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Australian Astronomy, Observatory, Planetarium, Telescope – Tours and Visitor Centres

Updated on November 16, 2016
janderson99 profile image

John has traveled extensively has developed 5 website guides for touring Australia & Worldwide. John has developed travelers tips & tricks.

Australia has a fantastic collection of research, educational and educational Observatories, Planetariums and Telescopes.

Australia has been a world leader in astronomy research and has played a vital role in NASA’s manned missions to the moon.

There are many fabulous Visitor Centres and Tourist facilities throughout Australia where you can learn about the stars and the universe and explore the night’s sky using some of these facilities.

Find out about these wonderful facilities when you are planning a trip ‘Down Under’ and be sure to include these attractions in your itinerary.


The Sun

You can see and explore Australia's renowned beautiful crystal clear skies and see the unique the array of stars and planets in the Southern Hemisphere.

Many of the Government and Research Astronomical Facilities and Telescopes have fabulous Visitor Centres.

In addition there are many amateur groups and tourist centres that encourage visitors and provide their telescopes for visitors to use.

Australia's major Observatories are:

Mount Stromlo Observatory is located in the hills behind Canberra. Unfortunately it was severely damaged by bush fires, but it is being rebuilt.
The NASA funded Deep Space Network - or DSN for short - is an internationally located network of space antennas that provide support to interplanetary spacecraft missions and radio and also radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the universe and our Solar System. The network also supports selected Earth-orbiting missions, including the Apollo Manned Missions to the Moon. The DSN currently consists of 3 deep-space communications facilities located about 120 degrees apart in various part of the world: Goldstone, in California's Mojave Desert; near Canberra, in Australia and  near Madrid, in Spain.

The Canberra Space Centre is situated  at Tidbinbilla, about 36 kms south of Canberra. The Centre offers and fantastic education program offering visitors the opportunity to learn about the role that this Australian facility plays in the exploration of space. You can enjoy the magnificent views of the biggest antenna array in the southern hemisphere, see a unique piece of Moon rock that is over 3.8 billion years old, marvel at the latest images from Mars, see the spacecraft models, and the displays of real space hardware. Discover what the foods astronauts eat on the space shuttle and the international space station, see a fascinating a video on the history and future prospects for space exploration, take a virtual  trip around the Solar System or across the galaxy. You can also rest for a while, sit back and relax and enjoy the beautiful food available in the in the Moon Rock Cafe. Entry to the centre is free  and its open daily 7 days a week, between 9am & 5pm.

The Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), is part of the facilities at the renowned Paul Wild Observatory. It is a complex of six separate 22 m diameter antennas used for radio astronomy and observing deep into space. It is located about 24 km west of the rural township of Narrabri in NSW, which is about 500 km north-west of Sydney. The facility is operated by the Australia Telescope National Facility, which is a division of CSIRO Australia, which also includes the famous Parkes Observatory, the Headquarters situated at Marsfield in Sydney, and also the Mopra Observatory near Coonabarabran.

The Siding Spring Observatory is the biggest optical astronomy and space research facility in Australia. It is located about 30 km west of the townshipof Coonabarabran near the border of the magnificent Warrumbungle National Park in New South Wales. Visitors are urged to see and enjoy the displays in the Exploratory Centre which includes many hands on activities for the entire family and lots of fascinating information about the universe, the solar system. You can also learn about what its like to be an astronomers at the site. You can meet the staff and discuss their research with them. A great time to visit is for the Siding Spring Open Day which is held in October every year. This is  your chance to explore the entire site and talk with an astronomer about their research work.

Magellan Observatory - Offering public viewing of the stars at night. The site has beautiful dark and clear skies at night - just perfect strar-gazing. There is on-site accommodation and great facilities. It is located at 461 Covan Creek Road, Lake Bathurst, New South Wales. It is just 3 hours drive from Sydney surrounded by on 120 acres of beautiful countryside in the rolling hills of the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales in Australia. At an elevation of 780 metres, it is well away from city lights the views of the night sky through the 46cm diameter telescope are truly spectacular. During the day there are lots of local attractions including a wide variety of birdlife as well as wallabies, kangaroos, echidnas, wombats. Sometimes there are daytime observations of various planets and the sun. You can join the exclusive 'Sky Tours' which provide longer views through the telescope and allow you to see a lot more through one of the largest telescopes open for public viewing.

The Anglo-Australian Observatory - The AAO operates the UK Schmidt and Anglo-Australian telescopes for the astronomical societies and groups in the UK and Australia and the UK. The Observatory is funded jointly by the British and Australian Governments. It offers world-class astronomy facilities for optical astronomers from both British and Australian. It also includes infrared observing facilities. The AAO is a renowned world leader in astronomical research, particularly in research and development of new and highly innovative instrumentation for telescopes.

