie ahead of us in 2021 ✨

We send you, stargazers around the world, the most stellar wishes 🌠 for the season and the year ahead.

Looking forward to doing another lap around our sun with you. πŸ’«





Kiwis to get unique view of Jupiter and Saturn this weekend last seen 400 years ago

We do still have a few spaces on our stargazing experiences tonight and Monday night. Book in to see it close-up with your own eyes! 🀩

Be part of the action in the universe! ✨ Kiwis should look low on the horizon just to the right of where the sun sets.

Today's commute 🀩 to the Moon Walk Experience

The morning after a night of stargazing...🧜

We're so lucky to live in paradise!🌴

And to share bits of it with you.


It's looking promising for tonight's stargazing! 🀩

Good Heavens' Experiences embrace our beautiful environment, living in the now, without distraction.

Great Barrier Island provides you with ample opportunity for these kind of experiences.

Choose to be a stargazer ✨ after dark or an exuberant early morning mermaid in one of our quiet bays... 🧜

Or both!

A blustery but clear night last weekend with Tessa, Sandy and Hetty, snug with starry blankets and a hot water bottle πŸ”₯waiting for the stargazing to start.

Binoculars at the ready for the middle distance objects.🀩

And dressed up warmly as it cools down quickly after dark, and it's nice to be able to focus on the stars.✨

Book your experience now.

In the waiting room for their stargazing tour last night. 🀩

Great idea to come early and enjoy the beach on dusk. See the first stars pop out as the waves are rolling in.

A fantastic time of the day to enjoy some Barrier time ✨

Stardome Observatory and Planetarium

Great to watch this at Stardome, then come and see the planet with Good Heavens on Great Barrier Island, too.

No rush, Mars will be in the evening sky all summer, but will be getting smaller... visually. ✨

The team here at the Stardome never miss an opportunity for a close-up look at a planet, so we’ve created a week of special Mars viewings between 14 - 18 October 2020 to make sure you don’t miss out either! Get in early and book one of our special sessions during Te Wiki O Matawhero - The Week of Mars - to see the red planet in all its glowing glory. Spaces are limited so book your spot today!

Moon rising over Medlands last night. πŸŒ•

As the moon rises tonight, keep an eye out for the red planet Mars, which will be very close. πŸ›‘

Mars is big and red in the sky as we are catching up in our respective orbits around the Sun.✨

We'll be closest on 6 October, and Mars will be brightest, so make sure to have a peek out East in the evening sky in the next few days! 🌌

Did you know that Great Barrier Island is part of Auckland? And that we are only half an hour's scenic flying away from Auckland Airport?

On your way to your Dark Sky Experience, there is plenty to see and do.

Why not stop in Auckland for a night or two, and enjoy the urban activity this city has to offer, before flying to our island paradise for your back to the future experience?

Here are some great ideas:

#darkskyexperiences #auckland #visitauckland #greatbarrierislandofficial

What a fabulous night under the stars 🌟 with star guides Hilde Hoven and Deborah Kilgallon!

The Milky Way streaked across our spring sky, stars sparkled, planets glowed bright πŸͺ. Lots of laughs in amongst the stellar stories made for happy stargazers under our Dark
Sky Sanctuary sky 🌌

GO NZ: Off-grid and slow travel adventures on Great Barrier Island

Laura Waters wrote this about Great Barrier Island... πŸ˜‰ Longing for a simple life? There is one place where the wider world drifts far from mind.

Binoculars are one of the tools of the trade when you are a stargazer. We use them frequently during our tours, to gaze at celestial objects in the medium distance, such as open star cluster and yes, the moon.

If you've never checked out the moon through binoculars, try it tonight! She's a sight to behold!

The binoculars Good Heavens use are perfectly suited for star- and moongazing. Why not try for yourself during a Dark Sky Experience and buy one after you tour?

The Milky Way as observed at the Twin Pines in the Dark Sky Sanctuary of Great Barrier Island, New Zealand.

This particular bit is the central core of our galaxy as visible in the NZ winter sky. It's the best time of the year and one of the best spots on our blue planet to observe this sparkly streak through the sky.

We're looking at part of the disk of 200-400 billion stars that form our galaxy. Our Good Heavens guides would love to show you have that works from our perspective on Earth from a beach in the South Pacific.

