The Dark Skies initiative in Kaikōura was formed in 2020 by a group of passionate volunteers and local astronomers. Since then the trust has grown to encompass local businesses, residents and local government organisations. Together they believe achieving International Dark Sky Sanctuary status will benefit Kaikōura’s economy, our unique environment and the health of our community. It’s aim is to achieve International Dark Sky Accredited early in 2024. The International Dark Sky Association is an organisation which has led the worldwide movement since 1988 to protect the night from light pollution.  


Sanctuaries are the most remote (and often darkest) places in the world whose conservation state is most fragile. An IDA Dark Sky Sanctuary is classified as public or private land that has an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is protected for its scientific, natural, or educational value, its cultural heritage and/or public enjoyment.


Through the accreditation process we aim to encourage the enjoyment of our wonderful night sky, increase the protection of our environment and ecological systems, improve the health and wellbeing of our community and enhance our economic opportunities through astro-tourism.


Follow us on this exciting journey via the Kaikōura Dark Sky Trust website.


Photo Credit: Brooke Unger


Where to View 

Here are six of our favorite stargazing locations, each offering something different. Some are close to town in case you are on foot or just want a short time outside, others are in the true wilderness and warrant an overnight stay in a tent or hut (please adhere to the Kaikōura Freedom Camping Regulations).




Self-guided star gazing in Kaikōura


Did you know you can enjoy a pristine night sky anywhere in Kaikōura. Join with Theo & Grace as they share with you our favourite spots for relaxed and exceptional stargazing. On a clear night thousands of stars can be visible, as well as the sounds of nature and the sea all around you. It makes for a truly magical experience.


Before you head out we recommend read our top tips on stargazing so you’re best prepared for an enhanced evening experience.




Thank you to Brooke Unger from Bemu Films