NASA/courtesy of
NASA/courtesy of

Visiting Us

 E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga karangaranga maha

Tena koutou tena koutou tena koutou katoa.

Nau mai, haere mai ki te Ara Whānui ki te Rangi

We welcome you to Carter Observatory where we aim to inspire you through the stories we tell of our southern skies.

A visit to Carter includes our multimedia exhibition and a show in our digital full-dome planetarium. We recommend you allow yourself at least 1 1/2 hours to enjoy the full Carter experience.  Please note that children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Pelorus Trust Planetarium

Take a journey to space in the Pelorus Trust Planetarium, a state of the art, digital experience that will take you on a virtual space journey, from Wellington to some of the outer regions of our own Solar System and beyond.

This is a special domed theatre, set with reclined seats that allow you to relax, lean back and take in a very different view of the sky above you, day or night.

You'll have Carter Observatory staff with you who can answer your burning questions about our Southern Skies. Shows finish with a guided tour of that night's sky.

Planetarium shows are listed here.

The Exhibit

Our interactive exhibition begins with the story of Space, Time and Matter - the sheer scale of the Universe, the Big Bang, and an interpretation of how our world began. You'll also hear the Māori story of creation, experience a gravity well and examine the possibility of life on other planets!

Travel through Carter's very own Black Hole into our Solar System. You will learn all about the planets that surround us, New Zealand's astronomy community and our Southern Skies. You can even handle an actual space rock, encounter an interactive digital solar system, launch a rocket, watch video stories and learn at your own pace.

Matariki and the role of the stars in Māori New Year is explained, alongside Polynesian and Māori astronavigation. Become absorbed in the journey of Māori from Hawaii to Aotearoa New Zealand, and learn how Maui caught the Sun.

European aspects of early navigation, particularly the astronomical aspects of Captain Cook's visits, including early time keeping and astronomy in New Zealand are displayed in our stunning library that also houses a treasure trove of books and materials from across centuries and around the world.

Telescope Viewing

Public telescope viewings are held using the Thomas Cooke telescope on our late nights, Tuesday and Saturday, as weather permits.

Contact details

phone: +64 4 910 3140

Carter Observatory, PO Box 893, Wellington 6140

See a map of how to find us