The 2021 Tour Season is now open for bookings
NightSkySecrets have been conducting astronomy tours & presentations across Northern Australia since 2009. Our specialty is tours featuring an aboriginal perspective on the southern skies and viewing the deep sky through large Aperture Telescopes.
To book or enquire contact us by email
Click on the button below for Tour Dates
Click on the button below to book a tour
(subject to change and will be confirmed at time of booking)
Tour Outline & Timing:
Tours are conducted to coincide with a moonless or near moonless sky and sometimes special celestial events such as planetary conjunctions, Comets, Nova Stars and more. So come along on one of our unique tours and delve deep into the hidden mysteries of the Southern Sky. Our seasonal tours are run in Far North Qld from April until November each year & are naturally weather dependent. Available Tour Dates are selected from 3 days after the full moon to 3 days after the new moon to give an essentially moonless sky & the deep sky observing opportunities that brings. Typically on a Monday, Wednesday & Friday nights. However private tours can be arranged outside of these times under a moonlit sky, where the focus will be on the Moon, Constellations, Planets, star clusters & stars. Such as are visible under a moonlit sky.
* Private tours can also be arranged between December & March, but are usually arranged on short notice (3 days prior) due to highly variable Buildup and wet season conditions.
We will be ensuring hand sanitisation on arrival, hand washing prior to meals with soap and water, disinfection of all dining surfaces prior to and following meals, we will as always, use Eco-Friendly disposable plates, cups and cutlery and perform regular cleaning of the shared telescopes. Of course we will maintain 1.5m social distancing between the participants and ourselves. All tours will be self drive until Covid-19 restrictions are eased. Within all of this there is plenty of opportunity for the same relaxing, informative and we hope entertaining tours we always provide.
Who are our Tour Participants:
For now our guests are from all over Queensland, Australia & perhaps NZ until a further lifting of COVIDSafe restrictions.
We have had guests join us from all around the world, including (so far) UK, USA, Japan, China, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea & Finland to name a few as well as our Local and interstate visitors. Our tour participants range from those who have never seen a clear & unpolluted night sky to experienced professional astronomers.
Tour Costs & Packages *
Children: $80 (6-15 y.o)
Family Astro: $380
You Both & 2 Mates: $480
*(all tours are weather dependant)
What we do on our tours:
- Viewing from our dark sky outback location on the beautiful 5000 acre property “Kanjini”, 1 hr from Cairns CBD.
- A meal shared at sunset, over astronomical discussion.
- Share Aboriginal Astronomy Stories and Lore along with astronomy tales from the ancient world at large.
- We reveal hidden Nebula, Galaxies, Star Clusters & Planets with large aperture telescopes & a guided tour.
- Tours cater for the curious, through to the experienced Astronomer seeking to see the delights of our North Australian skies.
- Tours are Either self Drive Tag-a-long with a meeting point on the tablelands near Kay Rd off the Kennedy Highway between Kuranda and Mareeba (see Attached Map), or small van or coach for dedicated group tours (by arrangement), returning to Cairns by 10:30pm
- Usual cost for transfers is $35 per person (Currently unavailable)
- Tours are a small group experience limited to 12 guests plus our staff for a personalised & in depth exploration of the secrets of the night sky. (Our minimum is for 4 guests on any tour night)
- Tours that are currently confirmed with guests & available to directly book online can be found Here at TryBooking, however please contact us FIRST if you require transfers, as this is a separate service.
Google Map link & Google Street View image for self Drive tour meeting point corner of Kay Rd and the Kennedy Hwy :
Garma Festival – Aboriginal Astronomy Tour Group
Some of our current & past Clients include:
- Over 120 Dinner tours since the 2016 season
- Juramali Rock Art tours
- Sunlover Cruises – Sunlover by Starlight
- Viking Cruises
- Cunard Lines Cruises
- The Capta Group – RainForest Station
- Kanjini Community FNQ
- Yothu Yindi Foundation – Garma Festival
- Northern Beaches & Edge Hill Scouts
- Whitfield State School
- Eclipse Chasers for the 2012 Cairns Total Eclipse
- Peace Lutheran College (Cairns)
- Nhulunbuy Christian college
- Nhulunbuy High School
- Cairns Hinterland Stiener School
- 3 Rivers Foundation
- Wallaby Creek Festival Association
- Laynhapuy Homeland’s association (NT)
We have conducted Astronomy tours each year since 2009 at the World renowned Garma Festival of Indigenous culture in North East Arnhemland for the Yothu Yindi Foundation, with over 400 people taken on on tours most years.
If you are planning a tour around astronomy viewing, it is best conducted around the time of the “New Moon” each month. This is from 3 days after the full moon to 3 days after the New Moon. This is for the dark skies this gives, allowing faint Galaxies and Nebula to be seen. Tours are conducted with 8″ – 10″ or 12″ reflecting telescopes typically, but we may be able to customise this for specialist tours for Astrophotography or Very Large Aperture viewing upon request (additional cost)
Ian Maclean - Astronomy Bio:
Ian Maclean is an experienced Astronomy presenter from Northern Australia with a wealth of experience in Astronomy tours, educational outreach programs & working in indigenous communities. Ian runs seasonal Astronomy dinner tours in Far North Queensland Australia and is a guest presenter at the World Renowned Garma Festival of Indigenous culture in the Northern Territory. He is a regular correspondent in local media on all things Astronomical and an expert in optics. Ian’s work in Arnhemland NT has been recognised with a Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship, he is a Member of the Australian Planetarium Society & a Fellow of the British Royal Astronomical Society.
Ian believes astronomy should be understandable and accessible to everyone and weaves this belief into his presentations to draw the listener along on an entertaining and informative journey that will make you look at the universe in a different way. He can show you how to use simple and often inexpensive tools to enhance your view and understanding of the night sky and its relationship to our history, the present and our future. Join Ian for a presentation or tour and you will never look at the night sky in quite the same way again.
We welcome your enquiry for one of our regular tours, your specialised astronomy tour, private tour or astronomy presentation.
Thank you so much for the tour you gave us in Mareeba. It was an amazing experience for me because I have never seen the stars like this in my life. Also can‘t thank enough for the support your friend Carlton gave me with my camera to find the right settings and focus for taking my first pictures of stars! Thanks to that, they came out pretty well!The dinner and sitting by the fire afterwards was also nice as it was getting colder.I can highly recommend this tour to everyone interested in astronomy and photography. It is an unforgettable experience!
Mako from Japan
Our Partners & Recommendations:
To find accommodation nearby, visit HotelsCombined
Tour Booking & Cancellation policy:
- Tours are subject to minimum number of guests before confirmation is given.
- Tour payment is in full at time of booking.
- If a tour is cancelled due to unsuitable weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances by NightSkySecrets, the full tour cost is refunded to the participant. Or an alternate night can be offered if suitable.
- Tours are only usually cancelled if there is a high probability of rain or total cloud cover.
- If the tour participant cancels prior to 48hrs before the tour 80% is refunded. If cancelled by the participant prior to 24 hours before the tour 50% is refunded. If inside 24hrs there is no refund given.
To book or enquire contact us by email
Or call us on 1300 THE SKY (1300 843 759) or see us in store Monday to Friday at Shop 3 / 321 Sheridan St (Cnr Smith St)
We also conduct private personalised tours for individuals, couples, school groups, scout groups, & many more interest groups.