5 top parks for stargazing in South Australia
There’s nothing quite like spending a night under the stars. Here are five top spots to camp and stargaze in SA.
South Australia’s national parks have such beautiful landscapes, it’s easy to forget to look up and feast your eyes on the astronomical delights of the night sky.
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.
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.
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 one of these secluded campgrounds.
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.
5. Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park
Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park is not only home to the Australia’s largest salt lake, but is also one of the darkest locations in Australia. Although high altitudes are ideal for stargazing, Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre National Park is an exception to the rule.
The park is 15 m below sea level – Australia’s lowest point – which makes it one of the darkest spots in the country. The large, flat salt lake will ensure unobstructed views and when the lake is full, the water reflects the stars from above, creating an absolutely spectacular sight.
Experience the awe-inspiring stark wilderness of the park at night by setting up camp at Halligan Bay Point Campground and let the sky put on a show for you – make sure you keep a wish up your sleeve as you might even see a shooting star!
Just getting started on your stargazing journey? Check out these pointers and tips fromABC’s Stargazing for Beginnersseries.
(Main image of Lincoln National Park courtesy of@Johnwhitephotos, Instagram)
This story was originally posted in June 2018.