Twinkle Dark Sky Tours
Twinkle Dark Sky Tours
5
About
We’re Jen and Al, and we’ve been living under the dark skies of Stewart Island/Rakiura for five years. Jen is from Canada and has been charged by a grizzly bear and Al is a 'space nerd' from Yorkshire in the UK. We met on Rakiura in 2015 and got married here in 2020. We’ve been stargazing together since a trip to Aoraki/Mt Cook when Al pointed out the centre of the Milky Way galaxy. We became Dark Sky Ambassadors in September 2020 and we're excited to share the Dark Sky Sanctuary with you!
Stewart Island, New Zealand

Awards
Travellers' Choice
2023

Why book with Twinkle Dark Sky Tours
  • Al has a BSc Neuroscience Degree from Edinburgh; Jen has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Calgary
  • Al has been a space nerd for as long as he can remember. He's been a keen amateur astronomer since childhood and used to spend evenings sketching lunar craters and Jupiter's moons. Jen is learning.
  • English
Travellers talk about
(14 reviews)
(5 reviews)
(8 reviews)

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles43 reviews
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Miriam
Auckland, New Zealand7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Friends
Professional, well informed host who delighted in communicating about the universe, galaxy, nebula, planets et al. Comfortable chairs with blankets and hot water bottles and hot chocolate near end of tour. Each person was given good binoculars and his 10 inch scope was a nice addition to out viewing. It was easy to look through and we were all able to access it for each new view. We were collected and dropped off at our accommodation. Suggestion that perhaps the chairs could face the direction being viewed initially, in our case the moon and Jupiter.
Written 21 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Karen T
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Wow!

Al (tour guide and astronomer extraordinaire) picked us up on our third attempt to see Stewart Islands Dark Sky Sanctuary - internationally accredited in 2019.

This trip is a once in a lifetime experience (although we’d happily do it again). We were not hugely knowledgeable about the night sky and Al patiently explained so many aspects in a way that we could easily understand.

Alternating between viewing the night sky on his binoculars, telescope and the naked eye he pointed out so many interesting stars, constellations, nebulas, the Magellanic clouds and much more. Seeing the Milky Way and Jupiter with some of its moons was a highlight.

The Aurora (a new interest of mine) didn’t show on our night but Al still explained at length all about the phenomena.

You do all of this stargazing in a remote, special location in the comfort of a luxe camping chair complete with hot water bottle, blankets and hot drinking chocolates in a kiwi (New Zealand) style enamel mug.

Al (and Jen) have really thought of everything in creating this personalised tour and providing their customers with such a special and memorable experience.

It was honestly mind blowing taking on board his extensive knowledge, insights to the future and passion for our sharing our beautiful country’s night sky.

Al - you are a wonderful ambassador for Stewart Island and New Zealand.

Put this tour on your bucket list.
Written 3 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

melissa r
7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Solo
I did this tour on a bit of a whim, and had zero regrets. Al was extremely knowledgeable, very funny and clearly has a passion for the night sky. I learned so much, and I had no idea how much we could see! Al answered all of my questions, and explained it in a very easy to understand way (physics is not my forte). He thought of everything and had such cozy touches such as a very comfortable chair, a warm wooly blanket, hot water bottle and hot chocolate!
Some of the highlights included seeing the stripes on Jupiter and 4 of its moons, Alpha centauri (A and B!); the Carina nebula and the Orion Nebula; the Wishing Well cluster, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (including the Tarantula nebula) and the globular cluster 47 Tucanae! AND Al was also able to identify the birds we were hearing while we were out! Including both male and female kiwis and a morepork! It was honestly the highlight of my trip to Stewart Island, I’ve already recommended this tour to any friends of mine who are thinking of going to SI.
Written 16 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Emeline
Auckland, New Zealand3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
We booked a tour with Twinkle Dark Sky on Stewart Island during our trip there in mid-november.
We had a final confirmation 1 hour before the expected time of the tour (which is obviously weather-dependent). Al came directly to our hotel and took us to the stargazing place.

He is such an amazing person, he has a lot of knowledge about the sky but also about the fauna of Stewart Island. He's so passionate and fascinating.
He gave us a lot of explanations about the stars and constellations that we saw but we learnt also about the scream of the kiwis and the ruru (NZ Owl). And we saw a little blue penguin on our way back to the hotel that night.

Unfortunately, 1 hour after the 2h-tour began, the clouds were covering the sky so we were no longer able to see anything... What a surprise when Al proposed us to postpone our tour to another day! So he came back 3 days later to pick us up and we actually got the whole 2 hours we were supposed to get the first time. 3 hours of star gazing in total!

Even more, he sent us a mail directly after the tour with all of the objects that we saw in the night sky (which is really cool because most of the time it's difficult to remember).

We definitely recommend this tour to anyone who wants to learn about the stars, the wildlife.... in Stewart Island!
Written 19 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bryncat
New Zealand21 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
We went on this tour on 17 November 2023. It was one of the absolute highlights of our Rakiura holiday. Al picked us up from our accommodation, and took great care of us for the whole evening, even detouring to do some kiwi spotting on the way home. It was cold, but we were cosy and after a short rain shower the sky cleared and we had a magical view of the heavens. Al taught us so much, and shared his enthusiasm with us all. Don't miss this tour!
Written 18 December 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

W8677INrachell
Lower Hutt, New Zealand14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Friends
We came as a private group of 3 friends on 5th November.

Who needs boring old fireworks when Aurora Australis is out for a play?

Firstly we rugged up and gazed at Jupiter, Saturn, Alpha Centauri, Sirius, Crux and other objects in the night sky. Al has a passion for astronomy and a real talent for explaining complex concepts in an accessible way!

Stargazing alone in such a special location would have been amazing but we were lucky enough to see a KP-7 grade Aurora which put on a show for hours. I got some absolutely amazing photos!

Would wholeheartedly recommend Twinkle Dark Sky Tours to anyone visiting Stewart Island. Thanks so much!
Written 6 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GoPlaces66019756331
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Friends
Beautiful clear sky with amazing views of the night sky.
Learnt and saw amazing astronomy. Asked heaps of questions all of which could be answered. Highly recommend this tour
Written 25 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kotuku33
Beach Haven, New Zealand24 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023
We took this tour in April and just loved it. It was the highlight of our short time on Stewart Island. He was so interesting and we learned a lot. Great service all round with transfers, hot chocolate, hot water bottle, blankets and comfortable seats. Bravo.
Written 6 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

N Kuek
10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023
What better way to experience this Dark Sky Sanctuary? It was just the experience I was looking for. I did this in winter and there's nothing better than watching the night sky in comfort - I was provided with a walkthrough of our galaxy and beyond, a seat, woollen blanket, hot water bottle, hot chocolate, and answers to my questions. Al's narrative of the night sky was excellent, making the facts meaningful and memorable. Al also had great equipment that really enhanced the stargazing experience. I was picked up and dropped off from my accommodation, so very convenient on an island with limited means of transportation. The whole experience was very special. Compliments to Al.
Written 5 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steven B
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Couples
Al picked us up from our hotel and we had a magical night exploring the night sky. We saw the Milky Way as a cloud like cluster of stars - you simply CANNOT do this in a city - you need a dark sky reserve. Al answered all our questions and we got to see binary stars, galaxies and nebulas. All while we were wrapped up warm in the blankets he supplied and with hot water bottles - they thought of everything. Memorable night and then Al dropped us back home - great service!
Written 15 June 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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TWINKLE DARK SKY TOURS (Stewart Island) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go