Parkes Radio Telescope -  The Parkes Radio Telescope has an excellent and renowned Visitor's Centre, that is very popular with visitors. The radio telescope was the Star of the movie 'The Dish', and it is still a world class instrument used by international astronomers to explore the Universe.

Wollongong Science Centre and Planetarium - is owned and operated by the University of Wollongong. The very popular Planetarium and Science Centre has many fascinating exhibits that are very popular with tourists. The Planetarium, which seats 70 guests,  allows visitors to see how the planets and the stars appear in the sky from any location on Earth. The star-view and be set to any time from thousands of years ago in the long gone past,  to thousands of years in the future.

Melbourne Planetarium - is a fascinating part of the popular Scienceworks Museum in Melbourne at in Spotswood. This spectacular educational facility features a 16m diameter domed ceiling, a truly stunning sound system that surrounds you in sound, and the high-tech the Sky-Skan's wonderful DigitalSky projection system and has comfortable reclining seats. This stunning video projection system displays images on the half-sphere dome overhead with extremely high-resolution video image. The result is  a fabulous colour display and movement like you will never have seen before. It creates a unique experience that immerses you in the virtual universe and provides a truly awe-inspiring astronomical experience.

The Perth Observatory - is the longest running continuously operating professional observatory in Australia and Western Australia's best astronomical facility.

It is situated about 25 km east of Perth, and has as a major information, educational and internationally recognised research centre for over 100 years.

This is a fantastic place for children to learn all about the planets, space and the universe.

© janderson99-HubPages

List of Telescopes and Observatories in Austarlia

Canopus Hill Observatory
(University of Tasmania site)
La Trobe University Space Physics Field Station
(Beveridge, Victoria.)
Mount Burnett
(Monash University site, Melbourne, Victoria)
Mount Kent Observatory
(near Toowoomba, Queensland)
Nepean Astronomy Centre
(Nepean, Sydney, NSW)
Perth Observatory
(Bickley, Western Australia)
Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
(Toowong, Queensland)
Sydney Observatory
(Observatory Hill, Sydney, NSW)
Cangaroo International Astrophysical Observatory
(Woomera, South Australia)
UWA Southern Cross Cosmos Centre, Gravity Discovery Centre & AIGO
(Gingin, Western Australia)
Briars Astronomical Education Centre
(Astronomical Society of Frankston, Victoria.)
Green Point Observatory
(Sutherland Astronomical Society, Sydney, New South Wales)
Koolang Observatory
(Bucketty, near Newcastle, New South Wales)
Linden Observatory
(Blue Mountains near Sydney, New South Wales)
Mt Tarana Observatory Mr Colin Bembrick
(Napoleon Reef, Walang near Bathurst New South Wales)
Taylor Range Observatory
(The Gap, Brisbane Queensland)
Stockport Observatory
(Astronomical Society of South Australia, near Adelaide)
Grove Creek Observatory
(near Bathurst New South Wales)
Darby's Falls Observatory
(Darby's Falls, New South Wales)
Barrier Reef Observatory
(Hamilton Island, Queensland)
Lakewood Observatory
(Frankston Victoria)
Burwood Club Observatory
(Astronomical Society of Victoria)
Heathcote Observatory
(Astronomical Society of Victoria)
Old Melbourne Observatory
(Astronomical Society of Victoria)
Canberra Planetarium and Observatory
(Dickson Australian Capital Territory)
Douglas Scrub Observatory
(Astronomical Society of South Australia, near Adelaide)
Cambroon Observatory
(Kenilworth, Queensland)
Ballaarat Municipal Observatory
(Ballarat, Victoria)
Boambee Observatory
(Boambee New South Wales)
Bathurst Observatory
(Bathurst New South Wales)
Hazelwood Observatory
(Hazelwood South Victoria)
The Heights School Observatory
(Adelaide South Australia)
Tetoora Observatory
(Tetoora Victoria)
Muhlenberg College Observatory Shobbrook
(Coonbarabran New South Wales)
Macedon Ranges Observatory
(Woodend Victoria)
ARA Observatory
(Weston Australian Capital Tetrritory)
Twinstar Guesthouse Observatory
(Ballandean Queensland)
Kirby Observatory
(UNE and Northern Tablelands Astronomical Society, Armidale New South Wales)
Crago Observatory
(Astronomical Society of NSW, Bowen Mountain New South Wales)

© 2010 Dr. John Anderson


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  • janderson99 profile image

    Dr. John Anderson 6 years ago from Australia on Planet Water



  • profile image

    kay grogan 6 years ago

    I waant to find out how to get to theh Koolang Observatory and its hours etc = This site does not deem useful tome- Can someone help?

  • brennawelker profile image

    brennawelker 6 years ago

    Australia is always best when it comes to astronomy.