It’s a clear night at Alkina Lodge. Imagine stepping outside. Taking a deep breath. Looking up… Stargazing. There’s a vast, dark sky filled with a beautiful carpet of twinkling stars. We promise you’ll be awestruck.
Stargazing is a must-do experience if you get a clear night during your stay at Alkina Lodge. Our lodges are nestled in over 100 acres of native Australian bush. This means they’re far away from the city and far away from street lights. So, on a clear night, all you need to do is step outside to admire the night sky.
Our top tip is to give yourself at least 20 minutes outside first, so that your eyes can adjust to the darkness. Wrap up warm, make yourself a hot drink and find a comfortable spot to sit and watch.
When you do look up, be prepared to feel staggered by what you see. The Milky Way is usually clearly visible from Alkina Lodge. If you’re lucky you might spot a shooting star or two, and you may also be able to pick out the Southern Cross and other constellations. Ask to use our complimentary telescope and you might be able to spot some craters on the moon, and depending on the time of year you may even be able to view Saturn and Jupiter and its moons.
If you’re feeling adventurous, some people like to head out to the famous 12 Apostles for their stargazing experience. Alkina Lodge is only about 20 minutes drive from the 12 Apostles, but if you choose to drive in the dark please make sure you drive slowly, put your lights on high beam and watch out for kangaroos. Seeing the 12 Apostles by moonlight or under the Milky Way is always spectacular!
And when you’ve finished contemplating our incredible night sky, there’s a luxury bathtub and a big comfortable bed for you to fall into back at your lodge. Pure indulgence!
Here are a few astronomy facts and figures for you to think about while you’re gazing up at the night sky.
- The Milky Way is the Galaxy we live in. It contains our Sun and all the planets around it, and about 200 billion stars!
- The Milky Way is actually spiral shaped. It appears as a band across the sky to us because we’re viewing it from within the galaxy.
- Some Aboriginal Dreamtime stories say that the dark patches in the Milky Way represent a giant Emu in the sky.
- The Southern Cross is probably the most well known pattern in the Southern Hemisphere’s night sky. But did you know that its five stars are actually just a small part of the larger Crux constellation?
- It is believed that the five stars of the Southern Cross are somewhere between 10 and 20 million years old.
- The longer bar of the cross points almost exactly to the celestial South Pole.
Night Time Astronomy Photography Tips
A good photo of the night sky is always impressive. But it’s not always about having the most expensive equipment – you just need a bit of know-how. If you’d like to try it for yourself here are a few tips.
- If there’s a full moon, you may find that the light it emits overpowers the stars – so you’ll end up with fewer stars in your photo.
- A wide angle lens is essential, and a tripod is also useful for stability.
- Choose some foreground objects to include in your photo, like a rooftop or some trees, as these can add some perspective.
- You have a choice of capturing the stars as pinpricks or as star trails. If you want to keep them sharp you’ll need a shorter shutter speed. For star trails you’ll need to shoot in manual mode. Click this link for more advice on how to take the perfect star photos.
If you’re Instagramming your pictures, don’t forget to tag us with @AlkinaLodge – we’d love to see your astronomy photos!
And finally, if you’re looking for more photography inspiration, click here to read our blog post about how to take photos on the Great Ocean Road Don’t forget to check out the photo gallery on our website as well!
The Great Ocean Road is located in Victoria and stretches for 243 kms, starting at Torquay and ending near Warrnambool. How to get there depends on which part of the Great Ocean Road you’d like to visit. However, the most famous sights such as the 12 Apostles and Port Campbell National Park are located 275 kms west of Melbourne, approximately a 4 hour drive along the Great Ocean Road.