Perth, Western Australia is known for being the most isolated capital city in the world. To the west of the city, bright white sands and clear, turquoise water become the vast Indian Ocean. To the East, the city slowly dissipates into the Australian outback.
Perth offers many unique stargazing experiences, even by the standards of incredible night skies you can see across Australia. Venturing just a couple of hours from the city will place adventurous astronomers in the true Australian outback with uncompromising views of the night sky. Elevated peaks and sweeping deserts provide the perfect observatory. Astronomers can watch spectacular sunsets over the sea, and witness stars twinkle into view as darkness falls over the many beaches.
Home to some of the darkest night skies in the world, Perth should be on any stargazing enthusiast’s list. These are the 15 best spots for stargazing in and around Perth.
In this post, I promote traveling to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Noongar and Whadjuk peoples, among many others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
The Best Spots for Stargazing in Perth
Although a busy capital city, there are some fantastic places to stargaze without having to travel too far. These locations around the city are great for observing the night sky as they provide slight elevation or are surrounded by the inky ocean skies.
While close to the bright city lights, Kings Park is not an obvious choice for stargazing. However, its slight elevation over the city, large size, and its more secluded areas provide an advantage for stargazers wanting not to venture too far. Grab a picnic blanket, find a clearing,and lay back on the grass for the best stargazing in Perth City.
Frazer Ave, Perth WA, 6005 bgpa.wa.gov.au
Reabold Hill Summit Lookout, City Beach
Reabold Hill is the highest natural point in the Perth metropolitan area and, as such, offers spectacular views of the night sky. Its position 85 metres above sea level tucked into bushland make this summit lookout a great place to watch stars pop into view as night falls. As well as sweeping sky views, the lookout provides stunning views of the Indian Ocean, Perth City, and Rottnest Island.
Vehicle access closes at 7:00 pm between April and October and 8:00 during the rest of the year; however, cyclists and pedestrians can access the area at all times.
Scenic Dr, City Beach WA 6051, bpga.wa.gov.au
Is there anything that puts your place in the universe into perspective, quite like sitting on a dark beach spotting stars? The roaring ocean spans out in front of you until the horizon eventually meets the explosion of stars of the night sky. Lay back and watch satellites drift slowly overhead. Trigg is a great Perth beach for stargazing – it’s fairly close to the city but quieter and less lit up than other beaches in the city.
West Coast Dr, Trigg WA 6029
Stargazing Spots Within One Hour of Perth
Stargazers looking to beat the light pollution will be rewarded with fabulous night skies just a short drive away. These are the best stargazing spots located within a one-hour drive from Perth.
With a long and respectable history, Perth Observatory is a fantastic place to observe the night sky in all its glory. First opened in 1891, the observatory is home to a wide range of telescopes and even a museum. The observatory runs a huge range of events such as night sky tours, astronomy courses, and meteor shower nights.
337 Walnut Rd, Bickley WA, 6076, perthobservatory.com.au
Zig Zag Scenic Drive
As the name suggests, Zig Zag Scenic Drive is a road that zig-zags down the western side of the Darling Ranges up in the Perth Hills. The steep 3km one-way drive offers stunning views of the city skyline and night sky alike. Vehicles can stop in several designated stopping areas to take in the view.
Zig Zag Scenic drive is currently open to vehicles until 8:30 pm, but cyclists and pedestrians can access the road at all times.
Zig Zag Scenic Drive, Gooseberry Hill WA, 6076, kalamunda.wa.gov.au
Gravity Discovery Centre and Observatory
Located just under an hour north of Perth, Gravity Discovery Centre is another excellent observatory in the region and a fantastic spot for stargazers. As it’s situated further from the city under darker skies, Gravity Discover Centre offers a world-class astronomy experience. Visitors can use the state-of-the-art telescopes or participate in events like Aboriginal Astronomy sessions.
1098 Military Rd, Yeal WA, 6503, gravitycentre.com.au
Blue Rock is a granite outcrop situated in Jarrahdale, approximately one hour from Perth. The Blue Rock trails will take visitors over Blue Rock, where they can roll out a picnic blanket, lay back and view the stars.
But be sure to carry a light and be aware that the rocks can be slippery when wet, and trail markers can be challenging to spot.
Blue Rock Rd, Jarrahdale WA, 6124, sjshire.wa.gov.au
Mundaring Weir is situated in the Perth Hills and is a historical site. The Weir was completed in 1903 and marks the start of the Golden Pipeline, which pumped water out to Kalgoorlie – 700km away.
Visitors cannot walk the dam walls after 6:00 pm October-April or 5:00 pm May-September. However, areas surrounding the water catchment provide large open spaces to view the night sky. This is a great spot to view the impressive Milky Way during Autumn and Spring and partake in astrophotography.
