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Old 14-12-2014, 09:09 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)

mental4astro is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: sydney, australia
Posts: 4,917
Dark sky and observing sites close to cities or towns around Australia

There have been many threads started asking about dark sky sites close to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, etc, within two hour’s drive. And these threads are repeated for the same city several times over.

Another problem with these threads, as some are several years old too, the information they contain can be very out of date. Public sites can become inaccessible or poor in quality and others open. Private properties can likewise open and close. And the is next to no information available about privately operated observatories which can provide much needed observing facilities to interstate and international visitors.

There in brings another level of complexity – information for visitors from interstate or international can have a difficult time finding relevant information to their needs.

This thread seeks to centralize the collective knowledge of the Ice In Space community about dark sky sites and observing areas surrounding cities and towns around Australia.

Please feel free to add sites, campgrounds, public and private facilities that all accommodate or cater for our astronomical interests. Also offer updates to listed locations with any changes to facilities or even share your experiences and any photos of the location.

To make things easier to follow, please follow this method of noting information:

Title: State, Region, Nearest Town, Name of Site
Eg: NSW, Sydney metro west, Kings Tableland
Eg: Victoria, Melbourne metro north, King Lake National Park

• Public or private
• Description of site and facilities
• Restrictions (e.g. no dogs, separate parking, subject to flooding, etc)
• Camping or no camping
• If public – address, directions to get there, distance time wise from CBD, GPS coords, etc, whatever information is required
• If private - best way to contact the owner (think about this people - do you really want your phone number published on a public forum? A PM to the relevant member of IIS would be best).

I’ll get the ball rolling with a location around Sydney.

NSW, Sydney west, Hargraves Lookout

• Public lookout over Megalong Valley in Blue Mountains
• Very exposed as it’s set on a ridge spur, but the view of the sky is very expansive. There is a large shelter between the car park and observing area and fireplaces. Its exposed situation can see it freezing in the depths of winter making fireplaces very welcome. When transparency is good, limiting magnitude can be dimmer than 6.5.
• Restrictions: parking 15meters away from observing area. Public transport as far as Blackheath train station, 8km from Hargraves Lookout BYO everything. Can be kangaroos, stock and other animals on road particularly at night, take care while driving. Very isolated.
• Approx 2.5hrs west from Sydney CBD
• Access is via Blackheath,
GPS co-ords: -33.676783,150.242579

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Notes: The sky on offer is excellent. Being some 900meters above sea level the glow of the Sydney light dome is greatly diminished, though Katoomba is close so lighting from it is more prominent. I’ve been to Hargraves Lookout in the middle of winter. It was the coldest I have ever been in my life! It is totally exposed so any wind coming through the valley is very cutting. Go prepared for the cold.

Last edited by mental4astro; 14-12-2014 at 09:43 PM.
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