Everyone from classic rock stars to Polynesian explorers have waxed romantic about the Southern Cross constellation, and at the Carter Observatory above downtown Wellington, visitors can gaze right up toward the heavens to witness the iconic star pattern. Peacefully embedded within the Wellington Botanical Gardens, the Carter Observatory is the capital’s best site for discovering the southern sky’s beauty. Inside, learn about solar flares and cosmic hurricanes, and feel free to ask the deepest questions of our galaxy. Is anyone else out there?
The Carter Observatory makes an entertaining visit for anyone with an interest in space. In addition to the informative displays that discuss all sides of the universe, there are two historic high-powered telescopes that raise their eye to the sky. As long as the weather permits, visitors
can spend evenings craning their necks skywards at the stars. From asteroids and meteors to distant worlds that seem to be flecks against a blanket of black, there is an energizing amount of celestial charm in Wellington’s rolling hills.
To reach the Carter Observatory from Wellington, either make the short drive from the Central Business District or ride on the popular cable car. Tickets to the Southern Skies exhibition cost $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students and $5 for children between the ages of 4 and 16. Planetarium show prices vary. The observatory is open daily from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and on Monday. There are extended hours on Tuesday, Saturday (9:30 p.m.) and Sunday (5:30 p.m.).