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River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve

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Times Gone By
Coorong National Park

The River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve is located on the northern border of the Murray River, Lakes & Coorong Region. For those dark sky chasers out there, recent measurements in the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve came in at 21.97 – darker than many other accredited regions from across the globe. Stretching across 3,200 square kilometres, the reserve is the only one in Australia and one of only 15 in the world.

Spanning over such a large and diverse space means the reserve has an array of Astro hot spots, ideal star viewing areas and tour options available. Come and watch our night skies.

About International Dark Skies

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) is the world’s leading dark sky organisation which accredits six types of designations based on their level of darkness. The award winning International Dark Sky Places (IDSP) Program was founded in 2001 to protect and preserve places with dark, unpolluted night skies.

There are only 15 Dark Sky Reserves in the world and the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve is one of them!

A dark sky reserve consists of a “core” zone meeting minimum criteria for the sky quality and natural darkness. This zone is surrounded by a buffer zone with light policy controls enacted to protect the darkness at the core. Our core site is the Swan Reach Conservation Park – a area of 2,000 hectares of untouched Mallee bushland - it is home to exceptional starry nights and nocturnal life.

About International Dark Skies
Photography by Fraser Bock

The Best Lookouts

Whether it is an Astro Hot Spot or the ideal location for star viewing, we have selected the 15 best places to visit during your time in the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve.

Grab your telescopes, binoculars, maps, camping equipment and cameras, and be ready to immerse yourself in the wonder of the milky way. Just be aware, if you are self-driving to our region, there are many unsealed roads to access some of the best viewing sites, and while a 4WD isn’t necessary in terms of access, there is a lot of rubble, dust and wildlife to consider when travelling by car.

For more information, please find the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve Map here.

The Best Lookouts
Photography by David Hartley

Experience the River Murray at Night

One of the most unique aspects of our River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve is the 80km stretch of the magnificent River Murray.

Enjoy the night skies from a houseboat, a river shack or go camping on the river bank. If you have time to catch the sunset, we recommend watching it at the Big Bend Cliffs, the limestone walls will glisten and glow in the evening rays.

There is plenty of river activities to take your River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve experience up a level!

Experience the River Murray at Night
Photography by Fraser Bock

Tours

Seeking the optimal River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve experience? Why not let someone else do the organising?

There are a range of tour options available in the area to help you learn about the sparkling galaxy above. From an authentic bush adventure out in the wild to a glamourous experience with champagne.

By booking with someone else, you can guarantee that your visit to the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve will include the best Astro Hot Spots.

Check out our full range of tours below!

Tours
Photography by David Hartley

Photography Tours

Wanting that bit extra from your trip? How about some stunning images to show all your friends and family?

Jump on a photography tour and see the best of the best!

Grab your cameras and prepare yourself for the magic above. You will be heading home with remarkable imagery to remember your Astro experience forever and make others wish they came.

Photography Tours
Photography by David Hartley

Know Before you Go

It’s important that you are prepared when entering the River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve area. Spanning across such a large and secluded area, there are all kinds of factors to be wary of and to prepare for.

Ensure you know how to use any equipment you are taking, and you have a torch to use in the areas without power.

Understand how to travel in our region. There are many 4WD only tracks available in the area, please look at our River Murray International Dark Sky Reserve map for more information before you go. We are also highly prone to Kangaroos and other nocturnal wildlife crossing the roads at night. Stay alert while driving and tell someone where you’re going.

We recommend wearing warm clothes and covered shoes during your travels. It can get cold in our secluded areas, even during summer! The ground is also covered in shrubbery, sticks and wildlife so it is essential to watch your step.

Last but most importantly, ensure you check the weather before coming - if it’s cloudy, the skies won’t be as visible. Find a nice clear evening to head out on your adventure for a maximum star experience.

Know Before you Go
Photography by @adeltritus