The best locations for stargazing according to astronomer Perry Vlahos

Stargazing at Lake Tyrrell

RACV with Perry Vlahos

Posted April 28, 2022

From Melbourne to Mount Arapiles, here are the top spots for catching starry skies that are sure to have you over the moon.

Interested in a night under the stars? During the Dreamtime, the First Nations peoples used Indigenous astronomy for everything including navigation, calendars, weather predictions, art and music.

Since the 1600s, avid astronomers have used technology to find out more about why the galaxy glitters, from planet spotting to constellations and shooting stars.

Astronomer Perry Vlahos knows a thing or two about being star-struck. As a leader of group stargazing tours and founder of the Mount Burnett Observatory, Vlahos has perfected the art of catching a starry night.

Here are the top spots to go star gazing in Victoria according to the experts. 

The top 5 stargazing spots in Victoria

Ricketts Point, Beaumaris

Sometimes you just can’t get away from the city, or don’t have time to travel to find outer space. Astronomer friends and I occasionally meet at the Ricketts Point Marine Sanctuary in Melbourne’s southeast along Beach Road. Don’t remain in the well-lit car park, continue south past the last lamp-post.

There, you will find a reasonably dark spot for a suburban location and a lovely view of the southern sky. 

Melbourne Observatory

At this central facility, you can look through telescopes in historic surroundings. Because of light pollution, you’ll not see galaxies or nebulae at the Melbourne Observatory, but you’ll be shown the moon and planets. Take in views of some of Victoria's most famous intergalactic locations, such as the Southern Cross constellation, the Milky Way galaxy or even a shooting star. 

bright stars in the milkyway

Take in galaxies far, far away. Image: Kenny Tran.


ASV Leon Mow Dark Sky Site, Lady's Pass, Greater Bendigo

The Leon Mow Dark Sky Site is the premier astronomical facility in the state with the largest telescopes in Victoria. Set in the middle of the bush in the Greater Bendigo region, you’ll need detailed directions to find it, but the Milky Way there is so bright it can cast a shadow. The site is open to the public in March, September, and December – bookings are essential. Large groups such as schools, clubs, and scouts are accepted at other times.

Cape Schanck Lighthouse Reserve, Mornington Peninsula

Near RACV’s Cape Schanck Resort at the southernmost tip of the Mornington Peninsula is this marvellous location for viewing stars and photographing aurorae. Leave the car park and walk toward Pulpit Rock, find a spot sheltered from the lighthouse beam, look south and be amazed. 

The Grampians

Mount Arapiles in Victoria’s Grampians is not only a popular rock-climbing destination but a truly superlative location for viewing the splendour of the southern Milky Way. You can drive almost to the lookout and view the stars unobstructed in any direction - a truly spellbinding spot!

Going further afield, head to Lake Tyrrell. Follow the Calder Highway northwest of Melbourne for some 350 kilometres to reach this now popular location. There’s a little bit of light pollution from proximity to Sea Lake, but it’s a good viewing location, nevertheless. The Indigenous Boorong people lived here and had many stories about the stars, beautifully reflected in the still waters.

Honourable mentions: You can also book night-sky viewings at Ballarat Observatory or the Bunurong Coastal Reserve, not far from RACV’s Inverloch Resort


Ready for a star-studded adventure? 

Book a night of stargazing at an RACV Resort →