New Zealand is one of only three countries in the world to have a Gold Rated International Dark Sky Reserve – the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve on the South Island. This dark sky reserve is the biggest in the world, it includes the Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and the villages of Lake Tekapo, Twizel and Mt Cook. It is almost totally free from light pollution and one is of the best stargazing sites on earth to view planets, stars and solar systems. If you are lucky, and the conditions are right, you will be able to see the impressive natural wonder, an electric phenomenon, Aurora australis (also known as the southern lights) which takes the shape of a curtain of light, or a diffuse glow; which is most often green, sometimes red and other colors.
On clear dark nights, when the moon is thin or below the horizon, a band of what looks like white dust, the Milky Way, can be seen. The Milky Way is brighter in the Southern Hemisphere than in the North. Check out the amazing photos taken at Lake Tekapo (3 hours from Christchurch). I have not seen so many stars before in my life.
Lake Tekapo is 3 hours from Christchurch, far from all civilisation. Soon after, the sun set and the dazzling night sky too over Lake Tekapo. Untainted by any light pollution, it was a magnificent sight. The isolation and flat plains provided a beautiful clear sky that offers unparalleled views of the stars. Incorporate this with the famous historical Church of the Good Shepherd in the background, they present the perfect and most iconic backdrop for New Zealand. Lake Tekapo is part of a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, this is probably the best spot for stargazing in the Southern hemisphere.