For more info go to

Such a beautiful image @Jamesrua #inthehoodandco visitauckland

Arrival in paradise πŸ’šπŸ’™

Back to the future 😊

One of our favourite celestial objects is Jupiter. Not just because it's super cool to see a planet with your own eyes, but also because four of its moons are visible through the telescope.*

These moons were first observed and described by Galileo, which is why, you guessed it, they are called the Galilean moons.

* or sometimes two or three if they are hiding in front of or behind the planet.

Come marvel and the stars and the planets with us :-)

The best of Great Barrier Island

Some fab ideas for your next trip to Great Barrier Island :-) Great Barrier offers peace and quiet close to the city.

Humans on our tiny planet - looking up at the magnificence of our universe

Our stargazers tell us that stargazing becomes even more enjoyable once they are able to orientate themselves and recognise some friends among the stars after a stargazing experience with the Good Heavens team.

Some of our stargazers come for repeat experiences, as the night sky is forever changing and there is so much to see and learn.

Our experienced stargazing guides would love to enlighten and entertain you under the super dark sky of Aotea Great Barrier Island

Good Heavens are proud to announce

--- our new Moon Walk Experiences --- πŸŒ“πŸŒ”πŸŒ•πŸŒ–πŸŒ—

Roughly one week a month, the moon is big and bright enough to light the way onto the beach - a magical experience!

So in that week we take the opportunity to stroll onto the beach under her light and share the fun and factual stories of our closest celestial neighbour - before or after our stargazing session.

Please note that when our moon takes centre stage some other celestial objects, like the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds, are less visible.

Our moon chairs are perfect for observing the super dark heavens in the Dark Sky Sanctuary of Aotea Great Barrier Island.

Just lean back and enjoy while listening to stories of the stars, snuggled up under one of our fluffy blankets, while the waves lap at the beach in the background.

Indulge in the elements 🌟🌫️🌴

#darkskyexperiences #greatbarrierisland

Enjoy Jupiter in July with Good Heavens on Great Barrier Isl. NZ

Look at Jupiter with us this month! Check out this blog post with more info about this amazing planet! When the Good Heavens team marvel at the super dark Great Barrier Island sky, one of the celestial objects we particularly enjoy is Jupiter.

Lovely welcome 🐬 into Tryphena today πŸ’™

One of those beautiful surprises #greatbarrierisland may have in store for you, too.



It's that time of year again! Happy Matariki, everyone! 🀩

Here's a informative article and a special recipe for Matariki by Ann Allen.

Please let us know if you would like to find the Matariki cluster with us in the predawn sky in July, or in the evening sky throughout the summer (our preferred option ;-))

And why not try that steamed corn pudding? Seems like a yummy treat to eat under the stars. When I was small my parents would, when we went camping (ugh), on starry nights, point out the stars and teach us the names and patterns to look out for. One of my favourites was the Seven Sisters …

We love stargazing in winter - when the nights are crisp and the heavens are clear. In winter, it gets dark early and we are looking at the core of the Milky Way.

The big planets Jupiter and Saturn are visible in the evening sky - an amazing sight through our telescope.

Enjoy winter stargazing in New Zealand from under our comfortable blankets. On the colder nights we'll even give you a hot water bottle.

Thank you for this beautiful photo, @Jamesrua #inthehoodandco @visitauckland

Great article about Great Barrier Island and the Auckland region. Auckland is a great place for a stop over on your way to Great Barrier Island. We recently did a kayak tour to Rangitoto island, which was good fun and recommended. Have you got any recommendations for adventures in the Auckland area? Or any special requests?

And what an amazing dark sky image.

100% New Zealand

NZ from the ISS 🀩

This is my home

One of the spots that is great for a private stargazing experience with the Good Heavens team is XSPOT in Tryphena. Great accommodation with amazing views to the ocean and the heavens.

Have a peek at and book your stay and your stargazing experience, either a private experience on site or a group experience at Medlands Beach, in one fell swoop.

Good Heavens! on Great Barrier Island

Good Heavens is a group of trained Dark Sky Ambassadors, here to guide you through the dark starry sky on Great Barrier Island, New Zealand.

​Great Barrier Island is one of five IDA Dark Sky Sanctuaries, and the only sub-tropical Island Sanctuary, in the world! Away from the lights of the big city and as an off-the-grid island, our light pollution is minimal. Our dark skies are superb. ​

Our passionate tour guides will take you on a journey through the stars of the southern night sky, through constellations, planets and more, sharing our knowledge on the basics of astronomy.

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