Wednesday 29 September 2010

Gazing into the Stars

Grand Pacific Tours, the New Zealand Luxury Coach Holiday specialist, is offering travellers the opportunity to enjoy an amazing stargazer's experience combined with the scenic beauty of New Zealand, a land blessed with some of the clearest skies in the world.

Available for the first time ever, departing 12 June 2011, the 9 Day Astronomy Tour offers avid stargazers and those with an interest in the celestial heavens the chance to learn more about the fascinating skies visible from New Zealand, whilst providing the ideal environment for viewing the Southern Hemispheres eclectic array of satellites, constellations, planets, moons and celestial objects.

Grand Pacific Tours has been fortunate to secure the services of experienced astronomer and space presenter 'Astro' Dave Reneke to lead the tour and share his intimate knowledge with you. Dave is a respected editor and writer for a number of publications including Space News Magazine and the Australasian Science Magazine. With over 40 years' experience in astronomy and links to some of the world's leading astronomical institutions, Dave has developed a unique and interesting style of presenting guaranteed to enlighten your knowledge and engage your awareness of the night skies and beyond.

A feature of the tour will be the visit to Tekapo, where Astro Tourists are flocking to see why this boutique township is seeking approval from UNESCO to be the first "Starlight Reserve". Its purpose is a commitment to preserve and defend the quality of the night sky and its associated values - be they cultural, scientific, natural or landscape related. The concept of a Starlight Reserve goes further than the mere protection of the site's astronomical integrity. It aims to recover and identify existing values related to the night sky, encompassing landscape, nature, opportunities for science, astrotourism and in general, the vast arena of cultural heritage — tangible and intangible.

A unique inclusion of the tour is visits to 3 amazing observatories throughout New Zealand, The R.F. Joyce Observatory in Christchurch; Mt John Observatory in Tekapo and the Carter Observatory in Wellington where a farewell dinner is included.

In Wellington a visit to Te Papa, the National Museum, is also included where Guides will explain the relevance of 'Matariki' a cluster of stars also known as Pleiades and what is referred to as the traditional Maori New Year. This event is becoming more and more important on the New Zealand astronomical calendar and one that will leave visitors with a deeper impression of Maori Culture. Another unique eco attraction included is Zealandia, located just minutes from the central city, where New Zealand's incredible natural history & conservation movement are brought to life with a state of the art indoor exhibition & 225ha eco-sanctuary.

For more information on these packages contact Grand Pacific Tours on 1800 622 768 or

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