Mundaring Weir Road, Sawyers Valley WA, 6076, watercorporation.com.au
Rottnest Island is a popular tourist destination from Perth. Visitors can take the ferry over to the island and stay at one of the many hotels to experience Rottnest by night. Rottnest is an excellent stargazing location as the darkness of the island makes the stars seem much brighter.
At certain times of the year, visitors can participate in Indigenous stargazing sessions, where local guides share knowledge of Aboriginal astronomy and Dreamtime stores while guiding the stargazing.
Rottnest Island, WA 6161, rottnestisland.com
Located an hour from Perth CBD, Sullivan Rock forms part of the Bibbulmun Track – the long-distance walking trail which spans over 1000km from Perth to Albany. Hiking part of this track at night is a spectacular stargazing experience. Visitors can find a spot on the nearby granite outcrops to sit and observe the spectacular night sky. There are also guided sunset and stargazing hikes that run from Sullivan Rock.
Albany Hwy, Mount Cooke WA, 6390, parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au
Serpentine Dam is located one hour from the lights of Perth’s CBD. The dam was completed in 1961, built to respond to the needs of a growing population. Today the dam is a popular recreation area, home to a number of walking trails, picnic areas, restaurants and lookouts. Visitors can drive or walk across the dam wall. The wide-open space and distance from the city provide a vast dark night sky to spot celestial bodies.
Kingsbury Dr, Serpentine WA, 6125, watercorporation.com.au
Stargazing Spots Within Two Hours of Perth
Stargazers willing to head a little further, perhaps making a weekend of their stargazing adventure, will be rewarded with some of the best dark skies in the country! These are the best locations for stargazing within two hours of Perth.
Pinnacles Desert (Nambung National Park)
Located two hours from Perth CBD, Pinnacles desert is a must for astronomers in the region. The unique sandy desert littered with thousands of limestone peaks, aka ‘pinnacles’, provides an exciting backdrop for an evening of stargazing. The remote nature of the desert makes it exceptionally dark and ensures fantastic star visibility. This is also an excellent location for astrophotography as the pinnacle formations make for a surreal and alien-like landscape against the stars.
Check out the Perth to Cervantes Road Trip Guide for more tips on things to do while you’re in the area.
Bald Hill (Avon Valley National Park)
Bald Hill is around an hour and a half from Perth CBD, located within Avon Valley National Park. This spot is far from the bright city lights, making it a fantastic stargazing spot on clear nights. There is a campground at the top of the peak for stargazers to make the most of their evening observing the vast universe.
Moondyne WA, 6567, parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au
Lancelin Sand Dunes
Located 130km north of Perth, the sand dunes of Lancelin provide a stunning panoramic view of Lancelin, the Indian Ocean and the surrounding farm. By day the dunes are a popular location for sandboarding and four-wheel driving, but at night the skies come alive with stars! With minimal light pollution, astronomers can expect to an uncompromised view of the night sky.
Beacon Rd, Lancelin WA, 6044, westernaustralia.com
Pelham Lookout and Reserve
Pelham Lookout and Reserve is located just over an hour from Perth in the Shire of Toodyay. The lookout offers views out over the town and across lush green fields and is the starting point for a number of walking tracks. By night the elevation of the lookout provides a peaceful place to observe the night sky.
Duke St, Toodyay WA, 6566, toodyay.wa.gov.au
How Good is the Stargazing in Perth?
As with any city, it can be difficult to see stars close to the bright lights of the CBD, but travelling further afield provides some unique stargazing experiences. Being the most isolated capital city in the world means that Perth and surrounding areas have some of the darkest night skies in the world.
Visitors don’t have to travel far to find themselves in the vast Australian Outback or on a deserted stretch of beach beneath the spectacular Milky Way with an uncompromised view of billions of stars.
Best Times of Year to Go Stargazing in Perth
September to March are the clearer parts of the year, with more sunny days and brighter skies translating to better star visibility at night. Perth’s rainy season is during wintertime (July – August) and brings with it much more cloud cover and reduced visibility.
Astronomers interested in catching a glimpse of or a spectacular shot of the Milky Way should stargaze during the Milky Way season of February through October.
Other Space Related Experiences in Perth
As if seeing the night sky wasn’t awesome enough, there are a few other space experiences you can enjoy in Perth too:
- Scitech Planetarium – Scitech Science Centre is also home to a world-class planetarium. It features a 180-degree dome that spans 18 metres. The planetarium offers a great range of educational space-themed shows. (scitech.org.au)
- Astrofest – Astrofest is an annual astronomy festival in Perth, organised by Astronomy WA. The festival includes an astrophotography exhibition and competition, as well as the opportunity for participants to observe the skies through telescopes and learn from industry experts. (astronomywa.net.au)
Have any questions about stargazing in Perth? Let me know in the comments.