《New Zealand》

Why don't you travel to "Tekapo", a small town on the South Island of New Zealand, which is said to be the closest town to the starry sky in the world?
There is nothing blocking the sky, a beautiful town with a lake and a blue sky. Due to the air I lived in, I'm likely to get a tan in the strong sunlight even in the middle of winter. Eventually, when the sun tilts to the west and the evening comes, the snow that has accumulated in the distant mountains is dyed in madder red. When the sun goes down and one hour passes, it is already a world of starry sky. A star full of sky that extends to the very limit of the horizon falls into the illusion of being in outer space.
Since Tekapo is a town located at a high latitude in the Southern Hemisphere, the starry sky you can see seems to be quite different from the starry sky you can see from Japan. Constellation that I have never seen covers the night sky. The Southern Cross, which can hardly be seen from Japan, can be seen all year round without sinking to the horizon. The stars shine on the beautiful New Zealand landscape, coloring the long winter night sky.
Let's go on a trip!

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Starry Lake Tekapo

New Zealand, South Island, Canterbury

From Japan, it takes about 14 hours by flight, and transit on the way to Auckland (North Island) to arrive at Christchurch, the largest city in the region. When you leave the city, you will see a vast plain, and the landscape that is New Zealand. Although the amount of precipitation is less than Japan and warm at high latitudes. There are many sunny days, but once the weather collapses, it seems that the days that have been continued for a while.

Lake and town in Tekapo

It takes about 3 hours to travel from Christchurch to the highway through the plains, and you can see a large blue-green lake. That is Lake Tekapo. There is a small town on the lakeside, and tourists from all over the world visit it in search of this beautiful landscape. Lake Tekapo is one of the lakes located at the northern end of the Mackenzie Basin, as well as Lakes Pukaki and Ohau. Every lake has a water source in the Southern Alps and is always full of abundant water. This rich water resource is supplied and used by the canal to surrounding pastures and hydroelectric power plants.
On the shores of Lake Tekapo, there are probably some of the most popular SNS in New Zealand. "The Church of the Good Shepherd", a small stone church, and anyone in the day or night set up a camera to photograph the landscape.
There are many hotels, cottages, holiday parks in town, and you can choose according to your budget. There are also restaurants and supermarkets, so you can also enjoy a meal tailored to your budget and style. In addition, Japanese restaurant "KOHAN" has many Japanese staff who speaks Japanese. If you want to eat Japanese food, it would be better to make a reservation if you really want to eat Japanese food, as it will be full soon after batting with a meal in the tour. It is convenient because you can take out.

Southern Alps

The mountain range that forms the "backbone" that forms the South Island of New Zealand is a stretch of steep mountains, including the Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a mountain range that can be seen beyond the horizon from anywhere in the Canterbury region, but when it reaches the lake area, you can see it reflected in the calm water surface.
If you drive away from the highway and drive a dirt road along Lake Tekapo for several tens of kilometers, you will be closer to the mountain area. With no tourists coming so far, you can monopolize the landscape of New Zealand 360 degrees. The scenery of the mountain area that suddenly starts from the plain is a result of sharp cutting by glaciers, which is one of the scenery that can not be seen in Japan at first.
The road along Lake Pukaki is well maintained. There is Mt. Cook ahead, and it is full of tourists such as mountain climbing, hiking and camping. Also in this area, when driving a car, the mountain came close and notice that it plunged into the mountain area.

