University of Canterbury Mt. John Observatory

University of Canterbury Mt. John Observatory

University of Canterbury Mt. John Observatory
4.5
Observation Decks & TowersScenic Walking Areas
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Top ways to experience University of Canterbury Mt. John Observatory and nearby attractions

See what travellers are saying
  • seaair1
    Nelson-Tasman Region, New Zealand64 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Absolutely breathtaking, go there!
    For $8 entry to drive up the hill it’s well worth every dollar and then some. The day time view was spectacular as you can see right around from water to the expansive MacKenzie Countryside. There is a cafe up there but I didn’t use it. Go there you won’t regret it!!
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 23 September 2023
  • Brigette
    Australia430 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great place for photos on sunny day- closing time at 4pm (not 5pm)
    Mt John is a little hill just outside Lake Tekapo and it gives a fantastic Birds Eye view of the entire Lake area as far as Mt Cook on a sunny day. The internet says it closes at 5pm in summer but when we drove to the gate it’s actually 4pm. We only had 30min but went up anyway. $10 NZD (card only) for car access to the top. Ample carpark, narrow road but plenty of shoulders for you to let the traffic passes you so not scary at all. Breathtaking view , wished we had more time. The nighttime star gazing tour was booked out, do book ahead !
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 22 December 2023
  • George M
    Windsor, United Kingdom349 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fabulous
    Disappointed our Dark Sky Experience was canceled due to cloud we drove up to the top today . There is an $8 charge per vehicle to drive up but worth every cent The views are just magical . You can walk around most of the top and get views in every direction . It was chilly but lovely blue skies . A mist when visiting the area
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 26 March 2024
  • Grant N
    Hastings, New Zealand1,516 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting drive up - and down. Fantastic views
    Went reasonably early and judging from the queues when we left probably a good idea. The drive up and down is interesting with quite narrow parts making passing a bit fraught ( we had a large 8 seater which took up a lot of road). The view at the top is fantastic in all directions and well worth the trip. While there is a cafe there the prices are as high as the mountain and they're very busy without time to be particularly friendly. But it's all worth it for the views.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 17 April 2024
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles728 reviews
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172
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Hannah B
Cheltenham, UK37 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
We trekked up from Tekapo Springs, which took about 45 mins. There is a limited cafe at the top and some good views. It would be good to make more of a visitor attraction of the observatory, with displays saying what they do there. I would have been very disappointed if we’d paid $8 to drive up there, given there are lots of beautiful viewpoints in the area for free.
Written 27 January 2020
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.

Travelove58
15,599 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Family
NZ is a beautiful country with many awesome mountains & beautiful landscapes.

As a first time visitor, driving up the many different, long, narrow & high mountains roads can be very intimidating and even scary.

Problem is we do not know what to expect. Every mountain route is different, you only find out when you get there.

This place is definitely top of our list of the most dangerous & scary mountain route.

It's a ONE LANE very long steep road up to the top( someone mentioned it was about 4km). At one point, it was like 45°steep up. Can't imagine if your car is underpowered & cannot climb. Let go pedal & your car just plunge downwards. We had a 2000cc car with 4 adults & luggages. And we had to revving engine heavily to get up at this very steep point. And you cannot change your mind & reverse back!

If a car comes from the opposite site, one has to stop for the other to squeeze through. The road is barely wide enough to do this. If u are on the outer side facing the cliff edge, one mistake & your car plunge down the mountain. Or if your brake fails while going downhill all the way.

The locals are very used to this & probably won't feel intimidated. We had 2 different drivers going up & down. And we both felt the same.

We have seen many more amazing views from other mountains tops here in NZ.

Frankly, the view here ( though nice ) is not among the better ones.

Written 25 February 2020
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.

Louise O
Balclutha, New Zealand96 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021 • Family
At $185 an adult and $85 a child for an hr and a half with a hot chocolate we were quite disappointed. The staff were very passionate about their subject and gladly answered questions. Overseas tourists could probably afford this but it wasnt value for money for our eyes
Written 29 April 2021
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.

Grant N
Hastings, New Zealand1,516 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
Went reasonably early and judging from the queues when we left probably a good idea. The drive up and down is interesting with quite narrow parts making passing a bit fraught ( we had a large 8 seater which took up a lot of road). The view at the top is fantastic in all directions and well worth the trip. While there is a cafe there the prices are as high as the mountain and they're very busy without time to be particularly friendly. But it's all worth it for the views.
Written 17 April 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.

Julie P
United Kingdom1,912 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2019
We didn't actually visit the observatory, but the road up to the observatory is a good view point for seeing Lake Tekapo and the mountains. There's supposed to be a charge but no-one was taking money so everyone drove up anyway. A couple of stops and pull outs along the way as the road is twisty and narrow. At the top there's a reasonable amount of parking then a short walk to the top, where the view are 360. Toilets and a small cafe serves snacks and drinks. It can be very cold and windy even on a sunny day.
Written 2 January 2020
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.

Chris A
Hampshire, UK13 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
I could have booked this spectacular opportunity to view the night sky at 185NZD per person. Helping people to understand the constellations of the night sky should be their priority, not ripping tourists off. Sadly, I couldn't afford the cost,so I declined the place.
Written 27 March 2020
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.

George M
Windsor, UK349 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Disappointed our Dark Sky Experience was canceled due to cloud we drove up to the top today . There is an $8 charge per vehicle to drive up but worth every cent The views are just magical . You can walk around most of the top and get views in every direction . It was chilly but lovely blue skies . A mist when visiting the area
Written 27 March 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.

Hila
Tauranga, New Zealand68 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022 • Couples
Beautiful view, don’t know why they charge you $8 though? They only except cards, no cash. You can walk up from Lake Tekapo if you are fit enough or go on a Dark Sky tour. You walk around a few minutes and take pictures, there is a cafe there and toilets. It is a nice view but in NZ we are blessed with many beautiful walks with no charge.
Written 10 June 2022
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.

MarkDeb83
Oakville, Canada69 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019
We were lucky enough to go on one of the late evening tours. Our guides picked us up from our hotel. We did the tour which was very interesting and educational for us. At the end of the tour were received hot chocolate. Which helped to warm us up. They then took us back for our hotel. If you have never been on one of those evening tour we would recommend that you do not miss it.
Written 11 August 2020
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.

VonBadger
Germany114 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
You can park at Tekapo Springs and take the “one hour“ walk up to the top. 300m climb and the middle bit is a bit steep but in the shady forest and no problem. The view around the cafe at the top is absolutely amazing. 360° of wonderful scenery that you don’t know is there until you get to the top. The other big plus is that buses can‘t get up the road, so it is relatively empty. One of the highlights of our our 4 week NZ trip
Written 29 February 2020
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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UNIVERSITY OF CANTERBURY MT. JOHN OBSERVATORY (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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