On clear nights, you may be able to spot a few stars in central Sydney, but like most big cities, light pollution will keep the full celestial wonders of the night sky obscured. Fortunately, you don't have to travel very far out of the city to improve your view.
Once you've escaped the glare of the street lamps and skyscrapers, neon signs and highrise apartments, you'll be treated to a light show of truly cosmic proportions. A good pair of binoculars can reveal even more celestial wonders if you haven't got access to a telescope – just be careful you don't trespass on private property.
Why not spend a few nights under the stars at one of the best campgrounds near Sydney?
It may not be the darkest sky given you’re right in the city, but they’ve got powerful and historic equipment, including the oldest working telescope in Australia. The Observatory has reopened to the public since June 2020, but due to capacity restrictions IRL tours are not currently running. However, the Observatory's free livestream series on the last Saturday of the month is beaming high-profile and inspiring astrophysicists to your home, including Gamilaraay woman Karlie Noon, professor Lisa Harvey, and Dr Devika Kamath. Check for livestream events here.
Watson Rd, Millers Point 2000. https://maas.museum/sydney-observatory/
Airports tend to be isolated and have minimal lights on at night, so are good places for checking out the stars. The best spots are the areas of the airport where golf courses come up to the boundary fence.
3 Avro St, Bankstown 2000.
Mangrove Mountain is a great spot to check out the stars if you aren't looking to travel too far out of the city itself. It’s an hour and a half from the city, inland from the Central Coast near Peats Ridge, with the viewing benefits of altitude.
Mangrove Mountain 2250.
Located 45 minutes north of the CBD, this is one of the closest stargazing spots to the city you’re going to find. The football oval on the edge of the national park is a great place to start. You’ll have no problem spotting Orion, which will help lead you to other constellations. Mount Ku-ring-gai Oval, Brisbane Ave, Mount Kuring-gai 2080.
Viewing nights take place here through the Northern Sydney Astronomical Society on the Saturdays before and after the new moon. Visitors are invited to at least one viewing night every month
JJ Melbourne Hills Memorial Reserve, Terrey Hills 2084. https://nsas.org.au/observing/
Set on the fringes of Wollemi National Park in the Blue Mountains, this dark sky sanctuary is the pride and joy of the Astronomical Society of NSW. They usually hold several stargazing sessions on suitable weekends throughout the year, although they are temporarily on hiatus at present. However, the ASNSW generously encourages star seekers to arrange private excursions with accredited members in the meantime.