Frankly speaking, Gold Coast has got some superb stargazing spots nearby. And as looking up the stars and the night sky gets more and more popular, we’ve thought it’d be good practice to round up some of our favourite sites to see the stars.
From observatories to parks and lookouts, all you’ll have to do is head out, look up and marvel at the huge “balls of gas burning billions of miles away”. Although, a pair of binoculars or even a telescope wouldn’t hurt because otherwise they just might look like fireflies that got stuck up there.
However, if you’re keen on finding the best spot in Queensland for stargazing, then check out our Dark Sky Places article where you can find information on The Jump-Up, Australia’s first internationally accredited Dark Sky Sanctuary.
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Astronomical Societies and Observatories
Mount Coot-Tha Lookout
Yes, Mount Coot-Tha is close to Gold Coast, which has a substantial amount of light pollution that makes stargazing in the city a bit tricky. However, that doesn’t stop the Brisbane Astronomical Society from setting up their telescopes at the Mount Coot-Tha lookout one Saturday every month and inviting the public to come along to delight in the mountain ranges and craters of our moon, star clusters and planets.
Attendance is free, but donations are highly valued as all monies go towards their school outreach program. Besides, you get to use their telescopes, be guided through your starry-night sky experience and have a chat with a bunch of folk that just love skygazing.
If seeing the stars with the Brisbane Astronomical Society sounds like the kind of night you’re after, just jump across to their website to find the next scheduled public viewing night on their “Public Event Calendar”.
Maleny Golf Course, Sunshine Coast
Jump in the car and head up to Maleny on the Sunshine Coast because that’s where another group of Brisbane Astronomical Society members set up their telescopes and invite the public to come peer up at the stars.
Typically takes place on the same Saturday of the month as the Mount Coot-Tha public observation night so you’ll have to choose between the two. The Maleny Golf Course is also home to the Maleny Observatory and is Australia’s newest astronomical observatory.
Mapleton Observatory, Sunshine Coast
Historically, astronomers have largely been amateurs and even some of the greatest space finds have been by amateur astronomers. The Mapleton Observatory is run by four amateur astronomers who take care of a 14″ inch Celestron automated telescope on an ASTRO PHYSICS 1100 GT Mount housed in a 4 metre, fibre glass rotating dome. Plus, a couple of other decent telescopes as well.
They invite the public to come up and visit once a month on open night, which is typically on the first quarter and costs just $5. However, if you’re looking for a more personalised experience, the group also conduct private showings which can be arranged.
Springbrook Research Observatory
Further away, Springbrook Research Observatory offers southeast Queenslanders the chance to look through the window to view the universe—the window, in this case, being a telescope. It is a hidden gem according to reviews.
The observatory is open on Friday and Saturday nights but people have to give the team up on the mountain a call at 5:30pm to check the weather conditions. The last thing you want is to head up and find that because of the clouds you won’t be able to see the rings of Saturn.
Just give Andre a call (find his number on the website) to organise your visit, which costs $25 for adults and gives you access to all his knowledge.
Parks and other areas
Just 30 minutes from the centre of the city, the Redcliffe Peninsula boasts some of the best stargazing you can find close to Brisbane. As the sun sets to the west and darkness descends, the night sky lights up across Moreton Bay.
A couple of favourite places on the peninsula include the Redcliffe Jetty and Settlement Cove Park. For somewhere this close to Brisbane, you’ll be in awe of how much the stars shine for you.
Dahmongah Lookout Park
Brisbane and its surrounding areas are blessed with beautiful, scenic drives. The road opens up in front of you, it slaloms up and down hills and takes you past some absolutely stunning lookouts including the Dahmongah Lookout Park on Mount Mee Road.
Winding through lush greenery and past scenic lookouts from Dayboro to Delaney’s Creek make Mount Mee Road a choice selection for those wanting to feel the freedom of the open road and find one of Brisbane’s best sunrise, sunset and stargazing spots.
So close to the city and yet such natural beauty can be found on Bribie Island. First, there’s the National Park, which covers 55.8 square kilometres—almost one-third of the island’s total area. It’s also a great place to camp for the night (or weekend) and be amazed by the twinkle twinkle little stars shining way above.
All camping on Bribie Island requires a permit, but get yours and you’ll be up for a secluded and intimate date with the stars. Bear in mind, though, that most camping sites on the island are only accessible by high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles while others are accessible by boat as well.
Even if you’re not so keen on staying the night, head to Woorim Beach and wait for sunset to fall and the stars to appear.
There’s plenty to do around Lake Moogerah, from pitching a tent and camping the night to enjoying a bunch of water activities. You could even just drive around it and be amazed by the picturesque scenery and at just over an hour from Brisbane, why wouldn’t you want to? Day-trippers can spend the day at Haigh Park, which has a public barbecue and picnic facilities (a café too if you don’t feel like cooking), and from where they can walk across the Moogerah Dam wall to get to the hiking trail up Mt Edward in Moogerah Peaks National Park.
At night, Lake Moogerah is not affected by harsh light pollution (there is some, but not much) and that makes it ideal for a stargazing trip not far from Brisbane.
- Carlo Sand Blow, Rainbow Beach
- Somerset Dam/Lake Wivenhoe
- Kangaroo Point Cliffs
- Moreton Island
- Main Range National Park
- Mount Tamborine
- 30kms east of Warwick