The best places in Queensland to channel your inner space explorer and admire the incredible night sky.
Rubyvale Observatory, The Gemfields
Nestled in the heart of the central Queensland outback, The Gemfields is famous for its abundance of cobalt-blue sapphires. But that’s not the only sparkly thing about this region – the clear night sky is a perfect backdrop for stars so bright that they rival the gems and minerals that can be found in the area’s rich soil. Join a Gems by Day, Jewels by Night tour with the Rubyvale Observatory, where you’ll find yourself fossicking in the terracotta dirt for sapphires during the day, and observing colourful clusters of stars and galaxies come night.
The Jump-Up Dark Sky Sanctuary, Winton
In April 2019, the tiny town of Winton in the central Queensland outback was named Australia’s first certified Dark Sky Sanctuary, joining the ranks of only 14 other sites worldwide. The internationally recognised stargazer’s paradise is best viewed at The Jump-Up, located within the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum. Come here during the day to explore the world’s largest collection of Australian dinosaur fossils, and then once the sun sets and the skies turn dark, peer up through your own telescope or binoculars at the Orion Arm – a spiral from the Milky Way galaxy.
Yagurli Tours, Burketown
Bid goodbye to inland Queensland and head up north to Burketown, lying on the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria and nestled almost halfway between Darwin and Cairns. Here, the region feels as empty as the sky itself, characterised by vast, apricot-coloured desert plains dotted with green shrubs – much like how the surrounding sky’s darkness is brightened by twinkling galaxies and fiery stars. If you’re wanting to explore more of the region’s rich Indigenous culture (after a meal at Burketown Pub, of course!), then be sure to check out Indigenous-owned Yagurli Tours. The company offers a range of cultural tours, but the real star (no pun intended) is Yaliya’s Stories, where a local Gangalidda guide will take you out onto some of the country’s largest salt pans to admire the night sky.
To find out more about Queensland’s best stargazing spots, read the Spring 2022 edition of Caravanning Australia.
Image: Stargazing in Winton (C) Tourism and Events Queensland.