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Carter Observatory

Learn about the origins of the universe, get your hands on rocks that have fallen directly from space, and take a journey to the outer reaches of the solar system.

Combining the most interesting elements of Māori, Polynesian and Western astronomy, the Carter Observatory offers a fascinating insight into space, our solar system and planets, and the origins of the universe. With a digital planetarium, a collection of some of New Zealand's most ancient telescopes, and myriad interactive exhibits, there is no shortage of things to do and learn here.

The observatory's first gallery is home to displays dealing with the origins of the universe and the Māori story of creation, while the Solar System gallery houses the impressive digital orrery (a model of our solar system) and the Gibeon meteorite, a 7-kilogram stone which fell on Namibia in prehistoric times. You’re free to touch the Gibeon meteorite to get a sense of the sheer weight of this lump of nickel and iron, as well as the Chinese meteorite also on display in the gallery.

No trip to the Carter Observatory is complete without a visit to the planetarium. A variety of shows run throughout the day, each focusing on a different aspect of space exploration. Sit back, relax and prepare to feel pretty insignificant, as the planetarium show takes you on a whistle-stop tour of the great beyond. After the show, stick around for the live shows during which the observatory's astronomers discuss the skies during the time of your visit. The planetarium also runs shows for younger children; check the observatory's website for more detailed information and schedules.

During the Carter Observatory's late-night sessions, visitors can take a look through the Thomas Cooke telescope. Depending on the conditions, you may be able to see Saturn or even Mars through this powerful telescope.

The Carter Observatory is situated in the Wellington Botanic Garden, a short walk from the cable car, in the area of Kelburn. There is a bus stop nearby along Upland Road and plentiful parking near the Cable Car Museum. The observatory is open every day except December 25th and 26th.


Guide to Exploring Carter Observatory


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Top Carter Observatory Hotel & Accommodation Deals

See all 188 properties near Carter Observatory
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor NZ$149
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor

147 The Terrace, Wellington
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Wellington hotel is located near the airport, within a 15-minute walk of St Paul's Cathedral, Carter Observatory and Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand). Old St Paul's and Botanic Gardens are also within 1 mi (2 km). Wellington Station is 10 minutes by foot.

    Rydges Wellington NZ$169
    Rydges Wellington

    Rydges Wellington

    75 Featherston St, Wellington
       
      4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in the heart of Wellington, this luxury hotel is steps away from Old Government Buildings, Wellington Central Business District and Wellington Waterfront. Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Westpac Stadium are also within 15 minutes. Wellington Station is only a 3-minute walk.

      ibis Wellington NZ$134
      ibis Wellington

      ibis Wellington

      153 Featherston St, Wellington
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in the heart of Wellington, this hotel is steps away from Lambton Quay, Wellington Central Business District and Wellington Waterfront. Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Cuba Street Mall are also within 15 minutes. Wellington Station is 6 minutes by foot.

        Park Hotel Lambton Quay NZ$149
        Park Hotel Lambton Quay

        Park Hotel Lambton Quay

        101 The Terrace, Wellington
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in the heart of Wellington, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Lambton Quay and Wellington Cable Car (Lambton Quay Station). New Zealand Parliament Buildings and Museum of Wellington City and Sea are also within 10 minutes. Wellington Station is 8 minutes by foot.

          DoubleTree by Hilton Wellington NZ$195
          DoubleTree by Hilton Wellington

          DoubleTree by Hilton Wellington

          Corner of Lambton Quay and Grey Street, 28 Grey Street, Wellington, NZ
             
            4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            This family-friendly Wellington hotel is located in the shopping district, just steps away from Lambton Quay and Wellington Central Business District. Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Wellington Waterfront are also within 15 minutes. Wellington Station is 9 minutes by foot.

            Travelodge Hotel Wellington NZ$112
            Travelodge Hotel Wellington

            Travelodge Hotel Wellington

            2-6 Gilmer Terrace, Wellington
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in the heart of Wellington, this hotel is steps away from Lambton Quay and Wellington Central Business District. Wellington Waterfront and Victoria University of Wellington are also within 10 minutes. Wellington Station is 14 minutes by foot.

              Novotel Wellington NZ$179
              Novotel Wellington

              Novotel Wellington

              133 The Terrace, Wellington
                 
                4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in the heart of Wellington, this luxury hotel is steps from Wellington Cable Car (Lambton Quay Station) and Wellington Central Business District. Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) and Wellington Waterfront are also within 15 minutes. Wellington Station is 10 minutes by foot.

                Oaks Wellington Hotel NZ$160
                Oaks Wellington Hotel

                Oaks Wellington Hotel

                89 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington, Wellington
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Te Aro, this aparthotel is within a 5-minute walk of Courtenay Place, Cuba Street Mall and Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand). Michael Fowler Centre and Wellington Cable Car (Lambton Quay Station) are also within 1 mi (2 km). Wellington Station is 20 minutes by foot.