From 26 March 2020, New Zealand is in lockdown for four weeks to stop COVID-19 in its tracks.
That means that, for now, the Retreat is closed. We’re already looking forward to re-opening and sharing our beautiful part of the world with you again.  With that in mind, we have put together some affordable winter packages to celebrate a return to normal with you.

Stargazing at Pukaki Wine Cellar Observatory

Join us for a unique dark sky experience in the Pukaki Observatory and adjoining wine cellar.

Starting in the wine cellar you will be treated to nibble and a glass of wine or tot of whisky from our curated collection whilst being introduced to the Dark Sky Reserve features. 

Then moving through to the Observatory, which is well equipped with a 6" refractor telescope, where you can take a closer look at far away objects such as Saturn, Jupiter and its moons, clusters, nebula and planets.   

Bring your DSLR Canon or Nikon camera for some amazing astrophotography opportunities.  VIEW ALBUM

The Retreat and onsite Pukaki Observatory is perfectly located to explore one of the darkest skies in the world.   

This is a stellar experience and is a unique opportunity to stargaze in the gold level Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.

$120 per person (minimum charge 4 people) or included in our special package deals

"A wonderful experience!" I am into astronomy so we took advantage of the on site observatory to view the southern skies which was the first time for me..great!  The viewing of which continued in the dark skies at the Villa, the Milky Way was stunning.  

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View Aurora Australis 

When conditions are right, walk the onsite historic race to the Aurora Australis viewing spot.

Explore Deep Space 

Learn how to photograph deep space objects during the Wine Cellar Observatory Experience.

Experience the wine cellar 

Enjoy  a glass of  our best local wines  selection or a tot of old whiskey from our specially curated whisky collection.

When is the best time to book your trip if you want to see the stars?

Well are not able to predict the weather, but we do know the when the moon whill be in a specific phase.  A full moon means the sky is bright and and viewing of the dark sky is not optimal.  CLICK HERE to check when these moon phases occur in New Zealand.


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pukaki observatory astrophotography moon phase
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'Yesterday afternoon we hiked around the property and discovered some really wonderful views of the Lake and Mt Cook. By late afternoon we were content to relax on the porch enjoying the expansive valley and Mountain View’s. The dinner prepared by the staff was delicious and very fresh. In the evening we enjoyed some music with their WiFi speaker by the fireplace. After dark, Luke stopped by and we went to the wine cellar to gaze at the stars. We were able to connect Jeannette’s camera to the telescope and we took fantastic pictures of several far away galaxies and sun clusters. Luke was very knowledgeable and also a pleasure to speak with during the evening. All said, a very enjoyable stay and I would recommend this place.' - Moraine Villa Guest, Jan 2020