Best places to stargaze in NSW
Updated: Aug 25, 2020
We all know that spending time outdoors is great for mental and physical health. With so much time being spent inside these days, many of us are itching to get outside, experience new things, explore new places. Stargazing is an awesome, safe option, as it’s possible to see stars without even leaving your backyard, or balcony. It requires only a clear sky, a rug to lie on, and your eyes. You just need to look up, and to continue looking up for a little while. You’ll be amazed by what you can see.
Photo credit Adrian Mascenon/NSW National Parks and Wildlife
Have you ever slept right under the stars? One of my favourite things to do on the weekend is get away from the city and drive a couple of hours to camp or stay somewhere where there’s few people but nice dark skies. Travel restrictions permitting, I recommend planning a road trip to go camping and sleep under the milky way away from all the city lights.
Check out my favourite camping spots in NSW for your next stargazing adventure:
1. Greenman's campground, Hawkesbury River
1hr drive from Sydney
This campground is not too far from Sydney (very close if you live on the north side of the city!), and is truly a little hidden gem! It’s located right on the Hawkesbury River and is a great spot to spend a lazy weekend. After nightfall, head down to the jetty and watch the stars reflect off the river as they rotate overhead.
Photo credit www.greenmans.com.au
2. Upper Colo campground
1hr40min drive from Sydney
This campground is great for families with young kids. Just a short bush walk down from the campsite is a shallow, sheltered section of the Colo River. Bring your pool noodles and spend a leisurely afternoon floating down the river’s current, before sitting by the campfire in the evening, looking for shooting stars overhead.
Photo credit @by-morgsjames/Barrington Tops Tourism
3. Warrambungle National Park
6hr drive from Sydney
With increasing light pollution all across the world, a truly dark night sky is becoming hard to find. But drive just 6 hours from Sydney and you’ll find what is arguably one of the best places to go stargazing in NSW - the Warrumbungle National Park.
With little to no light pollution visible here, the Warrumbungle National Park is an International Dark Sky Association “Dark Sky Park”. It is the first place in Australia (and the Southern Hemisphere!) to hold this title.
Being a Dark Sky Park means the Warrumbungles is internationally recognised to have exceptionally dark skies and nocturnal environments. Through actively reducing light pollution, NSW Parks and Wildlife ensures the area is protected for it’s scientific, natural, educational and cultural heritage, as well as for the public’s enjoyment.
The surrounding environment here is unbelievable, like nothing else. I’d recommend taking some time to do the 4hr Grand High Tops walk, which loops around the iconic “Breadknife”. The Breadknife is a peculiar rock formation; very tall and very narrow. It was created millions of years ago when the Warrumbungle area was a highly active volcanic region and a burst of hot magma flowed through a soft rock. Today, the soft rock has eroded away, but the hardened magma remains in a 90m tall shaft towering over the surrounding rolling hills and valleys.
Come for some of the brightest, clearest stars you’ll ever see; stay for the equally phenomenal landscapes and bushwalking.
Photo credit Robert Mulally/NSW National Parks and Wildlife
4. Broken Hill
13hr drive from Sydney
I absolutely love Broken Hill! I first travelled through here in 2010 and was blown away by the landscapes, histories, cultures, and how bloody wide the streets in town are! This is where I first got a taste for the outback side of Australia, and I was hooked! While you’re here, I would highly recommend spending at least one night at “The Palace” - one of the most iconic hotels in Australia, most well known for its feature in the classic film “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”. There are so many kangaroos around Broken Hill, so be especially careful if driving in or out of town at dawn or dusk. I'll be honest, getting here is a bit of a trek but that's half the fun, and in the end it’s so worth it. International and intrastate travel is off the cards for the next little while, so now is your chance to see your very own state! A long road trip into the depths of the NSW outback will reward you with unbelievable landscapes and crystal clear night skies.
Photo credit Broken Hill Outback Resort