South Island Road Conditions

Basically the road network is simple. There is no need for a car navigation system and there is no problem if you check it with your smartphone from time to time. Highways in the city are extremely well maintained and you can enjoy comfortable driving. The lane is the same as Japan and the left-hand traffic, the car rental is overwhelmingly many Japanese cars, and the notation is also km, so there is no discomfort at all.
The parts that are very different from Japan have a very large number of roundabouts. Especially small intersections in the city area are usually roundabouts. It may be difficult to grasp the timing of joining until you get used to it, but if you stop properly and make sure that the car does not come in, there is no problem. Even if the speed limit is 100km/h in the suburbs, it is strictly set at 50km/h in urban areas. In addition, because POLICE is also watched, let's drive with safety first and people priority without giving speed. (Because speeding and people's priority seem to be strictly controlled, let's be careful) Conversely, it is dangerous to run at about 60km/h at a speed limit of 100km/h. As there are a large number of cars cruising at speeds of 100 to 110, people who are not confident in long-time high-speed driving should be careful. It is basically face-to-face traffic, except in large cities, where there are passing points every few kilometers. There are many POLICEs, and cameras are installed everywhere (as the locals also said) let's keep safe driving in mind. Even on TV, we are always playing commercials that say, "If you put up too fast, you're going to die?" It is an environment that is easy to drive at high speeds, but be careful.
As Japan, it does not mean that there is a house no matter where you go in the mountains, it is often unpaved suddenly when you get off the main road. When I went on a dirt road, there is usually nothing ahead.
It is road condition in winter, but it is said that there is rarely such thing as snow on road if it is limited to the Canterbury region. So, car rental always wears normal tires. If you want to go into a mountain area in the middle of winter, such as skiing or winter mountain climbing, it is better to rent a chain.
Gas is called Petro, not Gas. Most of them are self-operated, and they are paid by the attached kiosk. The regular in Japan says "91 (nine one)" and the unit price is slightly higher than Japan. Certainly it is higher, but the main road feels like a half highway, and you can go anywhere with 100km per hour free of charge (with some charges), so it is almost the same as the distance traveled by paying high express rates in Japan It is an impression that it will not be long. In every small town there is one Petro Station. However, since the distance between towns is quite apart, it is safer to keep them filled as appropriate.

Southern Cross over Lake Tekapo

Night sky in Southern Hemisphere

Tekapo is located at 44 degrees in south, and when it is replaced with Japan, it corresponds to Wakkanai in Hokkaido. Due to its high latitude, the winter months last 11 to 12 hours, while the summer months have only 4 to 5 hours of complete nights. As the center of the Milky Way rises during the winter as well, if you want to enjoy the starry sky, you should visit in the winter (May-September).
In the southern hemisphere high latitudes such as Tekapo, most of the night sky is occupied with constellations that can not be seen or difficult to see in Japan. And familiar constellations are rising upside down. It is the Southern Cross that you can not miss by visiting the Southern Hemisphere. If you go to the southernmost Yaeyama Islands from Japan, you can see the Southern Cross rising to the last moment of the horizon, but it is a very difficult constellation to see. However, the southern cross does not sink in the night sky of Tekapo. You can see the Southern Cross in any season.
Another characteristic of the Southern Hemisphere stars is the Magellanic Clouds. Although the size of the Large Magellan Cloud is quite large and at first glance it feels like a cloud floating in the sky, it does not flow like a cloud, so it turns out to be a collection of stars.

Starry Sky Reserve and World Heritage

New Zealand's South Island has an extremely low population density, and it is an environment where the Milky Way can be seen in the suburbs of the city once it leaves the urban area. Among them, the area around Tekapo is protected as the starry sky reserve (dark sky reserve) in 2012, and the starry sky environment is protected. There is no urban area in the suburbs, and because it is located in the basin, there is very little light pollution and the starry sky continues to the horizon. This starry sky protection area is extremely large, and you can see the stars in full sky not only in Tekapo but everywhere.
The feature of the starry sky is the impression of a very natural starry sky. Because the air is clean and located inland at an altitude of about 700m, it is good without strange glare. And Tekapo seems to aim for World Heritage registration in the starry sky. Since the Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, which was previously registered as a World Natural Heritage site, is also in the reserve, it may be likely to be certified in the near future.

How to Find Heavenly Antarctica

It is necessary to introduce the south pole of the sky to track an equatorial mount etc. and take a precise picture of the starry sky. It is relatively easy if it is northern sky because the north star is the index, but there is no bright star corresponding to it. It is introduced on the basis of the arrangement of a specific star in the Octalus area, but if you get used it will be able to be introduced easily and unexpectedly. Since the arrangement of this star can hardly be determined with the naked eye, it is more convenient to have bright binoculars with a wide field of view when introducing it.
I will hand over the specific installation procedure to other sites, but I think the easiest way to follow from the small Magellan Cloud is. Finally, the polar-axial telescope will be aligned from the four-star alignment, so if properly introduced, the tracking accuracy can be kept extremely good.