If you’re interested in seeing something different but don’t have the budget or the patience to go into space, here are four of the best space-related places to go to in our very own country.
The Southern Lights, Tasmania
Although the Northern Lights are the more famous, it’s possible to see the same glowing night skies in the southern hemisphere — which is great for those of us who live there.
Like with the Northern Lights, the Southern Lights are visible from many places across the world.
Antarctica is a great (if not expensive) place to see them, as are southern Argentina, Chile and New Zealand.
However, they’re also visible in Australia, in parts of Victoria and Tasmania. The best chance of seeing them is at Mount Wellington, outside Hobart, around the equinoxes in March and September.
Parkes Observatory, NSW
There are many incredible observatories around the world, but perhaps none so special as the one in Parkes, a town that’s a five-hour drive west from Sydney.
Parkes has been prominent in many space missions, most notably Apollo 11’s trip to the moon. Although the first pictures of Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk were broadcast via an observatory near Canberra, the vast majority of the astronauts’ time on the moon came to Earth through Parkes.
This page in history was memorialised in the 2000 film The Dish and you can find out more about this (and other achievements) at the Parkes Observatory Visitors Centre.
Wolfe Creek Crater, WA
Although the name is better known for the 2005 horror film, Wolfe Creek where space has left one of its biggest impressions on Earth.
Wolfe Creek crater is the impact site of a meteor, believed to be the second largest in the world behind one in Arizona. The crated is almost 900m wide and is thought to have been made around 300,000 years ago.
Getting to the crater is a bit tricky. Located close to the border with Northern Territory, Wolfe Creek is a little bit isolated. The closest airport, Halls Creek, is only serviced by flights from Perth and then when you land, you’ll need to hire a car to travel the 150km to the national park.
See the stars, NT
Although we can’t yet fly among the stars, we can gaze at them longingly.
This is best done away from the light pollution of the big cities, so heading into the outback is the best way to fill your night sky with as many stars as possible.
If you want to see the stars in all their glory, taking a trip to the centre of Australia and doubling it up with visits to Uluru and King’s Canyon is a great way to see the best of the country and of space.
Lake Hillier, WA
There are plenty of landscapes in Australia, and WA in particular, that look extraterrestrial. From the strange formations like Wave Rock, the domed mountains at Bungle Bungle or the fossilised forests called The Pinnacles, there are plenty of other-worldly landscapes to witness.
Also in Western Australia, but by no means close to Wolfe Creek Crater, is Lake Hillier. This destination is perhaps the most bizarre looking of the lot.
The reason for this is simple. Rather than having a blue hue like we expect for water, Lake Hillier has a distinctive pink colour. Wondering how this bubblegum lake got its hue? We dive into what gives Australia’s pink lakes their distinctive colour.